King of Diamonds
    Category: Luxury Business By : Ardian Wibisono & Cassia Tandiono Read : 2028 Date : Wednesday, July 01, 2017 - 09:29:40

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but for Stefanus Lo, they are a source of success. Under PT Central Mega Kencana, over the past two decades Stefanus has successfully developed his retail jewelry business under the brands Frank & Co., Mondial, Miss Mondial and The Palace. To date, his retail group has 53 stores nationwide. His company is now the country’s largest retail group for jewelry—and which claims to be the largest in Southeast Asia. However, he still sees plenty of room for growth, aiming to open 15 to 20 new stores each year and planning an IPO within a few years to grow the business further.

    The company’s roots go back to a Central Mas, a small jewelry shop in Pasar Senen, the oldest market in Jakarta, founded by Stefanus’ father in 1967. Stefanus joined the business after he got his BA in civil engineering in 1990, as he felt the family business offered more opportunity than civil engineering. At first, Stefanus did a strictly wholesale business, selling jewelry to retail stores, and exporting it to Middle East and East Asia retailers. In his spare time, he took courses to learn more about the jewelry business.

    Then he made the fateful decision to go into retail. Why? “Most of the jewelry stores in Indonesia are still mom and pop stores. If you go to a shop, you will likely buy from the owner. In developed countries, jewelry sellers are modern chain stores. Therefore, we are the first modern chain store for jewelry in Indonesia. We saw the opportunity, and got a warm welcome from the market. People used to buy groceries in mom and pop stores but now they buy from minimarts and supermarkets. The trend is the same, and we saw a significant growth in the 2000s,” Stefanus says.

    Stefanus founded Central Mega Kencana in 1995, and opened his first retail store Frank & Co. a year later in the Pondok Indah Mall. While Frank & Co. appears to be an international brand, Stefanus created the name along with other brands like Miss Mondial and the Palace. When the Asian financial crisis hit in 1997, Stefanus’s export business rapidly declined but his retail business flourished.

    The second brand, The Palace, was created in 2001, and in 2004 Stefanus decided to acquire Mondial, an established Singapore brand, as a stepping-stone to expand the business abroad. Now, however, Stefanus doesn’t have any stores abroad—he closed those owned by Mondial in Singapore—but he plans to reopen overseas in a couple years with a new concept. As his retail business grew, the export and wholesales sides of the business declined. Today, 60% of the company’s sales are in retail, and the rest in wholesale, only to the domestic market. 

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