Malappuram-based jewellery retailer Safa Jewellery is rewriting the business equation of jewellery retailing. While jewellery brands in Kerala are eyeing metropolitan or foreign markets, Safa Jewellery, established in 1990, operates five showrooms deeply rooted in Kerala villages successfully. The brand has emerged as one of the fastest growing jewellery chains in North Kerala
Honesty is the best policy
Divulging a well-guarded trade secret with a warm smile, KTM. Abdul Salam, Managing Director, Safa Jewellery, says that in the 1990s the consumers had little idea about the jewellery, products and quality. “However, keeping our commitment to the industry and to the customers, we delivered top-notch products, ensured premium quality and provided world-class service. We maintain 100 percent purity in gold as well as in business,” he shares.
Good relation, good business
Over the years, Safa has grown as a trusted wholesaler and retailer of premium jewellery brands. Abdul Salam, 53, a dynamic entrepreneur, says that good relationships with the clients paved the way for Safa’s glorious journey. “We keep good rapport with our customers and it played pivotal role in our success. We pay individual attention and special care to all our customers—right from the moment they step into our showroom until they exit after completing their purchase. We foresee today’s visitor as a prospective costumer of tomorrow. Our maintaining good relations is bound to
yield us good business,”s he says.
Top in town
Safa today owns 20,000 sq.ft. of retail space in a radius of 15 km, a world-class jewellery manufacturing unit, and employs more than 300 people.
Over 20,000 people visit Safa’s 5 showrooms located at Melattur, Alanallur, Karinakallathani, Karuvarakundu and Pandikkad (in-between the highway stretch of Palakkad-Kozhikode and Nilambur-Thrissur) a month. A leading jewellery retailer in the district, Safa is growing 20 percent annually with the support of its loyal customers.
Safa has exquisite items made in gold and diamond, perfectly crafted in artistic designs with BIS Hallmark and IGI certificate. It also has a good collection of stones, pearls and precious watches. The price range starts from`1,000 and goes up to `1,00,000. The peak business time is April–May season.
Customer is the king
Safa Jewellery has categorised product display, interior designing and showroom designing in a manner that exudes warmth and provides a relaxed atmosphere. The retailer gives genuine advice to the customers about the new arrivals, price range, new trends in the market and an overview of traditional ornaments.
Consumers today are beauty conscious. Most of them prefer daily-use ornaments. For their comfort, Safa has introduced Craft Jewellery, which offers customised service for its customers. Safa will provide a dummy based on the client’s requirement and specifications.
The retailer ensures the maximum resale value, value for gold, lifetime repair guarantee, and money-back policy for old ornaments. To maintain good relationship with the client, Safa also updates its existing client base about the new products, the latest offers and new schemes, etc via e-mail and SMSs.
The group has set up a world-class R&D centre in order to make innovative products and study new trends in the sector. “The state-of-the-art jewellery manufacturing unit, established in 2005, ensures the quality of the product and reduces production cost. The total production capacity of the unit is 4kg per day. This unit has elevated Safa Jewellers as Safa Jewellery,” reveals Salam.
Around 100 skilled artisans work in the manufacturing unit to build customised jewellery, such as Kasu Mala, Palakka Mala, Nagapada Thali, Karimani Mala, Mullamottu Mala, Manga Mala, and Cheruthali (Thalikoottam).
Honour for innovation
Safa Jewellery has been honoured with numerous awards as recognition for the business and the showroom innovation. In 2011, the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) honoured Safa’s Alanallur showroom with Best Showroom Design, while Safa’s Melattur showroom won IIID-MK award in 2009 for excellence in interior design. Malappuram-based BS Architect and Kozhikode-based Shabeer Saleel Associates are the strategic partners of Safa in interior and showroom designing.
Thrust on quality
Responding to the question of poor-quality products and the allergic diseases generated by them, Salam clarifies that such cases happen rarely in the industry. “We at Safa sell only quality products and educate our customers on how to care for their ornaments,” he adds.
From logo to advertisement, Safa follows the standard of global jewellery brands. “We have rebranded our logo and initiated mood-based advertisement campaign to reach out to our medium-level customers,” Salam informs.
“We are marketing our products not by extensive media advertisements but through socially relevant campaigns. We sponsor bus stands, ambulances, and promote quality education, sports, and arts by awarding attractive prizes, etc,” he added.
Salam stresses that the knowhow of the sector, support of advanced technology and good marketing team have helped in the group’s success.
“Organised retailing has played a crucial role in our success,” he claims. “In 2004, we realised that professionalism is imperative to elevate our family-run business to new heights. So we implemented professionalism beginning from management to administration and clearly defined our role and system to ensure smooth flow of the business,” says Salam.
‘’Why should skilled professionals go to cities or abroad for jobs if we can provide global work exposure and offer attractive remuneration package in their own town,” he questions?.
To grab the pulse of the market and tap the new challenges, Safa does extensive research and weaves new marketing strategies based on that study. “We do analyse jewellery market, our market share, potential market or areas, challenges, etc on a monthly basis. We also take remedial measures for the betterment of the brand. We strictly follow this system and it is a continuous process,” stated Salam.
Speed up deals
According to Salam, the current tax policy of the government is actually driving away the entrepreneurs from the state and it is indirectly leading to smuggling. “Apart from revising the tax imposed on jewels, the state government should ease the official procedures. For instance, to set up a jewellery manufacturing plant, we have to get the approval from the state government, which may take several months,” he laments.
Follow UAE model
The government should take effective measures to build special zones exclusively for jewellery manufacturing units like SAIF (Sharjah Airport International Free) Zone in UAE, feels Salam. “Within seven days from the date of application, we have received the clearance certificate to start business in the UAE. They provide world-class infrastructure and take decisions and approvals quickly,” he explains.
Safa Jewel Manufacturers, a sister concern of Safa Jewellery, provides opportunities for young enterprising designers and sculptors. It also provides training to the new generation in high fashioned jewellery designing and refining metals for new genre jewel making.
Salam says: “We are also planning to set up an advanced unit of Gold and Stone Consultancy for imparting state-of-the-art material and financial expertise in precious metals and stones, including jewels, watches, antiques, sculptures and high-priced corporate gift items.”
Banking on Safa’s tradition and goodwill, the company will increase its shop strength to 20 by 2020, said Salam. As part of its global expansion, the company will open two showrooms in Saudi Arabia and set up a manufacturing unit in UAE (United Arab Emirates) next month.
“Most of the NRIs based in the GCC have an inclination towards Kerala brands and they prefer these brands on every occasion. To tap this market, Safa will operate in the GCC as a wholesaler, manufacturer or retailer,” concludes Salam.