Swarovski adds glitter to crystals market with new platform

Chitra Narayanan New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on September 21, 2016

Models unveiling the jewellery collective Confluence on the ramp

In ‘Confluence’ with 11 designers, crystal-maker to create affordable jewellery

Crystal maker Swarovski has just launched a new platform called Confluence, bringing together 11 designers to create affordable jewellery with its trademark crystals. Couture designers such as J J Valaya, Rohit Bal and Suneet Varma and traditional jewellery artists such as Amrapalli and Eina Ahluwalia have come together on the platform to create jewellery in the range of ₹4,000 to ₹15,000.

“We have to think of something disruptive to make the whole crystals pie grow,” says Vivek Ramabhadran, Managing Director, Swarovski Professional – India, the crystal maker’s B2B arm here, explaining the rationale behind this new initiative.

Last year, the Austrian crystals maker got into a partnership with wedding planners to launch Swarovski themed wedding decors — crystal encrusted mandaps 0. It also explored partnerships with luxury real estate developers to do interiors where crystals could be embedded into staircases and walls. This year it is pushing the growth boundaries with Confluence, which Ramabhadran describes as “the coming together of creative minds to create beautiful objects”.

He says, “We were looking for growth and accessories was the answer. How does a Gucci and Prada grow – through their accessories.” According to him the imitation jewellery market in India is around ₹ 80,000 crore and exploding.

New operating model

He says Confluence is not only a new platform but it has a new operating model as well. About 180 designs have been put together by the 11 designers, who shared the drawings with Swarovski which in turn manufactured them. “Unlike before when we would simply provide the crystals to designers, here we are manufacturing the designs ourselves,” explains Ramabhadran, adding that Swarovski is keen to exploit the manufacturing opportunities in India.

“Look at Gucci etc and the way they work with embroidery houses here – we are keen to make in India too,” he says.

The crystal maker has three licensed manufacturers in India for the Confluence project. Right now, 80 designs will be made available starting October, sold in multi-brand luxury retail outlets such as Ogaan and Amethyst. In six weeks, they will be available online through an exclusive arrangement with an online fashion portal. The rest of the designs will be launched later in the year.

In India, Swarovski’s B2B segment which grew 20 per cent over last year, is recording higher growth than its B2C segment, in contrast to other parts of the globe where the consumer facing arm is growing faster.

Bridal fashion contributes 30 per cent of Swarovski Professional’s business in India, domestic jewellery production which uses the crystals another 30 per cent. Corporate gifting accounts for 10-12 per cent, high end exports through embroidery houses 10-12 per cent with the rest coming from fashion brands and new segments like wedding décor. “Interiors which we launched last year – we have taken the foot of the pedal this year and instead are focusing on Confluence,” says Ramabhadran.

Expansion plan

Going forward the initiative can be scaled up feels Ramabhadran pointing out that it has export possibilities too. “We see a market for this jewellery collective among Indians living abroad – in the US, in Hong Kong, Singapore etc, where they are clamouring for fashion forward but Indian designer led Swarovski products,” he says.

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Published on September 21, 2016
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