Expanding your business – not in terms of sales presence, but across the entirety of the product chain – can have a marked impact on your profitability, brand awareness and product control.
This is the belief of Lauren Chang Sommer, who is transforming from a boutique retailer to the manufacturer, global distributor and retailer of her store’s primary product, moissanite.
Capitalising on opportunity
“In 1995 an American company called Charles & Colvard opened the first moissanite distribution. We became exclusive distributors in Sydney for them [in 2004],” Lauren explains.
“There was a patent, a worldwide patent for moissanite. There's only one sole distributor. But that patent in most countries lifted last year in September; in Australia, it only expired three weeks ago. [So now] the market is opening up and there are more moissanite manufacturers around.”
While many retailers would see this opening of the market as a major threat to their business, Lauren saw it as an opportunity to capitalise on her expertise in the field.
As such, she recently launched a secondary business called Moissanite International, which will manufacture and distribute moissanite across Australia and internationally.
“Because of all the improvement in technology we've been able to produce colourless stones, and that's the most coveted in fine jewellery,” says Lauren.
“For us, being able to reach this point, we just feel we're on the verge of something really huge with moissanite because the distribution channels are opening up more. There's a rationalisation happening within the marketplace, and the timing is just right at this minute.”
Benefits of owning the product chain
By owning the production and distribution of her product, in addition to the established retail business Moi Moi Fine Jewellery, Lauren says her business is poised to become the only one in the world to own the end-to-end moissanite product chain.
“It's a two-prong effect. We've positioned ourselves really well now that we can expand Moi Moi quite well and quite efficiently. We've been ready for that and knowing that this time is about to come. We've prepared ourselves with all of our back systems and all our branding and pricing is all correct,” she says.
“The other part of it is that we're ready for the distribution of our supernova moissanite to go worldwide as well.”
Lauren adds: “Now that we've got our wholesale business all in order and we have our complete supply chain, we're the only truly vertically integrated manufacturers of moissanite in the world. It gives us a lot of control to be able to expand our business quite easily and efficiently. We know exactly where the stock is coming from. We're controlling the quality ourselves, and we're also able to expand very quickly with that all lined up.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.