In the words of Aristotle, “Quality is not an act, it is a habit”. And, in the context of jewellery manufacturing, as with every other playing turf, a commitment to consistent quality is bound to yield remarkable long-term rewards.
GemAtlas met up with the Menda brothers of ‘Studio Reves’ fame – Dheeraj, Niraj and Anuj to find out what their brand’s philosophies are for achieving the consistent towering quality it is celebrated for. The family-run enterprise under which the brand operates in India, is Grand Lifestyles Pvt. Ltd.
Grand Lifestyles Pvt. Ltd’s typical clients are diamanteers who come to the Company with their own diamonds and other gemstones, asking it to wield its unique brand of jewellery-making magic, which they subsequently independently market to retailers. The Company designs and executes the most stunning pieces of jewellery, with a consistency of finish that is widely considered unsurpassed by other Indian manufacturers, and arguably at par with any international jewellery house. With a marketing model that does away with the need for investing in raw materials that go into the jewellery, and that invests instead, in the best-of-the-best manufacturing processes, ‘Studio Reves’ has literally become synonymous with high-quality finish. The Company’s clients sell its exquisite pieces to retail outlets across India and in different parts of the world.
While Anuj was on his feet supervising the manufacturing processes that were on in full-swing, in-between the steady stream of beautiful pieces of jewellery, in various stages of completion, being brought to them for inspection, here’s what Dheeraj and Niraj Menda had to say to GemAtlas:
GA: What is Studio Reves’ philosophy for achieving quality products?
Niraj: Our main philosophy is an individualistic approach to each piece. We have no single way of making. We undertake step-by-step planning and minute detailing for each piece we create. Whether the client wants to use VVS1 or S1 diamonds, we make the best quality finished piece.
Dheeraj:: We aim for the best customer experience. As far as the end-user is concerned, we want every single wearer to look good and feel good in her jewellery, every single time she wears it. The kind of quality we offer is one that endures over time. As far as our direct customers are concerned, we make sure we completely understand what they want. Instead of deflecting growth with a defensive attitude, we really listen to them, making alteration they want, and we learn from them constantly.
GA: Can you tell us what systems you have in place to achieve quality of design and produce?
Dheeraj: We have state-of-the-art processes – the best CAD (computer-aided design) software, CAM (computer-aided manufacturing), 3-D printing machines, laser cutting machines, casting machines, the best design and manufacturing talent. We use the best alloys and soldering materials and processes. We even hand-make jewellery, wherever needed. All our processes take place in-house.
Niraj: We undertake innovation of thought-processes at every stage, so these facilities can be put to best use. We give our utmost to every piece.
GA: How do you go about implementing quality standards? Do you have some quality check processes?
Dheeraj: : Like we said, we undertake step-by-step grooming of the product. At every stage, every product passes through our eyes, personally. It’s not just that the end product should seem perfect to the eye, every stage has to go perfectly – if it doesn’t, for some reason, we start from scratch. That’s how we maintain the quality and structural integrity of every piece.
Niraj: Everyprocess has a “person in-charge” who overlooksjust that part, as production is happening. Final quality analysis is also carried out with exceedingly stringent eyes. There are certain parameters that are looked at, but quality analysts are encouraged to look beyond them and be as finicky as possible!
GA: Can you tell us how you feel your business has benefited from managing and maintaining quality?
Dheeraj:: Our commitment to quality of finish sees us learning new lessons all the time. And, our commitment to applying these lessons has in turn helped us reach new heights of quality. It has seen us grow. Today, we are THE preferred manufacturer for clients who want high-quality finish.
GA: Do you have any message for the Industry regarding quality?
Niraj: : Quality comes for a price. If you want quality, you have to pay for it.
Dheeraj:I would like to tell manufacturers to not be afraid of cranking up quality and charging for it. Find like-minded, quality-driven clients to support you. Studio Reves has managed to do that. We are among the highest paid job-workers, but our product is such that our clientele is more than happy to pay our price. They realise that the extra bucks they pay is for the infrastructure, R&D and personnel costs that gets them the kind of finished product they desire.
Beautifully crafted pieces of jewellery are indeed pleasurably handed down from generation to generation, while those with mediocre design and finish often land up needing repairs, being broken up and reworked, or sold. The price-tag for one’s jewellery—even very expensive pieces—is soon forgotten, and rarely ever remembered past a single generation.
Even small, relatively inexpensive pieces of jewellery are cherished if they are beautifully designed and made to perfection. Ever too often, jewellery makers do not feel the need to expend time and effort to make low price-value items to faultlessness. But, one should undertake manufacturing of every little piece of jewellery to hold a stamp of pride. Why is it that someone with a modest budget for a jewellery gift or purchase for oneself with a first salary should not be offered enough high-quality choices? It’s perfectly understandable for the proportion of the making-cost to be radically higher in small pieces, but, it’s inexcusable for quality to be compromised. Perhaps India can take a cue from Italy here, which may charge double in making-costs, but is known for quality in every large or small value piece.
Thinker John Ruskin said some wise words about quality, among other things. Two quotes about quality that stand out are “There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey”; and “Quality is never an accident. It is always a result of intelligent effort”.
A commitment to high-quality would generally take a commitment to improving processes, across the board. Whether it’s in the context of mass production or that of exclusive pieces of jewellery, there is a need for the Indian jewellery industry to raise its quality-bar. The Menda brothers advise manufacturers to look for customers who realise that quality commands a price, and make the leap required for upgrading technology and people processes. However, they do assert that in the case of mass production, this may not be possible.
Although Studio Reves deals mostly with high-end pieces, one of the lessons that we at GA took away from our visit to its facility is that “high-quality finish” can be applied to any category of stones and metal. If a customer has price constraints, and wants to use lower quality of stones and lower caratage of gold, but still wants a great looking product, our advice to jewellery manufacturers would be to work out the best possible design and look for the jewellery. Do not use advanced equipment and manufacturing processes sparingly. Advise customers on how they can work within their budget to get the best possible look and finish. Be honest with them about the high proportion of making-costs, but offer them the chance to have the best outcome.
Even if you do not have the budget to invest in your own R&D, keep abreast with all the latest technologies and manufacturing know-how. Scale up your production processes by investing in new and improved equipment, wherever possible, and outsource processes whenever needed.
Stay on top of international fashion and jewellery trends. It may not be possible to be able to produce jewellery with every type of technique in-house, but, be aware of latest trends. If you have a retail outlet and if a walk-in customer wants a particular look for a piece of jewellery, it would be beneficial to all concerned if you know where to outsource the manufacturing process, and take up the job.
Your designers need to know how the latest processes work. They need to be willing to think out-of-the-box and develop creative designs. Give designers the leeway to come up with fresh, innovative ideas.
Quality Analysis is an absolute must. Let your pieces go through several eyes at all stages of the manufacturing process. This will ensure utmost quality of every single piece, irrespective of its value.
Have an exchange policy in place. When GA asked Studio Reves about whether the brand has an exchange policy in place, it was rather sheepishly, because with the standards that it follows, it almost seemed irrelevant! But, most companies need to draw up some guidelines, so the staff knows how to deal with quality issues, because they are bound to come up at some point.
Keep customers happy. Besides the quality of a piece of jewellery, quality of service is also seldom ever forgotten by a customer. If you make it a habit to provide great experiences to your customers, there will be reverberating effects from the positive word-of-mouth that will go around. Remember that good service is good business, and this is not the responsibility of just a customer service department – It should be the job of everyone in the organisation.
Here’s to raising the quality bar!
If you have any suggestions for how the jewellery manufacturing industry can raise its quality-bar, please do send them in at: firstname.lastname@example.org