Vashi: Disruptive Diamond Retailing for Millennials
Catering to a price-conscious and experience-loving audience – largely millennials looking for personalised engagement rings – it focuses on inclusion and personalisation, at prices around 50% lower than Tiffany & Co. Echoing its tag line of “Make a diamond ring like no other. Made by you”, visitors can compose bespoke designs for diamond rings but also for necklaces, earrings and bracelets. The focus on relatively intimate involvement is a shrewd strategy: 35% of women and 40% of men in the US believe that purchasing an engagement ring should be a collaborative effort for a couple (Forbes, 2017).
Central to the retail experience is a creation process supported by craftspeople and gem specialists that takes place in a subterranean lab equipped with microscopes, lasers and workshop tables. Visitors initially create digital moodboards on tablets, then work with the experts to polish and set stones.
More unorthodox still, Vashi also offers live-streamed footage of the jewellery-making process for friends and family unable to attend the appointment, and/or a coffee-table book documenting the process.
Spanning two floors, the industrial-looking 1,500 sq ft store boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and an aluminium counter that doubles as another workshop table. Neon signage adorns rough whitewashed walls, with seasonal collections displayed on cherry wood shelving.
For more on the brands disrupting traditional jewellery retailing, see Jewellery Retail’s New Horizons.