Recognised for her passion and vision, Luk Fook Holdings (International) Ltd’s executive director and deputy CEO Nancy Wong was recently named an honouree under JNA Awards’ Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Age 40 and below) category. In this exclusive interview with JNA, Wong shares her journey as the force behind one of the industry's biggest jewellery retailers.
JNA sits down with Nancy Wong, executive director and deputy CEO of Luk Fook Holdings (International) Ltd, to talk about the company's business strategies and market outlook.
What's the most promising segment in the jewellery business today?
The younger generation of buyers is a potential source of business. Millennials are an important consumer group to almost every industry. We need to understand their culture, buying preferences, and social media and online shopping habits to develop product lines and marketing strategies that would be attractive to them.
E-tailing has become an indispensable part of all consumer products nowadays. In our last fiscal year, online sales grew 60 percent, doubling our budgeted figure. This year, we set our growth estimates to 20 percent owing to a more mature and developed market segment. So far, we are satisfied with our progress. An online-to-offline business model is crucial to a traditional business like jewellery. Inexpensive items that cost around RMB1,000 (about US$142) per piece are relatively easy to sell online where younger customers normally go shopping. Clients however still put a premium on the experience and services that come with buying fine jewellery items in a physical store. At Lukfook, online and offline shops complement each other.
What are your priorities now?
China has become one of the most upbeat consumer markets in the world, with immense business potential yet to be discovered. We will focus on further developing our presence there in the next three years.
Gold jewellery continues to be highly favoured among Chinese consumers, but young people now demand gold pieces in more sophisticated styles. We recently unveiled a new brand, “Goldstyle,” which features trendy gold jewellery items designed specifically for the younger generation. Innovative designs are made possible with high-tech equipment, and Lukfook is dedicated to investing heavily in new technology that would help us cater to the needs of modern customers.
“Dear Q” is another freshly launched brand that highlights the do-it-yourself concept. Its main targets are customers looking for diamond pieces in 18-karat gold with a playful image. This new concept store is already in Beijing and Shanghai. We want to open 10 stores for each of these two brands within 2019, and eventually penetrate more cities in China.
We also aim to further improve our supply chain management as part of our three-year plan. As a vertically integrated enterprise, streamlining resources throughout the entire pipeline is crucial, especially in a competitive market where issues including blockchain and transparency are vital to a sustainable jewellery business, as well as maximising cost-effectiveness.
Please share with us your business outlook.
The middle-class population will continue to grow in virtually all economies, providing a sound foundation for the long-term development of the jewellery industry. The emotional and investment value of fine jewellery are irreplaceable. We have refreshed our brand logo recently to highlight modern femininity on top of our traditional core values. We stand by our mission to help ingrain this intrinsic value in buyers over the coming generations.