A recipe for success
Since opening their second location in the heart of downtown Toronto over a year ago, Mani Jewellers has perfected the art of servicing the financial district.
Toronto-born and bred brothers Mark and Sean Mani recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of their second jewellery store, but they have been in the jewellery business since 1995.
“Our thing is downtown,” says Mark Mani. “As much as we are in the jewellery business, we’re in the business of servicing the financial district. Ever since we got into the business that’s what we’ve done, and that’s what we know best.”
Mani Jewellers opened its second set of doors on November 15, 2012 in the prestigious Richmond-Adelaide Centre at 120 Adelaide Street West. They have since found success by adapting to their unique environment and perfecting the service they offer to a very specific client base.
“This area is completely unlike any other shopping model,” explains Mark. “Our client base is more fixed and relationship-based than any other place. Over here, we see our regulars, a lot of them daily and some weekly. Not because they are necessarily shopping but because they have to be here.
So we have a lot of our customers who buy once a week, or buy once a month but come in ten times a month. They are more than just customers at that point, so it’s really a very unique place down here.”
A rich history
Today, Mark runs the new store while his brother is largely responsible for the other shop located on Bay Street. But it was their father, Ron Mani, who is originally from India, who chose to enter the jewellery business in the mid-90s and who is still active in the company to this day.
“My father bought an existing jewellery store in 1995, by the name of the Gem Shoppe,” says Mark. “It was in the Toronto Dominion Centre. And then we bought a place called Shangri-La Jewellery in the Royal Bank Plaza in the year 2000. In 2001, we consolidated both stores into one. We found that it made sense for us because of the geographic proximity. We focused on client retention, bringing over whatever business we have in the TD Centre over to the Royal Bank Plaza.”
By 2001, the Mani family had closed the Gem Shoppe. Following several years later in 2005, they shut down Shangri-La Jewellery, renovated it and reopened as Mani Jewellers.
“It was a reinvention into Mani Jewellers,” explains Mark. “With new
product lines, slightly more focus on branding, a new image, and a new concept.”
Today, Ron Mani is still found in the stores because the years have allowed him to establish a solid reputation with the clientele in the huge downtown core.
“My father has been dealing with people down here since ’95,” says Mark. “Some people are extremely loyal to him and he’s the best sales guy. He’s very friendly, so he’s very loved down here. We tell him that he can never retire.”
The right image
The success of the brothers’ first store motivated them to open up a second location.
“It gave us a push to expansion,” says Mark. “The idea came around in 2010 where it went into the plans basically and in 2012 we expanded into the Adelaide Street location.”
What came next was implementing the perfect branding strategy in order to spell success for the jewellers in the long run. This meant bringing over the well-performing brands from the old store locations into Mani Jewellers, as well as introducing new names.
A perfect example of this is the Adelaide Street locations’ partnership with Pandora. The shop-in-shop is owned and operated by Mani Jewellers and serves as the anchor brand at that particular store. Aside from Pandora, the shop is generally broken into thirds, meaning the other two thirds are watches and jewellery. The store also carries Canadian diamonds.
“Our main focus is still in fine jewellery,” adds Mark. “The backbone of our business is fine jewellery.”
Having the right merchandise recipe is integral when it comes to servicing the financial district. Mani Jewellers’ clientele cover the middle class bracket, which includes men and women that are successfully employed and generally know what they want.
“Keeping the store attractive is the most important thing to us,” says Mark. “It’s all about first impressions; showing our product in the windows, presentation, and approachability. And I encourage my staff to stand on
the outside of the counter and not on the inside.”
Mark adds that he sees a lot of new customers shy away from the store’s counters, which is why it’s imperative for him to make the store as welcoming as possible. It’s also the little things, like giving people directions, that make them stay or come back in on another occasion.
“We have developed a lot of relationships by giving directions to people,” says Mark. “When people come in and we go out of our way to give them proper directions, they remember us and they come back. That goes back to the whole idea of service. Anybody will tell you when you ask them what differentiates them from any other jeweller, it’s the service, of course. But that’s pretty generic. For us, being able to cater to someone who is spending $10 to somebody who is spending $80,000 is a big advantage. Getting someone in for $10 is easy and then you build towards a bigger goal.”
For Mani Jewellers, retaining customers in the store is not a huge issue; it’s competing with all of the countless options available today that becomes the real challenge.
“The jewellery industry is very much like the medical field,” explains Mark. “You have a doctor you see and you go to the same doctor your entire life or for a very long time, until you move and it becomes convenient to see another doctor. Our entire business is built on not giving people a reason to walk into another jewellery store.”
While Mani Jewellers relies on its brands for much of its overall success, being a full service jewellery store is also about completing custom orders and going above and beyond when it comes to customers’ needs – that’s where the real secret lies in Mani Jewellers’ recipe for success. CJ
At a glance
NAME: Mani Jewellers
OWNERS: Mark and Sean Mani
LOCATIONS: 120 Adelaide St. West and 200 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario
STORE SIZE: 1,150 and 800 square feet
KNOWN FOR: Servicing the financial district
BRANDS: Pandora, Swarovski, Tacori, etc.
COOL FACTOR: A stunning, custom-made chandelier in the centre of the Adelaide Street location.
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