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WHY THE LUXURY SECTOR REQUIRES LUXURY LIFESTYLE AWARDS

Last February, I had the opportunity to attend the Gala Ceremony of the Luxury Lifestyle Awards Asia 2015, one of the most anticipated events in which luxury brands compete in various categories for this internationally recognised honour.

The event took place at Fairmont, Singapore, and brought together the most esteemed representatives of the Asian luxury market. Luxury brands throughout Asia were nominated in various categories, from Luxury Hotels and Restaurants to Luxury Cosmetics, Yachting, Jewelry, to name a few.

I was honoured with an invitation to be a member of the Luxury Lifestyle Awards Asia honorary judges board alongside international judges from Ferrari, Bentley, Ralph Lauren, Diageo, and many other renowned premium and luxury brands. This privilege aside, I was also tasked with announcing the winners in the Luxury Interior Design Company category for Hong Kong (Ronald Lu & Partners), Malaysia (Design Spirits), India (Casa Paradox) and Singapore (Viterbo).

It was interesting to note that in the Luxury Jewelry Brand category for Singapore, two out of three nominees were boutique jewelers. They command a cult following, mostly affluent, stylish ladies who have the opportunity to interact with the jewelers and appreciate their designs and style.

Coincidentally, both of these boutique jewelers will also be exhibiting at the Singapore International Jewelry Expo (SIJE) 2016, a 4-day jewelry exhibition at Marina Bay Sands from 21st to 24th July 2016. The Luxury Network Singapore is the Luxury Partner for SIJE 2016, for which we will be creating a VIP luxury lifestyle showcase pavilion (for various sectors apart from jewelry and watches), within the Jewelry exhibition. This will be the first of its kind in Singapore.

To many, ‘luxury jewelry’ evokes the idea of big brands like Cartier, Bulgari, Tiffany and Co. or Van Cleef & Arpels. However, the definition of luxury varies from person to person, and is relative. According to an experienced jewelry exhibition organiser, these internationally known brands are chain stores mass-producing expensive jewelry, and as such their pieces might not be considered as unique and thus ‘true luxury’ (since many people might own the exact same piece). Boutique jewelers on the other hand (Caratell for example, the winner of the “Luxury Jewelry Brand of Singapore” at the Luxury Lifestyle Awards Asia 2015) often personally travel right to the source to acquire rare and unusual gemstones to incorporate into their personalised designs.

In my opinion, however, big well known luxury brands offer pieces made from top-notch materials and do offer unique pieces. And just like the two nominees for the Luxury Lifestyle Awards Asia 2015, most of these big brands also started out small with limited key designers. They were considered as boutique jewelers, designing bespoke and usually exclusive pieces that people loved and deeply appreciated.

Today, they are part of bigger international groups or backed by significant investors; hence they usually have large budgets to create luxury experiences and a strong luxurious impression. Which can explain why these brands are prominent in the marketplace and are the luxury norm to the masses. As an investor, you would of course require a return on investment (ROI) and for that reason would certainly agree to having luxury pieces that can easily be replicated and mass-produced in order to achieve economy of scale and maximise profits.

In my view, the Luxury Lifestyle Awards provide emerging luxury businesses with the opportunity to be recognised for their initiatives and outstanding achievements. Because the winner is selected through a rigorous process and is based on voting results by a panel of judges from the luxury sector, receiving an award reinforces the company’s position as a luxury leader.

Being nominated for such an award itself is commendable. But most of all, awards encourage the success of the brand in the future. I like to believe that one day these relatively unknown yet emerging luxury brands will be known, mentioned in conversations and will grow to become the established luxury brands of today.

To contact the writer of this article Ms. Irene Ho, CEO of The Luxury Network Singapore, please email her at irene@theluxurynetwork.sg

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