Ali Pastorini is the co-owner of DEL LIMA JEWELRY 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.
What are your plans for the medium term?
The 2018 Annual Meeting will take place in Madrid, during the Jewellery Show – Madrid Joya, which is the main Jewellery Fair in Spain and one of the leading in Europe. The participation of Mujeres Brillantes takes place from September 11th to 14th.
The agenda will be a mix of activities aimed at female entrepreneurship, educational activities together with the Spanish Gemmology Institute (IGE) and exhibition of jewelry and brands through a fashion show with the pieces of some members of the group as well as a booth of the Mujeres Brillantes that will be fixed during the Fair to show the pieces of some brands of the group.
What is your main concern?
Continue to grow each existing chapter. The chapter in Spain is proof that with determination and awareness of the role of women in industry, it is possible to break paradigms and change the scenario.
Before we open a new chapter, we need to strengthen every region. Each country has its time and challenge, so it is up to me as President together with the team of each chapter to diagnose and find the solution so that the members can develop professionally in each region. That is why we are frequently making various regional events, educational or commercial, with a focus on entrepreneurship and alliances with renowned companies in the international market.
To contain the group’s anxiety and expectations, as we grow and succeed in our initiatives this also generates a greater requirement for excellent results.
My challenge is to make these women understand that everything has their time and constant study of each market is extremely important to success as a brand. The product that works in Mexico for example, may not work in Canada. This is perhaps the biggest challenge of many jewellers, not just women, understand that you have to adapt to the demand of a particular market or if you want to impose your style, it will take time and patience, knowing where to invest, how to invest and be constantly well informed about the consumers of that region.
In the case of Mujeres Brillantes, they realized that it is an excellent exchange platform and the possibility of putting their brand in a new market in a less costly and efficient way. Some who are already successful with this action are more eager to continue to get good results, which on the one hand is good but on the other hand is dangerous because they analyze some market in a very superficial way. That’s why we have several workshops on how to maintain success. After all, achieving success is difficult, staying in it is even harder.
How many members does Mubri currently have?
934 members, where most of them are in Europe and Latin America with some representatives in Asia.
As I said before, my intention is to continue strengthening and developing the existing chapters before opening a new one. We have nine chapters in less than two years of existence.
Our dilemma is quality before quantity. But of course, I am interested in a future in empowering women in Asia.
How do you assess the current situation in the global jewelry market? Are the gold jewelry considered an investment even now, as it was before?
From the point of view of my brand, Del Lima Jewelry, is still an excellent investment because in 2018 we entered in two new markets and we have already obtained good numbers for the company.
I see this occurring with industry colleagues who work with gold jewelry. I think when a brand knows how to use the right tools of communication, advertising and marketing do not suffer as much from the market oscillation because naturally build a relationship and create the desire of the consumer to get a gold jewelry. Gold as well as diamond are great investments and the consumer is seeking to inform himself more and more. Even because it is not everyone who knows how to invest in a Stock Exchange, and the economy of several countries have their ups and downs. Gold as well as diamond are a safer investment from the point of view of the consumer.
What jewelry is in great demand today?
Gold jewelry with emerald has always been a strong trend and demanded by the consumer, but what we have noticed is that there was a considerable increase in purchase this year. However, the consumer wants the emerald with other types of precious stones, escaping from the traditional emerald and diamond.
Another strong trend since the last European summer is the green gold that comes strong and is already requested by consumers.
Do laboratory-grown diamonds pose a threat to natural diamonds?
Personally, for me a diamond should always be the real thing, which is to say a stone that was produced in nature, making it a unique and ageless object that no factory can reproduce. But that is not to say that there is anything illegal or immoral about laboratory grown diamond, as long as the consumer clearly understands what he or she is getting, and what is the difference between the two.
I do not buy into the theory that laboratory grown diamond are cutting into natural diamonds’ market share. As a separate product, they are creating their own market, and we need to defend and grow the natural diamond market.
I do not see them as a threat and I do not think the industry should see them like this. I see it as a motivation and awareness to educate our consumers.
It is said that luxury products and experiences, such as traveling abroad, expensive cars and artwork etc. are in recent times more interest for the millennial, thus negatively affecting the sales of jewelry? Your thoughts…
In fact, in a recent article published by Robb Report showed from 2015 to 2017 there was a 31% increase of young women buying jewelry.
Jewelry will always be considered an original and exclusive product, the young consumer understands this and will not stop to consuming.
What will change is the way this consumer acquires, whether through new purchasing platforms or through what experience a jewellery´s brand provides him/her.
The young consumer needs to identify with the cause of the brand, especially if it is a luxury brand. Selling just the idea of glamour is no longer enough. She/he wants to know what the purpose of the brand’s existence is, she/he wants her/his brand to communicate faster with her/him.
What is your opinion on the modern world diamond industry?
I am not satisfied with the current scenario in the big organizations, I think that more young people and women should be present in strategic or decision-making positions.
I see an improvement in some private companies and countries, but still in the global scenario is a very small growth to what it should be. We are not reflecting what society is. Maybe that’s one of the main reasons we feel away from our consumers because we do not listen new industry´s groups that are growing and gaining relevance each day more.
The greatest quality of the human being is knowing how to change when he is wrong and not insisting on the mistake, I think we should put this into practice for the good of the sector.
Credits: Rough&Polished European Bureau in Brussels