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PNJ, MKS Jewelry International showcase creativity, manufacturing strengths

Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ) of Vietnam and MKS Jewelry International Ltd of Thailand are looking to make their mark in the international jewellery market by investing in technology and putting a strong focus on design. JNA sat down with PNJ and MKS Jewelry International executives to discuss their business strategies and get the latest scoop on their 2015 collections.

Vietnam: Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company

Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ), Vietnam’s largest jewellery manufacturer and retailer, is revving up efforts to further boost growth through exports, said Nguyen Song Hai Yen, export marketing executive at PNJ. Recognised as Vietnam’s largest jewellery manufacturer and retailer, PNJ was founded in 1988 as Phu Nhuan Jewelry Trading Store. From its humble beginnings as a trading store, the company has grown into a major force in Vietnam’s jewellery sector. Renamed PNJ in 1992, the jewellery manufacturer and retailer now employs more than 800 people, and operates 175 retail outlets across Vietnam. Its jewellery brands include PNJ Gold, PNJ Silver, CAO Fine Jewellery and Jemma. With a customer base that includes more than 3,000 wholesalers in Vietnam, PNJ is the first Vietnamese jewellery manufacturer to export its collections to Europe, Australia, the Middle East and the US. In 2014-2015, PNJ has put its focus on the domestic market, Nguyen said. “We are expanding our retail network in Vietnam,” she said. “By the end of 2015, we will have 200 stores in the country.”

This domestic retail strategy likewise gave PNJ the opportunity to further build up its production capacity, Nguyen said. “Local demand is growing substantially, and for us to tap into the lucrative export market effectively, we have to invest in capacity-building activities. We have recruited additional employees and procured advanced machinery.”

More recently, PNJ imported chain machines from Italy. This investment will enable the company to meet its clients’ chain requirements, she continued. “We want to produce the chains ourselves,” Nguyen said. “We used to rely on suppliers but with this recent investment, we will be able to supply the chains needed by our local and international customers faster and at a more competitive price. Customers do not want to source pendants and chains from different suppliers; it’s much more convenient and cost-effective to buy all components from one manufacturer. At the end of the day, this investment enhances our competitiveness.”

Every piece of jewellery that PNJ produces is designed in-house and manufactured in its 12,500 sqm facility. The factory s equipped with modern machinery and has the capacity to produce more than 4 million pieces of jewellery annually. This year, the manufacturer is pushing its mix-andmatch fashion jewellery collection. “These have become a staple in modern jewellery collections. We have pendants that can be worn three ways, and starter sets that can be expanded easily with other pieces. We also have multi-use items such as detachable pendants that can be worn as brooches. Wearers can pick the style that they want to suit their moods.” This year’s collection also included one-off statement pieces set with rubies, sapphires, diamonds and pearls. “We sell most of our big-ticket items in Vietnam.

These are more of showpieces that demonstrate our manufacturing capability and creativity,” according to Nguyen, adding that the company accepts special bulk orders from retailers and wholesalers. Lightweight and affordable collections embellished with cubic zirconia, synthetic coloured stones, genuine gemstones and diamonds are also among PNJ’s most popular items. Bridal jewellery is another core product category for PNJ, she added. “We are naturally the go-to retailer for couples rings in Vietnam,” said Nguyen. Increasingly, the manufacturer’s future growth is tied to international expansion. “We are already the No. 1 manufacturer and retailer in Vietnam,” she said. “Our next goal is to be a major player in the global jewellery market. We are confident we will get there.”

Thailand: MKS Jewelry International Co Ltd

Thailand-based MKS Jewelry International Co Ltd continues to capture new markets with its trendy coloured gemstone jewellery brand, Mokoso Atelier. The brand, which consists of nearly 35 collections (each collection comprises around 30 to 35 pieces), has impressed several retailers for its modern aesthetic and distinct style, according to company chairman Majid Algouneh.

Two of Mokoso Atelier’s standout jewellery lines are the Lily Pond Collection, which drew inspiration from French Impressionist Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” series, and the Wings of Freedom Collection.

The Lily Pond Collection took elements from Monet’s enchanting water landscapes. Long whimsical earrings and pendants serve as small canvases for Mokoso Atelier’s water garden: Centrepieces resembling floating lily pads are set with blue sapphires and tsavorites, and closely set rose-cut pink tourmalines, blue topazes and peridots remind one of sunlight reflecting on the water’s surface. Adding allure to the pieces are colourful miniature fish accents in 18-karat rose gold with scale motifs embellished with gemstones. Some of the items in the collection boast threedimensional layers and varied gold finishes. Elaborate cuff bracelets are adorned with tiny frogs, butterflies, dragonflies and lily pads – often wrapped in coloured gemstones with a sprinkling of diamonds.

“Every item is light and easy to wear,” Algouneh said. “We also have a wide price range, from entry-level pieces to bigger items encrusted with gemstones.

Jewellery design is right up MKS Jewelry International’s alley. Established nearly four decades ago, the company invests $1 million in product development annually, Algouneh said in an earlier interview. The manufacturer produces more than 300 jewellery models each month – no mean feat considering the tough business environment – and boasts a solid creative and manufacturing unit in Thailand. Perhaps even more telling of MKS Jewelry International’s design and manufacturing strengths is its customer base, which includes some of the biggest brands in the world, he added.

The company operates four separate manufacturing divisions within one factory, with each section focusing on a specific segment of MKS Jewelry International’s business units namely wedding bands, volume line, branded and handmade jewellery production, Algouneh said.

The company executive believes the Mokoso Atelier brand strikes a chord with retailers because it provides them with a differentiating edge in a competitive market.

“They are tired of buying solitaire rings; they need something a little bit more exciting,” Algouneh said. “Mokoso Atelier offers them a remarkable product mix, and this is based on the feedback that we have received from retailers in Europe, the US and Asia.” Mokoso Atelier’s other successful collections include Mosaic, Ginkgo’s Autumn, Flutterfly, Rock Candy, Kaleidescope, Splash, Dream Catcher and Gaudi Glassworks. JNA