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Friday September 21, 2012

Tiffany & Co is thriving on Malaysian shores

MANY women consider diamonds a girl’s best friend, and truth be told, it would appear a lot of men seem fond of them as well. After all, it is believed that the rapper Lil Wayne, popularised the use of the term “bling”.

People have always been enthralled by the brilliance of the light that these gems display.

But, women are generally the ones considered knowledgeable about diamonds and many are able to distinguish the carat weight and cut of jewellery while secretly wishing that her beloved would also be familiar with such detail.

Engaging: Customers in the Tiffany & Co store at Pavilion admiring its engagment rings. Engaging: Customers in the Tiffany & Co store at Pavilion admiring its engagment rings.

So, the most effective way to please a lady is to whip out your credit card and buy her that stone she has her eye on. Although that may ultimately kill all element of surprise, at least she gets that bracelet or ring she wants and he doesn’t have to agonise about making the right choice.

Then again, even a jewellery novice can’t go wrong with the fine offerings from Tiffany & Co, as the brand name has a 175-year-old legacy that has become a hallmark for elegance, extravagance and sophistication.

So, no need to wait for your woman to let you know what she wants, give her what she wants. She’ll be surprised and delighted to her wits end.

More diamonds, more smiles

While the premier jeweller prides itself in its savoir faire in diamonds that fulfil the criteria of the 4 Cs — cut, clarity, carat weight and colour, the company adds a fifth “C” — craftsmanship. The company prides itself on diamonds that are distinctively brilliant. And yes, Tiffany’s diamonds really do shimmer and sparkle from every angle and perhaps this is the inimitable craftsmanship that distinguishes its jewellery.

Dazzling: Tiffany engagement rings. Dazzling: Tiffany engagement rings.

“Our diamonds are set slightly away from the prongs of the ring to lift them above the band and into the light. It is a method called the ‘six-prong Tiffany Setting’ that allows a greater reflection of shimmering light which is very beautiful and unique compared to the effects you’d get from conventional diamond setting methods. This would make any woman happy,” explains Tiffany & Co Malaysia general manager Marianne Liow.

Indeed, for decades that feature has made many women proposed to with a Tiffany engagement ring ecstatic.

“No woman can say no to the Tiffany setting and because we can see how popular it is, we are planning for a new bridal product launch early next year. It will be an added collection to the current range of engagement rings we have in the market. In our bridal fair held this earlier this month, we brought in a special 4.04 carat ring with a Tiffany setting that received a very positive response as it is a truly amazing diamond.” said Liow.

But the magic doesn’t end with the engagement ring, as what usually follows is the wedding band.

“Many of our customers consult us on matching wedding bands and we have an exclusive range of these items as well.”

In addition to its product expansion, Tiffany & Co Malaysia is eyeing the Muslim market for jewellery as “hantaran” gifts.

“We’ll continue to strengthen our brand to become the jeweller of choice for Muslim couples when it comes to hantaran gifts.”

With these plans for growth, the company hopes that its bridal category will contribute some 25% to 30% to its overall sales in Malaysia.

Love in
Tiffany
style: The
company’s
famous
blue box
has the
power to
make a
proposal
even more
special. Love in Tiffany style: The company’s famous blue box has the power to make a proposal even more special.

Business at Tiffany’s

Just like its amazing diamonds, Tiffany & Co has also dazzled and exceeded expectations with its second quarter earnings this year of US$92 million (RM281.31 million) and worldwide net sales of US$887 million.

There’s no doubt that Tiffany’s customers appreciate the value of the company’s products and want to enjoy the “Tiffany & Co lifestyle” even more. In Malaysia, Liow said, the company will expand the size of their outlet in Suria KLCC.

“It will be our flagship store and we are doing this because of growing demand. The work is scheduled to be completed by this year,” says Liow.

Aside from being bigger, it will have a more luxurious and cosy ambiance so that the jeweller can host events for its customers to revel in the entirety of the “Tiffany & Co experience”.

The company has another outlet in Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur, which is one of over 250 Tiffany & Co stores and boutiques in the world.

Surely, the vast number of stores must signify that its products cater to customers from a wide demographic range.

In fact, Liow has observed that customers are usually pleasantly surprised when they walk into a Tiffany store and discover that their products are actually affordable.

“Our jewellery ranges from the basic to the more expensive and luxurious selections such as silver, gold to diamonds. Prices start at RM300 so almost everyone can be a proud owner of a Tiffany product,” says Liow.

The company also has a broad merchandise mix of timepieces, silverware, china, crystal, stationary, key-chains, perfumes, locksand other luxury items with price tags that are lower than its jewellery.

When someone buys something from Tiffany & Co, they will have their product carefully packaged in the Tiffany Blue Box, the company’s trademark packaging that encapsulates quality and beauty.

“That’s why we call it the power of the blue box. Even if the blue box is empty, people seem to be enchanted when they see it because they know what it signifies,” says Liow.

Also, leaving some in awe would be the price tag on a Tiffany piece, but Liow says that it is the price for excellence and a dedicated after-sales service guarantee.

“Customers are encouraged to bring their jewellery back to us to get it professionally cleaned by the staff who are experienced in all aspects of jewellery care, including cleaning gemstones, re-stringing pearls and repairing earring backs.”

Jewellery in Mars and Venus

When it comes to selecting jewellery, men are indeed from Mars, while women are from Venus.

“Men are simple beings and they would probably not understand why women are so detailed and complex in their needs. While this is a generalisation, I notice that men choose basic and classically designed jewellery — usually the sterling silver pieces. They know exactly what they want before going into the store, and they are usually out with their purchase within 10 to 15 minutes,” explains Liow.

Women on the other hand, she explains, want and even pine for a piece that she can immediately identify with.

As women are more emotional in their decisions, Liow explains that every good business and retailer has to understand this and serve their female customers with extra tender loving care.

“No, it’s not about walking on eggshells around them, nor is it about just showcasing the product that they want, but it’s about chaperoning and giving them exceptional service to make them feel comfortable and special,” says Liow.

These elements of customer service, Liow says, are incorporated into her decision-making process.

At the end of the day, customers (both men and women) who bring home the blue box are proud owners of an icon belong ing to Tiffany & Co, a brand that ensures it is nothing but the best. “Because we are the best.”

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