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Ali Pastorini: “We have to change a little the way to sell the idea that buying jewelry is just for glamour”

18 february 2019

ali_pastorini_xx_3.jpgAli Pastorini is the co-owner of DEL LIMA JEWERLY and President of Mujeres Brillantes, an association which brings together approximately 1000 women working in the gold and diamond trading sector, mainly from Latin America, as well as from Turkey, Spain, Italy and Germany. The mission of Mujeres Brillantes is to help women in the jewelry and watchmaking sectors consolidate their business in order to exchange professional skills and experience. In the immediate past, Ali Pastorini was also Senior Vice President of the World Jewelry Hub in Panama. In this interview with Rough&Polished she tells about major trends and problems in the jewelry business.

How do you assess the situation in the jewelry market in Latin America and USA?

After 2015 and 2016 have been years of many ups and downs for the industry in general, I felt in 2017 a recovery in many countries in the region.

In 2018, this increase in consumption continued, in Brazil for example Christmas sales were around 3-5% in 2017, this year it already jumps to 9% and the outlook for 2019 is higher.

I see companies in the USA increasing their Christmas sales this year and have the same feeling, the consumer is coming back.

What type of jewelry does DEL LIMA JEWERLY manufacture today? Gold, precious stone studded, as well as diamond jewelry as well?

The brand works with 18k gold, variety of gems coming from different regions like Brazil, Colombia, Thailand and India. We also work with diamond jewelry in our high luxury collection.

We have not yet entered the silver jewelry market, but it is something we have already in mind, the only reason we have not yet entered this market is because fortunately in 2018 our sales of jewelry in gold increased more than we had planned.

Are you into high-end jewelry only or also into entry-level everyday jewelry?

We are in both because each country has its peculiarity and our intention is to reach the largest number of people and give them the possibility of having a Del Lima jewel.

Our biggest niche has always been luxury jewelry but for two years now we have created more affordable lines and less metal for young consumers to buy and we have noticed that there has been a considerable increase in young consumers who used to buy sporadically (once a year) and today is buying every 4 months. It´s a new and interesting reality that our brand has allowed itself to see and adapt.

Do your jewelry sell under your own 'Brand' name? Does your company cater only to the domestic market or are you into exports as well?

We are already in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Curiously, our brand was more quickly accepted in markets such as Europe and Asia.

We do not have and never intended to act in just one market, our intention has always been to explore new markets and attract new consumers. This strategy is longer and risky because it depends on several factors to succeed, but we believe that we have a product that many women around the world like and feel represented. Our jewels are light and different, it is easy to identify that the jewel is Del Lima. This in today's market is hard to achieve and I believe we are on the right track.

What do you think about the e-commerce? Do you have a presence on the online platform?

Absolutely, we have been running our e-commerce for over a year now and shipping the products to different locations around the world. Being stubborn and do not "read" the market has the same meaning as staying in the past and not looking to the future.

There will always be room for shops and showrooms, but we have to see that there are consumers who want to purchase via e-commerce and if we not accept and adapt to it is to allow your competitor to get your customers. Insisting on pragmatism is the same as self-sabotage.

Do you consider jewelry as a form of investment?

For sure! And not only do I consider but also, I educate my clients to see in this way, which is why they buy frequently because they do not see the jewel as an adornment only, they see it as an investment.

I always said that we have to change a little the way to sell the idea that buying jewelry is just for glamour. Today, people, especially the younger ones, want to know what benefits that product will give them. Do not underestimate this new consumer, it may seem that they do not know what they want. Believe me, they know very well what they want and are just looking for which brand identifies with them. Today we sell more purpose and not just product.

What is the purpose of your brand? Are you passing the correct image to your customers?

If you have or find the answer to these two questions, you will find the way to reach the consumers easily and faster.

Do you think natural and lab-grown diamond markets should exist separately or there should be a single market?

They must exist separately, making clear from the beginning what is natural and what is synthetic. They are different things and the consumer has the right to know what he/she is buying and the consequences of his/her choice.

If there is this separation and it is very transparent, it is possible to exist the two markets without harming the other.I believe there is a market for everyone and customers for everyone. What is missing is for natural diamond companies to invest more in marketing and advertising to educate their customers the difference of each. If done well this marketing, I believe that the natural diamond will more often beat the synthetic at the time the consumer buys.

Mujeres Brillantes, how do they feel today? What are your plans for the nearest future?

I am very optimistic with Mubri's advance in 2019, this year of 2018 was a year of strengthening some chapters and changing for others. Each chapter has its development time and we respect that a lot.

My recent visit to India, although it was a business trip where my main goal was to strengthen ties between India and Latin America, I had a chance to meet women from the Indian jewelry industry and were very interested in belonging to the group because they had already heard the results that we have reached in such a short time of existence.

2019 will be a year of many activities for the group. My role as President will be to strengthen the younger chapters because I feel that they still need my physical presence to develop, but today I realize that wherever I go people naturally ask me about Mubri (Mujeres Brillantes). This is very rewarding!

Alex Shishlo, Editor of the Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels