Interview with Mr Nitin Goenka, Managing Director of Emperor’s Fine Jewels
Mr Nitin is an international designer with over fifteen years of experience as a major buyer of diamonds and precious gemstones and as a jewelry designer. His rise was meteoric and soon he was designing, manufacturing and selling jewelry to the who’s who of the American retail, luxury giants as well as discerning luxury clients. His artistic vision comes to life here in a dazzling cache of diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls. The artistic director embraces a refreshing lightness of style, giving the contemporary, classic or avant garde, an audacious twist into statement-making pieces. Mr Nitin Goenka was all of 21 when he started his entrepreneurial ventures in New York.
Q: Could you please brief our readers about the history of Emperor’s Fine Jewels? The establishment, objectives, vision and mission?
Emperor’s Fine Jewels was started in 2014 at the ‘invite only’ Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. We started with a thought of creating jewelry that people adore, combining the perfection of technology with the brilliance of creativity. We have a huge 2,800 sq. ft. premium boutique space in Malaysia where most of our pieces are showcased. Our objective, vision and mission are fairly simple. We aim ‘to carve a diamond into a dream’ and we strive to create memorable jewelry by combining our original designs and stellar technology.
Q: Specifically, let me ask about the name ‘Emperor’s Fine Jewels’. Where did the idea come from and what does it refer to? Does it have any indication to the targeted clients?
We wanted our company to represent the ultimate in regalia. It has always been my idea to create jewelry fit not just for royalty, but the most royal of occasions. Also, with the multitude of cultures we cater to, it was only apparent for me to make a name universally understood and appealing.
Q: The nature of your business is different from other kinds of businesses. However, building a relationship based on trust with the clients is perhaps the most important thing every company does. How important do you think this is for Emperor’s Fine Jewels? How do you ensure it?
I think in every kind of business, trust is perhaps the most important thing, be it the relationship between a customer and a business or the relationship between two businesses. We at Emperor’s have always believed in keeping integrity with our customers, from educating them about diamonds to keeping them updated about our new launches, collections, products, etc. We have also introduced buyback schemes to make their purchases easy, and I think so far we have been successful in forming a personal connect with all of our clients, they’re more like friends now.
Q: Being the head of designers in Emperor’s Fine Jewels, how do you identify trends in your clients’ preferences? How do you decide about the new designs? How many every year?
I find my travel trails give me as much insight into my life as my business. I have learnt most importantly, that different cultures respond differently to what you introduce to them. I like to have a certain amount of empathy towards the people I deal with before I begin doing an event or presenting my jewelry. It helps to learn a culture’s personality and incorporate those into the ideas behind your piece, the features of your jewelry and the mode of presentation. We manufacture 300 individual designs every year.
Q: The advancement in technology has impacted humans’ life in many different ways. To what extent has technology affected your business, especially in view of the following statement:
‘The last few birthdays and Christmases have yielded vacation getaways, iPhones of every generation, even a smart home thermostat. What hasn’t shown up under the Christmas tree in the last five years? Diamond anything.’
I believe that, in the last decade, people have begun to be passionate about things beyond their boundaries. Technology has changed much but along with it, so has people’s affinity for higher indulgences that involve a particular understanding and stem of knowledge. In regards the art of jewelry, the science has stayed as it is but more people have begun to appreciate it for its depth. The art, beauty and enriching increases as a person develops his interest and only becomes more satisfying as the passion continues, irrespective of the era.
Q: Let us continue to talk about technology and its possible impact on the jewelry business. The use of costume jewelry or fashion jewelry, which may look exactly like fine jewelry, started in 1930s and nowadays various designs are mass-produced using technology. What is your strategy to deal with this situation?
Pure connoisseurs know that jewelry that attracts perception on different volumes has a particular level of meticulousness and attention to detail. In my opinion and in reflection of my own business, designs are made first through curiosity, then collaboration and finally an informed execution. I like to work in tandem with both my own inspiration and the people I work with, so many of the designs you see have either never been done before or take their inspiration from something else but look completely different.
Q: We have talked about gaining the trust of clients. But can you explain the process through which you get your stones and gems and how can you guarantee that what you receive is genuine?
We are extremely cautious about the sourcing of our gems and stones. We believe that in order to create a beautiful piece of jewelry, the stone should be of highest quality and potential. Our collection of diamonds, emeralds, rubies and pearls are sourced from exquisite locations in Ceylon, Burma, Mozambique, Columbia, Zambia and South Africa. I visit sourcing Hub personally to make sure that we use only the highest grade and genuine stones. That is the Emperor’s promise.
Q: How does the weakened economy affect the business activities of Emperor’s Fine Jewels?
Okay. I think Jewelry is more of a luxury if you see it that way than a commodity; people buy jewelry for the love of it. Nowadays people have realised the potential diamonds could have in terms of investment. At the end the money keeps shifting, from one country to another or one class to another and every one of them loves diamonds!
Q: What are the future strategies that you are planning to employ, grow and expand? Who are your next target groups?
We have been fortunate to be known and appreciated in the short span since our launch. We are already in the process of rebranding ‘Emperor’s Fine Jewels’ to ‘MAISON de NITIN GOENKA’ and soon will launch a full-fledged campaign for the same. We also have an e-commerce website ready for launch, where you can buy all our exquisite jewelry online anywhere in the world, and it’s going to be big! So yes, we have a lot going on now in terms of expanding. For the target groups, the young entrepreneurs are making the decisions and driving the market of today and they know the importance of investment.
Q: In view of your remarkable participation in the 6th Muslim World BIZ as the official sponsor of the awards, what potential do you see in the Muslim market for Emperor’s Fine Jewels to leverage on?
The Muslims have always had jewelry deeply integrated in their lives and culture. The Middle Eastern Arab countries are connoisseurs of beauty and perfection. They always set high standards in terms of design and liking. Making jewelry for them has always been a great challenge.
Q: How do you balance being an innovative designer and a leader of a big organisation like Emperor’s? Could you please tell the readers what they may not have known about Mr. Nitin?
I think passion is what drives me and keeps me constantly on the go. I travel a lot, it’s a kind of an indulgence for me and it’s also a necessity. I get to meet new people and talk to them and experience different cultures. It automatically creates a zest for life. Also, I’m a family person, spending time with my wife and son is something that I always look forward to and never get enough of. They keep me grounded in this world of fashion and luxury, and I think they’re the most important people I have in my life.