Joyalukkas Group Achieving a Strong, Seamless Global Presence …
Joy Alukkas, followed in his visionary father’s footsteps and has expanded the ‘Joyalukkas’ brand internationally. He took his first step by setting up a jewellery showroom in UAE in the year 1987, today Joyalukkas is a multi- billion dollar global conglomerate, which has been achieved in a span of merely two decades. In an exclusive interview with Floroscent, Joy Alukkas talks about exciting journey of 30 years and goal to expand network of Joyalukkas Group to 150 showrooms within a year. Excerpts
Floroscent: Congratulations on 30 glorious years of Joyalukkas. Tell us how did it all begin?Joy Alukkas: My father, Varghese Alukkas, was an entrepreneur, he ventured into jewelry retailing in the year 1956. I enjoyed visiting his jewelry showroom and helping out whenever I could from the time I was 15 years old. This helped me become passionate about the jewelry business and also learn a lot about it. In 1987, I went to the UAE and decided to set up our first jewelry showroom there. Form this first showroom to our 130th showroom has been an exciting journey of 30 years which I have enjoyed every moment of. Today Joyalukkas is a global organization which employees over 8,000 employees across 13 countries around the world and our business includesJjewelry, Fashion & Silks, Money Exchange, Luxury Air Charter, Malls & Realty.
Floroscent: During the initial years, did you see failures? How did you overcome them?Joy Alukkas: Every successful person, I believe, has seen failures and setbacks. Success is actually is taking the failures and setbacks in your stride and keep pushing towards your dream. My vision for our jewelry business is to ‘Ornament the World’ and I don’t allow any set backs or failures to make me think otherwise. Perseverance, determination, confidence and belief in oneself is the quality of a successful person and these qualities will help you overcome every obstacle and failures.
Floroscent: How has the journey been so far? What has been the most remarkable milestone for you?
Joy Alukkas: It’s been a phenomenal and exciting roller coaster ride so far and there is lots more to come. In the 30 years of existence of Joyalukkas, we have set may milestone won many recognitions and accolades, some memorable ones include opening the world’s largest jewelry showroom in Chennai, Becoming a Superbrand, venturing into USA and winning most of the top awards from leading jewelry bodies around the world and the best one would be earning the loyalty and patronage of over 10 million customers world-wide.
Floroscent: From one jewellery store in 1987 to Joyalukkas Group comprising of over 130 Joyalukkas Jewellery showrooms and other business interests, what has been the mantra of your success?
Joy Alukkas: ‘Customer First’, At Joyalukkas every employees is taught and trained to ensure every customer who walks into any of our showrooms is given the highest standard of service and attention. The best mix of service, quality, choice, designs, convenience and value added services is what keeps us ahead in the extremely competitive environment. We have no business without our customers so we have to ensure we serve them to the best our our capabilities at all times.
Floroscent: What challenges did you face in the course of 30 years and how did you overcome it?Joy Alukkas: The world of business is always full of uncertainty. No matter how successful, there are always risks involved in running a business. Joyalukkas Group is no exception. But one good thing about being a self owned enterprise is that I can make the necessary decisions without having to consult anyone or unnecessary delays . This has allowed us to seize the right opportunities at the right time, let go of ventures that were not working out, and lay the groundwork for long-term growth.
Floroscent: You seem to lead from the front in all aspects of your business, what is the secret of your dynamic leadership?
Joy Alukkas: I tend to learn every little nuance of all the businesses I own, learning every aspect helps me in taking better and faster decisions. After all, you can’t lead by example and teach people to do things the “right” way if you don’t know it yourself. So from choosing ethical suppliers and handpicking the jewellery that goes on display, to meeting customers face to face and hearing their feedback, I like to stay very much hands-on.
Floroscent: As an extraordinarily successful businessman, what is the secret of making money?
Joy Alukkas: There is no secret per se, or a set formula all successful businessmen follow. At Joyalukkas, we credit our success to keeping the customer at the heart of everything we do. From our product selection to pricing, to offering the best value in in-store promotions and providing relevant services, we are always looking for new ways to give our customers only the best. It is this sincerity and thoughtfulness that has earned us the trust and loyal patronage of over 10 million customers worldwide.
Floroscent: What is the core value of the group? Can you throw some light into it?
Joy Alukkas: The heart is the guiding symbol of Joyalukkas. It is where we draw our passion for excellence and it drives us to continue exceeding customers’ expectations. The heart leads and the rest follows, leading us to build lasting partnerships with the world’s best jewellery sources, opening up avenues for honest communication with our customers and so on. It is such a big part of our day-to-day operations that we have created an icon of entwined gold and silver to represent this philosophy.
Floroscent: According to you, what is the biggest change the jewellery industry is facing in recent time and how one should prepare for the same?
Joy Alukkas: The economic instability of the past decade has seen the rise of more price conscious and value-aware consumers. There are still impulse buyers, of course, but more and more people are cutting back on what they see as “luxury” or unnecessary purchases. And we don’t see this trend changing anytime soon. At Joyalukkas this has meant a shift in how we communicate about our products as long-term investments, rather than on-occasion ornaments. We’ve also added services such as the Easy Gold Purchase Scheme where customers can plan and save for their jewellery purchases, especially for big events like weddings. Our promotions have also been scaled back and offer more practical value to customers, such as our Guaranteed Gold Rate Protection offer, as well as gold coin gifts on purchase.
Floroscent: What is the USP of Joyalukkas product and services?
Joy Alukkas: Joyalukkas is always about giving customers the best. Even the design of our showrooms has been planned in such a way as to offer them the best, most satisfying jewellery shopping experience. We have also innovated services such as a dedicated wedding planning division, an e-gift card the recipient can redeem at any Joyalukkas showroom in the world, and one of the most comprehensive loyalty programmes in the world with JGR – all aimed at maintaining our position as the world’s favourite jeweller.
Floroscent: What should the customers be expecting from Joyalukkas in the future?
Joy Alukkas: One of the promises we have made to customers is to bring their most loved jewellery wherever they are. We’re very excited about the next two years as we continue our aggressive expansion plans and open showrooms in new markets, including Canada, and Sri Lanka. We also have plans to expand our wedding jewellery offering to include more traditional collections from top craftsmen from around the world. We recently concluded a International jewellery festival, which was very well received, and we look forward to featuring more targeted collections in the near future.
Floroscent: Millennials are not as much into jewellery as they are into gadgets, how do you plan to target this group?
Joy Alukkas: While it is true that later generations are more interested in gadgets than jewellery, there are still many occasions where a gift of jewellery is more appropriate than electronics. Rather than target millennials specifically, we are working on expanding our product offerings to include more trendy, contemporary designs that appeal to a wider audience. A teen collection, as well as a limited edition line that will feature unique designs and special materials are also now in the drawing board stages for our younger patrons.
Floroscent: Can you please tell us about your CSR activities?
Joy Alukkas: Joyalukkas has always believed in giving back to the communities we operate in. Through the Joyalukkas Foundation, we are able to provide funds and assistance where and when necessary. This includes donating to the flood devastated areas of Tamil Nadu, Building homes for the needy in Kerala, donating to cancer hospitals etc. The Foundation also conducts activities such as blood donation drives and mobile breast cancer screening annually to contribute to the health and happiness of our communities.
Floroscent: How much has demonetisation affected your business?
Joy Alukkas: Since opening our doors in 1987, we have been slowly educating customers on the value of gold as an investment tool and even offering gold payment schemes, 0% deduction on old gold exchange, and similar offers. These efforts have been rewarded and we were fortunately not adversely affected by the government’s demonetisation exercise. We are sure the Indian Government has taken the decision of demonetisation with the best interest if India at heart and in the long run this will help in our country’s growth and progress.
Floroscent: What is the future of organised retail shops in India?
Joy Alukkas: Rising incomes and growing families are both boon and challenge to retailers in India. Of course these new generation of shoppers will bring in more sales, but it will also raise competition. Now it is up to us to offer the best products and the best value to maintain our lead in the market. Our goal at present is to expand our network to 150 showrooms within a year, this will mean many new showrooms across various parts of India. India is a market that is very close to our heart, so we plan to set up showrooms in as many parts of India as possible in the near future.