Luxury has taken the world by storm and people’s craving for the luxury goods is escalating by the day. The luxury sector is on the rise undeterred by any economic stumbling blocks. The industry is growing slowly and steadily, and is led by high-end gadgets, luxury super cars, lavish hospitality and personal luxury merchandise. According to reports, these together account for 80 per cent of the total market.
Luxury is no more confined within the tagged brands anymore. Goldgenie, with its exclusive personalisation services, has taken this luxurious frenzy to a different level.
Goldgenie is today a name to reckon with in the luxury marketplace. The company offers customised services for all sorts of objects. The specialized artisans at Goldgenie beautifully craft goods using gold, copper, nickel, chrome and platinum plating, solid gold, Swarovski crystals and diamonds. The company is renowned for furnishing luxury products besides customizing phones, bicycles, sports goods et al.
In an exclusive interaction with Retail360Asia Bureau, Laban Roomes, Founder, Goldgenie, speaks at large about the brand and the trends in the international luxury market. Below are the excerpts of the interview…
How was Goldgenie born?
It was an evolution of a business model that gold plated Lexus, Rolls Royce and Bentley emblems and mascots. I drove up and down the country in a van doing on-site gold plating which was usually while emblems were still intact on the car until Nokia launched the 8800 phone – this one phone changed my life and through someone that we sold a gold plating system to this particular phone was brought to my attention and we became the no. 1 supplier in the world for gold plated phone Nokia 8800 housings which quickly moved on to us actually supplying the whole phone customised in 24k Gold.
What was the turning point in the business?
There have been several turning points to date but the most notable were designing a range of iPods for Elton John called the “Starburst” with all had Elton’s signature on the back of the iPod. Elton John and team approached us to gift items for one of his lavish balls to raise money for the EJAF charity, Elton loved our products so much that he commissioned me to create a 900 limited edition range of he “Starburst” iPod which went on to sell out in Selfridges and Harrods in just a few weeks of the launch raising thousands of pounds for the EJAF charity.
Adding to that, what have been the most encouraging moment for you?
Getting investment from James Caan on the BBC hit TV show Dragons Den, and then being able to buy him out and get my shares back was indeed great. James and the whole Dragons Den experience taught me some invaluable personal and business lessons. With this opportunity came exposure on a complete different level and to this very day each time the Dragons Den show that I appeared on airs in a different country we end up selling a Master franchise there.
One of the more enjoyable and flattering experiences was being invited to the 2015 Oscars to distribute our luxury gold embellished gifts which put us on the map in terms of an American customer base and led to feature our products on one of the biggest game shows in the world “The Price is Right”.
Which markets are doing good for you and which all are on the expansion radar?
The United Arab Emirates, China, India and the USA are doing exceptionally well. Areas that are on the rise and on my radar are Malaysia, Singapore and Africa. We have just opened our own Goldgenie Luxury retail store in the UAE and intend to have another shop opened in Beijing next year.
What all categories do you have on offer and what are the highest selling categories and price point?
Our categories range for real flowers preserved in 24k Gold, to luxury tablets and mobile phones embellished in Diamonds, Rose Gold and Platinum. We also do a range of Gold embellished products such as shoes and other luxury gifts such as executive office stationary to racing bikes. Each product can be personalised to suit the customer or they can send items in to also be customised to their preference.
Share with us some ongoing trends in international luxury gifting market?
More people are realising its profitable to give luxury gifts on special occasions and events. We are finding that corporations are spending huge budgets to personalise iPads and iPhones especially to gift them to outstanding workers and to acquire new business or win favour with customers and new clients. We are currently working on a £3 million order for a well known Credit card company who want to give their next customers a 24k Gold personalised iPad Air.
How has the trend changed over the years since inception?
The trend which I honestly believe has been set by my company is definitely smartphones. People will have a customised iPhone to match their dress/suit or existing jewellery. Some of the customers would even customise a phone to match their supercar.
Who are your target consumers?
Our target customers are upwardly mobile individuals who aspire to success and being successful. Our best customers are surprisingly not super rich, but rather like the finer things in life and want to have status symbols that remind them and everyone around them that they are winners.
What is your current distribution in brick and mortar space? What are your future distribution plans?
As mentioned we have a luxury retail experience shop just opened up in the United Arab Emirates in a place called the iMall and plan to open a store in Beijing China next year.
How has been the eCommerce space?
We sell all of our products from our award winning website. We offer free delivery and a lifetime guarantee on all products purchased. To say more about the eCommerce space, visit us to find out more on what we can do.
What has been your biggest challenge so far in scaling-up?
Since buying back my shares from James Caan, the company has grown exponentially and the biggest situation faced by us has been getting good, reliable and capable staff.
How are you addressing the challenge?
We feel we have now addressed the challenge. We now have a formidable team consisting quality, conscientious individuals that run our web development, SEO, gold plating and technical and electronics departments as well s our own in house PR and marketing team.
Gold, Platinum, Diamonds, Swarovski Style Crystals, Pearls and other such lavish stuff is easily accessible but how do you manage getting Genuine Exotic Animal Skins? And what all animal skins are handy for you?
The animal skins we sell are CITES protected which stops the over exploitation of animals through international trade. We only have select skins available like for example Python and the others we sell are embossed leather giving the effect of an exotic skin like Crocodile for an example.