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life

All in the family


The Sabmaneeanant children have inherited their parent's jewellery business and now working together to ensure it remains a success

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JEWELLERY IS traditionally passed down from generation to generation but sometimes that inheritance is about more than just precious pieces. 
Take the Sabmaneeanant family, for example, owners of the fine jewellery brand Jasmin. In their case, the heritage has seen a smooth transition of the business from a father and mother to their four children –three boys and a girl. 

                        Thiravut, Panuwat, Sophaphan and Sitthichai Sabmaneeanant 
As Thailand marks Family Day as part of the Thai New Year celebrations, we look at the remarkable success of a jewellery business that has been managed by the same family for48 years and has never once lost sight of its value system, service mentality or the trust of its clients.

                            Chaivate Sapmaneeanant and Suranart Chatniramol
Constantly adapting to a world of changing cycles and subtle shifts, Panuwat Sabmaneeanant, 38, the oldest brother and chief executive officer of Jasmin Jewellery Group, believes jewellery encapsulates precious emotions in life no matter who happens to be buying it. Jewellery, he says, is a symbol of its wearer and like its wearer, each gemstone is unique. 
“I’ve been working with my father for more than 15 years and once all my younger siblings graduated, we decided to rebrand and expand the line to appeal to younger people. However, we haven’t attempted to change the way my father ran his business because that is what made him successful. I graduated in gemology from the Gemological Institute of America and we often share our thoughts – theoretical and scientific from my side and experience from his side. That’s also our secret formula,” he adds. 


“All of that has helped to open up new opportunities and set a clear vision for operating our business systematically. We all have different opinions but we don’t fight. After all, at the end of the day, we have the same goal so there’s no room for harsh feelings.”
Jasmin recently expanded, opening another boutique at Siam Takashimaya in Iconsiam in addition to its branches at Anantara Siam Bangkok, and The Emporium Shopping Complex. The original store was at the Dusit Thani Hotel, which is now under reconstruction. Panuwat is responsible for branding and overall management, the second brother Thiravut takes care of the sales teams, the third brother Sitthichai oversees the operations, and Sophaphan is in charge of marketing and designs. 
Sophaphan, at 30 the baby of the family, says she was initially not sure if she even wanted to go into the family business. After earning her master’s in 
 Business Administration specialising in innovation and technology from Boston University, she stayed on in the US working for an exclusive jewellery business. She met lots of clients but it wasn’t until the boutique owner asked her to take full responsibility for the shop that she realised she loved the jewellery business for what it was and not merely because she had been surrounded by it all her life.
“Traditionally, when families who own jewellery or gold companies have lots of children, they give each child one shop of their own. We don’t think that is the right way. Many of them end up fighting each other for customers, suppliers, artisans, and so on. It is easier for the giver but it is harder for the takers. We think all of us have different skills and experiences. And in addition to the business being more likely to be successful with our strategy, we don’t want to have bosses both at work and home,” says Panuwat. 


“My father has never opted for branding, so there is no confusion in term of image. The brand is built on trust, and we already have a foundation of loyal customers as well as a collection of masterpieces featuring rare stones. There are the classic collections, and we have added more contemporary designs and stylish items to attract younger customers, using high quality materials but selling them at a reasonable price. Our pieces are easy to wear as accessories,” Panuwat explains.
“Our jewellery gets it magic from the refined designs. They are art pieces that boost the confidence of and bring happiness to wearers. We have tried to pass on good and comfortable feelings, and sincerity through the character of our jewellery,” adds Sophaphan. 


“There is no pressure on clients visiting our stores. The charm of jewellery is to find the characters of each client by getting to know their styles. That gives us the ideas for jewellery designs that will suit their tastes.”
“We prefer being in department store as it generates traffic and brings in new clients. We don’t target our designs based on age but rather on lifestyle. Our competitors are not in the same sector but are those who sell brand-name products whether mobile phone, bags, shoes, skincare and cosmetics, watch, eyeglasses, and even lifestyle and leisure activities such as Michelin star restaurants or travel,” she notes. 
“In the past, when people received their salaries they would buy gold as an investment. Now they prefer to spend on high-end fashion items and lifestyle products. The Bt100,000 diamond has become affordable and the Bt10,000 ring is regarded as cheap. Our pricing is still the same but those high-end fashion products continue to go up,” notes Panuwat. 
Jasmin is now reaching new heights in terms of designs, innovation and audacity, with many of its creations crafted by master jewellers. 
The rebranding has also included modernising the store and designing jewellery on the “Everyday Shining” theme to attract new and younger customers. Currently on sale is “The Beginning” collection, which is inspired by the asymmetric designs of twirling dresses and dance moves. 


The latest collection known as “Fundamental” brings together Jasmin’s signature designs and emphasises the structural excellence for which the house is known. White gold enhances exquisite and modern pieces based on round brilliant cut diamonds and decorated with smaller diamonds in fancy shapes. The new collection consists of a full set with rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings.
“We prefer elegant but contemporary designs. Sometime when we create a very beautiful prototype, I have to think of who could be a potential customer, whether he or she will buy it. Then afterwards, when I’m calculating the price, I ask myself whether I should adjust the materials so that the price is affordable and so on. It’s all about balance. Jasmin jewellery is wearable, timeless, and comfortable,” Sophaphan says.

 


 

Published : April 09, 2019

By : KUPLUTHAI PUNGKANON THE NATION