Tell us about the beginnings of Lee Hwa Jewellery.
Lee Hwa Jewellery was established in 1970 and from day one, have had great acumen for identifying gaps in the market. For instance, we were the first jeweller in Singapore to popularise contemporary diamond jewellery set in 18k white gold. As a result, we quickly became a trendsetter and established a strong connection with ladies who wanted to express themselves through our modern jewellery designs. We have since introduced many more innovative pieces through our designs, manufacturing techniques and shopping experience.
Why is innovation one of the cornerstones of the brand?
We believe when one stops innovating, one will stagnate and eventually regress. Our CEO Koh Wee Seng is a visionary leader. Apart from jewellery, he has successfully launched new innovations in the real estate and financial services industries. Hence, the innovative spirit exists at the very top and trickles down the company. We also hire forward-thinking executives to complement our strong desire to continuously innovate. Despite the strong competition today, we truly believe there are still many opportunities for innovations because many players are still doing the same things for decades, if not centuries.
Lee Hwa is an exclusive distributor of international brands such as Forevermark, Niessing, Furrer-Jacot and Destinée. How do you secure such exclusive partnerships?
Lee Hwa Jewellery is a recognised leader in our industry. We take pride in the fact that today, we enjoy the biggest market share in the fine jewellery segment. Despite this strong position, we do listen to our partners and work closely with them to introduce new products in the marketplace. These successful partnerships have, in turn, attracted more interest from other international brands exploring collaborations with us. Naturally, exclusivity will ensure our commitment to success.
The brand often participates in international events like London and Singapore Fashion Weeks. With such a strong reputation, do you still feel the need to market your jewellery in other ways?
Marketing plays a crucial role in the world of luxury. In order for us to maintain our number one position, grow and enhance our iconic brand and stay ahead of the competition, our progressive marketing initiatives are key. It is only through our partnership with leading events and festivals around the world do consumers remember our brand and know we will progress and evolve with time — this consistent brand recall is critical to us.
What expansion plans do you have in the pipeline?
We have a regional expansion plan, which is dependent on the economic progress of Asia. Currently, we have expanded to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and intend to ultimately have presence in all major Asian cities. In manufacturing, we have formed a strategic partnership with Niessing from Germany, which is famed for its innovations in tension ring design and multicoloured gold alloys. Together, we hope to bring further new exciting innovations to the world soon. We are also currently in talks with another European brand to expand into Asia. We will make an announcement when the details are firm.
Lee Hwa has been nominated for the Best Jewellery Brand at the Luxury Lifestyle Awards Asia. Do such awards still matter for well-established companies?
We did ask ourselves how the Luxury Lifestyle Awards would benefit us. We decided to participate because we believe that if we do win this international award, it will be an honour and a great acknowledgement of all the great work we have done for the luxury jewellery sector. We will also be able to share this global recognition with our loyal customers who will be delighted to know the brand they have been shopping with is officially recognised for its achievements. Also, if we do win, we hope this award will drive us to scale newer heights. We certainly look forward to the awards night!