How the Lim siblings grew SK Jewellery into a successful brand

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SK Jewellery has grown to become a household name in Singapore since its inception 31 years ago. 

Formerly known as Soo Kee Jewellery, the jewellery stalwart’s origins can be traced back to a humble sundry goods shop at Joo Chiat called Soo Kee, that was previously run by Lim Poon Soo.

He had grand ambitions to helm his own goldsmith shop because he believed that the jewellery line was the best line to be in, since its inventory never loses value. Sadly, he never got to achieve his dream as he passed away at the young age of 50.

However, his passing became the catalyst for the founding of SK Jewellery, as his three children — Mary, Peter and Daniel Lim — sought to fulfil their father’s dream in his stead.

Over the past three decades, SK Jewellery has greatly evolved — from offering yellow gold jewellery in the 1990s, to creating lab-grown diamonds and unique collections with well-known designers and brands, such as Walt Disney, in recent years. 

Soo Kee Jewellery 1990s
Soo Kee Jewellery staff assisting customers in the 1990s / Image credit: SK Jewellery

“Our core belief is that a good piece of jewellery should not only enhance one’s appearance, but also bring joy as they’re often offered as a precious gift to celebrate an important moment in life,” said Daniel, co-founder of SK Jewellery. 

“We differentiate ourselves from our competitors by ensuring that all of our jewellery pieces are uniquely designed and meaningfully crafted. We only use the best materials available, and employ only best-in-class production techniques. For example, our gold comes from pure gold bars found in established refineries, rather than recycled gold. We don’t scrimp on quality to save cost.”

Pivoting to e-commerce during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected many businesses, and SK Jewellery was no exception. Like most other retail brands, the lockdowns forced SK Jewellery to temporarily shut its physical stores and pivot to digital channels instead.

Additionally, with consumer demand for cashless payment methods on the rise, the company decided to integrate digital payment options into their checkout process.

“Customers were expressing their interest in purchasing using GrabPay, which allowed them to accumulate GrabRewards points for the redemption of other rewards,” explained Daniel. 

He added that when “Buy Now, Pay Later” emerged as a new payment trend in 2020, SK Jewellery saw an opportunity to capture more market share and decided to offer PayLater by Grab as an online checkout option. This provided their customers with greater choice and flexibility by allowing them to pay at the end of the month or via four interest-free instalments.

The total number of customers availing of PayLater instalments rose by 67 per cent from January to April this year, with almost 40 per cent of customers who have opted to use Grab’s buy now, pay later service being men.

PayLater by Grab
PayLater by Grab / Image Credit: Grab Singapore

SK Jewellery’s partnership with the homegrown superapp does not end there. It also incorporated GrabExpress as a delivery option, with insurance automatically included for items to be delivered and handled by a well-trained delivery fleet. 

“We recognise that, ultimately, our customers’ needs are ever evolving,” said Daniel. “Grab helped us remain agile and provide our customers with a smoother and more seamless shopping experience, from checkout right through to delivery.”

SK Jewellery also introduced several innovative online-to-offline initiatives, such as video consultations to enable store staff to reach out to customers, as well as hosted regular livestream events to introduce new jewellery collections. 

“The pandemic has taught us that we operate in a rapidly changing business environment. Therefore, it’s important to be nimble and have the courage to embrace change, as this allows you to remain relevant to your customers.”

Looking to the future

Since social distancing measures and travel restrictions were relaxed earlier this year, SK Jewellery has seen its sales bounce back to pre-pandemic levels. Restrictions over the last two years also meant that customers now had more disposable income to spend on luxury goods, noted Daniel.

“Coupled with our focus on our new collection of lab-grown diamonds, Star Carat Diamonds, and Disney products, customers had a reason to shop and spend with us. In particular, lab-grown diamonds enabled customers to purchase a much bigger carat weight with the same amount of money.”

Moving forward, SK Jewellery plans to continue improving its product offerings and enhance its communication channels with customers. In line with this goal, it is seeking to continue working with partners like Grab to reach a wider audience, both within and beyond Singapore.

“Being authentic and trustworthy have helped us create a brand that is recognised for its high quality products. We also believe in being innovative, identifying opportunities to better serve our customers.”

“We will continue to stay true to our company’s mission, which is to add sparkles to the lives of those around us, and it is through our partnership with companies like Grab that we are able to do so more effectively and retain our competitive edge,” summed up Daniel.

This article was written in collaboration with Grab.

Featured Image Credit: SK Jewellery





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