Bvlgari - "We Want to Sell to Indians in India"

Well, that's a big reason India is back on luxury brand Bvlgari's horizon, as it re-enters India with a brand new store

By: Suman Tarafdar

Posted on: November 28, 2014

Well, that’s a big reason India is back on luxury brand Bvlgari’s horizon, as it re-enters India with a brand new store
It’s a return that was eagerly anticipated. Luxury brand Bvlgari, best known globally for its contemporary Italian jewellery, is back in India after a short hiatus as it reopens a store in Delhi’s DLF Emporio.
The brand is celebrating its 130th anniversary and is now part of the luxury conglomerate LVMH. The opening of the Delhi store is one of the luxury brand’s many milestones this year, which will be marked by a number of international and regional high jewellery events and glamorous brand exhibitions around the world, often recapturing celebrity moments where the brand has featured, such as Richard Burton's proposal to Elizabeth Taylor. 
A part of these celebrations included Bvlgari hosting an evening at the city’s Taj Palace Hotel for 400 elite guests of the brand, with Bvlgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, actors Sonam Kapoor and Arjun Rampal, and designer Anamika Khanna, who styled models for the fashion event of the evening.
Bvlgari is confident of gaining a significant market share in the top end luxury jewellery category. In fact, the Delhi store gives huge primacy to jewellery in its layout, and Mr Babin explained why.
“Indians are very big jewellery consumers and are buying more than any other nation,” he said. “We believe we will be able to get a growing market share out of the total cake, most of which is unbranded jewellery.” He pointed out that Indian customers were buying Bvlgari while travelling abroad, and now they could do so right here.
The brand is the country through a joint venture (JV) with a silent partner, and has a majority stake this time around. It had applied for a license under Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) after India had announced the opening of its market for single brand retail under the previous UPA government. Mr Babin said, as a majority stakeholder, the brand would decide the way ahead. Bvlgari had first entered India in 2004 and exited about seven years later in 2011, with a store at the same mall in Delhi. The brand however continued to retail out of multi brand outlets in India, especially for watches.
While Mr Babin is bullish about growth in India, he said the biggest limitation was the lack of adequate retail spaces. Though the brand is looking at other cities to set up boutique stores too, they will be choosy about retail spaces in them.

He also said that the pricing would be according to rates in neighbouring markets such as Singapore and Dubai. “We will be absorbing much of the luxury duty that India imposes,” he said. “We want to sell to Indians in India.” He also points out that not everything is very high priced – pointing to pieces that cost as low as €1,000.” Ninety per cent of the business is in the €1,000-20,000 bracket, he says.
The Delhi store is in keeping with the brand’s global store format. The brand is synonymous for its jewels, watches, accessories and fragrances of distinctive style, and striking a balance between classicism and modernity. The Delhi store amply reflects these qualities, as it is characterised by typical elements that define Bvlgari stores worldwide. The flooring of the 168 square metre store is oak parquet with gold ‘Veneziana’ on a single level that includes a main central area displaying iconic Bulgari jewellery with dedicated spaces for the bridal, watches and accessories collections. An exclusive section of the store has been specifically dedicated to securing the privacy of clients who seek it.
The central counters, shaped like the number eight, or infinity, are bathed in light from 5,500 pieces of crystals from the precious Murano chandelier above it.  Originally conceived by designer Angelo Mangiarotti and crafted by Italian glass artisans, this hand-assembled cascade of light architecture is an impressive invitation to browse and indulge in the most recognisable and iconic jewellery collections.
The brand’s rich history is portrayed on the walls decorated with vintage advertising campaigns of the Heritage Collection and famous celebrity endorsements such as the unforgettable image of Elizabeth Taylor kissing Richard Burton.
Bulgari was founded in Rome in 1884 as a single jewellery shop and progressively imposed itself with its magnificent jewellery creations, emblems of the Italian excellence.  It became part of the LVMH group in 2011 and has continued to enthrall the rich globally. Just how many of India’s well heeled become part of this luxury story may determine the success of the brand this time around.
Suman Tarafdar is a journalist and writer based in Delhi. He has worked with a number of leading Indian media organisations, and writes on various aspects of luxury, lifestyle and culture. When not writing to earn a living, he likes to travel, read, cook, chat, shop and watch all kinds of soppy stuff on TV. Yes, current politics bothers him

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