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06 february 2023
rohan_siroya_xx.pngRohan Siroya, the scion of the Siroya jewellery empire, has a clear ambition to catapult the company into the next phase of development and continued success. Having honed his skills as a real estate developer in Mumbai, Rohan has demonstrated his versatility and subsequently launched a consumer healthcare startup across India.

Schooled in Dubai and Canada, not to mention armed with an MBA from the prestigious Indian School of Business, Rohan joined his father Chandu Siroya in the business in 2020. Bringing the millennial mindset to Siroya, Rohan was instrumental in the creation of the JV between Siroya Jewellers and ALTR, a leader in lab-grown diamonds. Under Siroya ALTR, Rohan and his able team will soon be launching a homegrown lab-grown diamond brand - Evermore.

Here, in an exclusive interview, Rohan Siroya reveals his aspiration and vision to take the Evermore brand to greater heights.

Some excerpts...

The spurt in the growth of Lab-Grown Diamonds (LGDs) has been enormous of late, not just across countries, but also in India with many mined diamond manufacturing companies also entering the LGD sector. Your thoughts on this phenomenon?

Disruption in any major industry is inevitable. Lab-grown diamonds have been around for some time now, but many players were waiting and watching to see how they played out. De Beers, a company that dictates the price of mined diamonds, validated the category in 2018 by launching their own lab-grown diamond brand 'light box'. The signal this sent out to the world was clear.

With most players getting in, it was a straightforward diversification of their existing portfolio. For us at Siroya, we looked at what the future consumer was likely to desire and chose to embark on the journey too. The category ticks all the trendy boxes; it is environmentally sustainable and a socially conscious product, it’s an economically relevant product (higher margins for all in trade, better value for consumers) and it’s a culturally significant product too.

Please run us through your company 'Evermore' ... From inception to date; future plans in terms of expansion, etc. Which market/s does Evermore supply currently, and which consuming markets do you plan to enter in the future?

During the pandemic, I joined my family’s jewellery business with a keen mission to identify a space for the new consumer. Lab-grown diamonds caught our attention with the incredible technology behind them. The miracle of being able to grow a diamond is truly remarkable. Further, companies in the US were changing the game at a consumer level. In this effort, we reached out and eventually partnered up with ALTR-created diamonds, the global pioneer in the lab-grown diamond market.

Image credit: Evermore

Evermore was launched in May 2019 when we began working on a concept to make this story more about jewellery and the consumer than the raw materials. In October 2019, we signed up with our first retail partner in London. We followed it up with our own store in Bur Dubai. Our growth has been swift thanks to the positive response and today you can find Evermore in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, India, and the UK. We continue to build our network internationally and are now seen as a global jewellery company.

We are focusing strongly on the Middle East, Indian and European markets, expecting another round of stores to open in 2023.

Analysts see a deep drop in the price of lab-grown diamonds due to mass production. Do you see the LGD sector sustain going forward versus the mined diamonds? In your opinion, which market/country are lab-grown diamonds doing well in sales now?

The CAGR on lab-grown diamonds is many times over the growth of mined diamonds. The sector is smaller and growing exponentially, though I feel judging it against the mined diamond market isn't a fair comparison- they should be treated as separate categories that co-exist.

Not only will lab-grown diamonds sustain, but they will also continue to grow and eventually dominate the fashion markets across the world. Price points getting better is a win for consumers who can attain the incredible luxury that is a diamond. Markets globally have already opened, and we see the Middle East, China and India as the next major markets.

While analysts see nil product differentiation in the LGD sector, what uniqueness do you plan to bring into your jewellery in the already current crowded jewellery markets?

We are a jewellery company, that uses sustainable materials to create world-class products. First and foremost, we are based on the premise that jewellery and diamonds will be for everyone without compromising on design. At Evermore, each collection design is tied to a desired human emotion to make it aspirational and noteworthy. You will see this conversation throughout our brand communication setting us apart and making us stand out in the sector.

                        Image credit: Evermore

The Indian Gen Z is reportedly open to accepting LGD jewellery but their percentage is small. How do you plan to build your presence among majorly pro-natural diamond consumers? How successful is your brand in Dubai now?

It is my experience that the young consumer, whether in India or in Dubai is extremely intelligent and aware. They are technologically forward and form the bulk of the consumption in these regions. They research and consume media accordingly and can make informed choices. When a brand presents itself in an end-to-end manner, the consumer has a resounding voice; they welcome change. We are successfully seeing that in Dubai, and now in Pune too, where we have recently set up shop in collaboration with an established retailer.

What is your opinion on e-retailing jewellery as a viable business? Do you plan to enter the e-commerce platforms with Evermore jewellery?

We are omnichannel already, leading conversations online to offline. E-commerce is interesting in many markets where distribution is fragmented. It will be an increasingly transacted channel as people gain confidence in certain brands and marketplaces. Jewellery being a touch-and-feel category will continue to require an omnichannel approach.

What steps are you taking to keep millennials interested in LGDs/jewellery? What level of growth are you looking at for your LGD jewellery business in the next, say, 5 years?

The industry in the US is growing at an estimated volume-based CAGR of 25-30% YOY. Our target is to beat that number to start with. Millennials are important and so are Gen Y, as they respond to culture and relevant trends today. Diamonds hold a special place in the mindset of the wearer, and amongst luxury purchases, it's important to have the pillars of our brand communicated well to this consumer set. Given a choice, I firmly believe they will veer towards newer, trendier brands like Evermore.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough&Polished