Q. What are you doing differently with this year’s Exhibition of Rare Jewels and how does this play into your brand strategy?

A. This year, we’re offering some products that are at a mid-entry point, around US$100,000. We have some beautiful things that are at the more accessible end of the spectrum, while at the same time offering the best diamonds in the world that are obviously much more valuable. So, [our clients get] a broad offering with a lot of fresh, new products that are exciting.

Q. Graff is a brand with a strong and rich heritage. What are you doing to reach a younger market?

A. We’re offering slightly more accessible products, and focusing a bit more on releasing new ideas and new designs more frequently. But at the end of the day, young consumers aspire to [have] Graff [products]. I think people are mystified by the fabulous, really rare, special and really valuable jewels. I don’t think that will ever change, however interconnected and digital and fast-moving the world becomes. We’re not going to change our positioning too much because there’s a lot of competition for that entry level, and less competition at our level. My father started this business wanting to sell the best diamonds in the world and create the best jewellery in the world. We want to continue that.

Q. How have you been growing Graff on the digital side?

A. We do quite a lot on social media. On Instagram, we’re one of the most followed high-end jewellers with a million followers. I find that incredible, especially when you consider the fact that our niche is uber high-end. [Many of these followers are] generally younger – people who are fascinated with the brand and who aspire to purchase Graff pieces one day. These are all potential clients. People can be intimidated by our bricks-and-mortar stores with a guard outside, so this is a means to get what’s inside the store out to people in a new and different way.

My father started this business wanting to sell the best diamonds in the world and create the best jewellery in the world. We want to continue that
François Graff, CEO, Graff Diamonds

Q. Graff is renowned for its customer service. How has your approach to this evolved over the years?

A. Customer service is all about detail. What social media and the digital world allow us to do is collect a lot more data on clients and potential clients and use that data to work on the details. That may be their birthday or anniversary, or the other things that they follow online. This gives us an insight into their personality and allows us to touch those points in time and those areas in which they show an interest with more frequency, and those details all add up to a brand experience.

Q. Graff has a long history selling coloured diamonds. Now that the market is more saturated, how does the brand differentiate itself?

A. We’ve been doing this for a long time and our reputation is [for being] the house that really provides the best diamonds in the world. We’re vertically integrated – we cut all our own stones – and this is really our differentiating factor. There are very few companies that do everything from the mine through to the lady’s finger, and we have a reputation for doing that better than anyone else.

Q. What has been your strategy regarding store expansion during the economic slowdown, and what are your plans going forward?

A. With high-end jewellery, you’re looking at a very small part of the market and that part is usually pretty well insulated regardless of the economic situation. With something so rare and in such short supply, there’s always someone somewhere looking for such a thing. [Despite] the slowdown over the past two years, we have plans to continue growing the business. We’ve got a few more plans for Asia. We expanded our network here very quickly. We have 20 stores in Asia now. We’ll be opening in Singapore next year, and [have] some other stores planned for Japan. Japan’s doing very well; we have a product offering there that’s quite different – it caters to the demands of the bridal market. Our vertical integration is really a differentiating point for the Japanese consumer. Regarding the rest of the world, we have plans for the US and Europe. Our approach is fairly global, with little differences in taste across the globe, but you’d be surprised at how we’re all very similar when it comes to diamonds and jewellery.

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