Family-run jeweller K.M. Oli Mohamed stands the test of a century


  • Metro Biz
  • Saturday, 10 Jan 2015

Main selling point: The company prides itself on the uniqueness of its designs.

K.M. Oli Mohamed (M) Sdn Bhd has been a trusted jeweller for the last 100 years. Over the years since it was set up in 1914, the company has earned itself the reputation of being a jeweller to the royalty in Malaysia.

Be that as it may, the company’s main focus over the last century has been to provide ordinary men and women with beautifully designed jewellery.

Often the company products become family heirlooms, worn proudly and passed down from generation to generation.

“Ours is a family business and all our jewellery is meticulously crafted from scratch. We make sure our designs are unique and made by qualified artisans from quality materials.

“In fact, all the prices reflect the value of each piece,” said K.M. Oli Mohamed (M) Sdn Bhd director Mohamed Kassim Oli Mohamed.

Mohamed Kassim has been in the family business for 40-plus years, since joining the company at 18.

He hails from a family of jewellers and is the fourth of nine siblings. Seven siblings are also in the business. Over the years, the K.M. Oli Mohamed brand has built a reputation for its individual designs. No two designs are alike here.

The company currently has three branches. His daughter, Mumtaz, assists at the main branch in Ampang while her sister, Jubaitha, and elder brother Rahmat handle the Bangsar Shopping Centre branch.

The company has another outlet in Singapore.

Mohamed Kassim says unlike other jewellers, they are very careful about expanding their business.

“We are happy with the way our family business is run and we abide by certain principles. We do not do mass production and have a long list of repeat customers. K.M. Oli Mohamed is going on to the third generation and we are slowly taking a backseat, advising the younger generation from time to time,” he says.

Though the jewellery shop offers elegant rings studded with brilliant-cut sapphires, rubies and diamonds, dramatically intricate bracelets, bangles and pendants, earrings, and even buttons with clear-cut diamonds, Mohamed Kassim says most of the company’s jewellery is reasonably priced and affordable.

“Precious stones are very alluring and our gems are sourced from all over the world and manufactured locally and in Hong Kong. Many of our customers buy jewellery because they want to hold on to their memories of occasions like engagements, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. And finding the perfect jewel can be intimidating.

“This is where we come in. Our customers are not too bothered about the price or designs, but whether they are getting the true quality,” says Mohamed Kassim, 60.

Gone are the days when jewellery was specially designed for the rich and famous.

“Customer profiles have changed. The middle-income group has expanded and more educated, well travelled and well informed. So, the demand is greater because they know what they want. Besides, more people are buying jewellery as an investment these days,” he says.

Mohamed Kassim was trained by his late father and worked with some of the finest jewellers during his father’s time. He says this inspired him to produce original and intricately designed jewellery.

“We have established ourselves by coming up with traditional patterns, and original and rare designs. In fact, all of us here are not content with replicating standardised jewellery designs. We are always looking for a new idea, a new twist to transform an idea into a piece of jewellery. We have to understand the materials and techniques during this creative process to get high quality, bespoke jewellery,” he says.

Mumtaz says her main task is to make sure the company’s jewellery styles are trendy and favoured by the younger generation.

“We are always coming out with new styles to suit younger customers. I am amazed by how our designers are full of ideas and how they always come up with exquisite designs.

“Since most of our designs are rare, it appeals to certain people. Everyone is different and what looks good on one person may not on another. We will normally listen to our customers’ preferences and advise them. Our main job is to get the perfect piece of jewellery to fit a particular style,” says the 33-year-old who often travels to jewellery trade fairs to stay in touch with developments.

The company prides itself on its after-sales service. It will clean and polish any of its jewellery at no charge, no matter how long ago it was bought, helping to ensure it will be passed on as an heirloom.

According to Mohamed Kassim, all stones sold through K.M. Oli Mohamed have been sourced from reputable diamond merchants and have been professionally cut.

“We give buyers the opportunity to examine any stone whether it be diamonds, rubies, emeralds or sapphires, before they make a choice.

“Our collections are usually inspired by nature and natural elements. Design styles are contemporary, yet simple with classic lines to last generations to come.

“These days, with so many jewellers around offering similar products, designs seem to be the top priority when choosing jewellery. Clients are always on the lookout for that something different, but without being ultra-modern.

“With our designs, there are many elements that are evergreen. Motifs like flowers, stars and hearts transcend different age groups and are very universal in their appeal,” said Mohamed Kassim.

The jeweller celebrated its centenary recently by having a sale. Appropriately enough, the theme for the event was “Keeping the gems sparkling through 100 years.”

“For us, being 100 years old is a major achievement in terms of continuity, integrity and trustworthiness.

“We have always kept ourselves relevant in the jewellery industry by understanding changes in styles and trends, customer needs and service. Our motto of Quality, Reliability, Excellent Service and Fair pricing has been the driving force in meeting the challenges we have faced over the decades.

“Indeed, it has been an exciting 100-year journey. From now till the next 100 years, we plan to continuously strive, improve and add value to our services and offerings, to satisfy the growing demands of their clients and their affluent lifestyles.

“We will strengthen the tradition of trust laid-down by the founder. Along the way, we have tried to give back to society through our activities, programmes and promotions,” says Mohamed Kassim.

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