Bringing The Bling Back With LUMINARY Jewellery

Bringing The Bling Back With LUMINARY Jewellery

Jewellery has played a significant role in hip-hop culture. By the early 1990s, hip-hop had become an industry of its own, and the genre was commercialised. As a result, jewellery became an integral part of the marketing strategy. 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jake from Luminary Jewellery, whose business has collaborated with rappers and achieved great success. I wanted to know more about the business's origins and current status, making this interview an essential informative piece for those interested in South African jewellery culture.

For the new hip-hop audience and HYPE magazine readers, can you tell us about Luminary Jewellery?

"Luminary is a jewellery brand that focuses on providing unique and high-quality pieces while maintaining accessibility and affordability, which is a very important aspect of the business. As Luminary Jewellery, we want our customers to be the best version of themselves. As a brand, we provide these individuals with jewellery pieces that make them feel like a boss. We have a wide variety of items, which range from rings and chains to pendants, earrings and bracelets. We also do custom pieces, including custom chains, rings, pendants and even grills. In short, we are a brand that loves the culture. We see ourselves as a lifestyle brand that embodies the values and aesthetics of hip-hop culture."

How did you discover the opportunity that led to your startup, and how did you decide between becoming an entrepreneur and working for someone else?

"It was based on our love for jewellery, specifically, our love for unique jewellery. In my personal capacity, I love jewellery so much that I don't leave the house without wearing a piece. In terms of design, what we offer at Luminary Jewellery isn't available anywhere else in the market. There aren't any brands that resonate with the hip-hop market like we do. Most of the jewellery stores that are out there are old-school stores that offer old-school pieces. In short, I would say that it all came down to our passion for jewellery. Regarding the second half of the question, I think that choosing to become an entrepreneur can be a transformative decision with numerous benefits. I believe that entrepreneurship offers one the freedom to make decisions and, most importantly, the ability to shape your own destiny."

Have any partnerships significantly improved the position of the brand?

"We have not dived into large-scale partnerships or collaborations as of yet, but this is something that we are planning on pursuing in 2024 and 2025. However, we have pursued a collaboration with Lucasraps for his Big Qosh range. The collaboration had a positive impact on our brand awareness by tapping into the Lucasraps fan base. The partnership carried a level of exclusivity because it was a limited edition collab of only 60 pieces. The limited distribution of the pieces is what contributed to the impact of collaboration that we did via Nasty C's Physical NFT Ivyson Army Dog Tag Necklaces (gold and silver tier). They were exclusive in the way that the pendants had a QR code on the back of them, which was specifically linked to the customer who purchased the pendant. This exclusivity provides the customer with access to many incentives and benefits based around and within Nasty C's Ivyson Army."

How significant is company culture, and how do you shape it?

"I believe that company culture is important because it impacts every aspect of the business. Leading by example is one of the core aspects of our organisation, alongside transparent communication. Our company culture also encompasses mutual respect and shared goals."

What has been the most challenging aspect of running the business?

"I would say the most difficult part of running it is staying relevant and consistently delivering a superb customer experience in an ever-changing landscape."

What have been some of the most significant learning experiences in running this business?

"I believe that there are several key experiences that have been significant in my business journey. Firstly, understanding and knowing who our customers are has been crucial in developing high-quality products, which can take time to achieve. Secondly, maintaining a timeline with clear goals and objectives has helped to ensure we stay on track. Finally. creating an impactful brand has been essential, and this requires both time and knowledge of effective marketing techniques. Overall, these experiences have been important and valuable lessons in running a successful business."

Can you tell us about your favourite piece of jewellery and why it's special to you?

"Two of my favourite pieces have to be the custom Championship Ring we created for one of our clients and a separate limited Big Qosh pendant for another customer. What makes them special to me is the meaning, symbolism and story behind their design."

How would you define success in the jewellery business?

"When it comes to defining success for the majority of businesses, it can vary depending on their objectives, market position and scale. In the jewellery sector, there are a few key factors or indicators that can define success. Firstly, customer satisfaction is of utmost importance since customers are the reason businesses exist. Secondly, brand recognition and reputation are crucial. The financial performance of the business is also a significant factor in indicating success. In today's context, innovation and adaptability are essential for the brand's success. Lastly, market expansion is a critical factor in achieving success."

Are South African rappers supportive of the business?

"Yes, I would say that South African rappers are supportive of the business. I've built some great relationships with a lot of the local hip-hop artists who have been long-term customers. They have and always will support the business."


Featured in Hype Magazine Issue #43