Bijoux gets $100-m upgrade

Executive editor — publications

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

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In conjunction with its brand partners, Bijoux's flagship store in New Kingston has undergone a $100-million upgrade in what Chief Executive Officer Anup Chandiram says is a proactive move to further establish the high-end watch, jewellery and fragrance dealership in preparation for an expected tourism boom in the capital city.

“Kingston is becoming a place for people who want to have an authentic Jamaican experience, sample our culture, food, music and meet our people... you see them going to the Bob Marley Museum, you see them at the National Gallery, they're downtown looking at street art, at the waterfront, so Kingston is an exciting place for the future and we are investing ahead of the time... we are staying ahead of what we consider will be a significant growth of visitors in Kingston,” Chandiram told the Jamaica Observer on Monday.

Pointing to the expansion in the accommodation sector in Kingston over the past year, with new hotels being refurbished and some still under construction, as well as the growth in Airbnb rentals, Chandiram also said that the company is looking for further opportunities to expand.

“We have five outlets — Kingston, the flagship and head office; Island Village, Ocho Rios; the Historic Port of Falmouth; the Shoppes at RoseHall; and one at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. So we're looking for other areas of opportunity, maybe in the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, and Negril, when the numbers justify it,” he said.

Jamaica Tourist Board data show that the number of room nights sold in Kingston and St Andrew increased by 5.5 per cent, moving from 263,161 in 2016 to 277,749 in 2017.

The renovation of the Kingston store took approximately three months and it is now open for business. The store is now larger — 3,500 square feet — compared to 2,500 square feet before the expansion, Chandiram explained, pointing out that they removed dry wall and storage space to achieve the new, spacious look and feel.

In addition to the renovation, the investment included the acquisition of brand-specific furniture, client management software, improved administration services, a special private clients' room for those seeking anonymity, and enhanced security measures featuring an entrance double door with a bullet-proof chamber.

“When you walk in, one door has to close before the other opens and there's no override system. It's all bullet-proof glass, and that's there to provide security for our employees and clients and to deter anybody who has ill intentions,” Chandiram told the Business Observer.

The new-look store, he said, was designed by Artco, the Miami-based store planners, designers, and manufacturers of custom millwork and store fixtures.

“Many of the brands that you see here have their own particular furniture design and we have to import the furniture,” Chandiram said. “You will see here brands such as Rolex, Tag Heuer, Breitling, Hublot, Omega, Roberto Coin, John Hardy, Mikimoto, Michele Watches, Raymond Weil, Movado, Michael Kors, Fossil, Skagen, Pandora and several fragrance lines, each of which have their own particular branded furniture requirements.”

The store, he added, is now specialising in bridal jewellery, diamonds of all sizes, shapes, colours, and price points.

Chandiram's aunt, Jeannie, pointed to a new jewellery line, Djula, which she said is now trendy among young people and has a “very feminine look”.

Asked whether Bijoux will be seeking to offer new fragrance lines, she said: “Oh, without a doubt. There are a couple of big lines that we're going after.

“As you can see, we've expanded the whole fragrance section and we're planning to expand even more. We've already set aside space for growth,” she added.

“What we've done is we've created the environment to go out and seek new brands,” Chandiram explained. “So we have made space for future expansion.”

Included in that space is the store's new 'Selfie Wall' or 'Flowers Wall' at the left of the entrance door which, before the renovation, housed a fragrance counter. Now, it is decorated with Christmas plants and greetings. Clients, Chandiram said, are being encouraged to take selfies there and post to their social media accounts. The hashtags #mybijoux and #MerryEverything are placed prominently on the wall to encourage customers to take images.

“We do expect that starting next year we will get new brands and fill out that space,” Chandiram said.

He also said they plan to change their parking system, offering a valet service. That, though, will likely come in the new year.

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