Matara Studio specialise in selling pearls to the international market and BLM met with their co-founder and CEO, Jongjin Jungsura, about their rapid expansion.
In recent years, there has been a significant rise in buying authentic pearls within the fashion industry and with Jungsura’s native Thailand providing a quality selection, she capitalised on the gap in the market.
Jungsura’s frustration with the availability of cultured pearls that were just limited to old-fashioned stores and not modern stores led to their growth.
How and where did you start your business?
We started our business by selling pearls through Instagram. In the first year we joined 28 pop up stores in flea markets in different shopping and community malls in Bangkok, Thailand.
How did you start selling through Instagram?
In June 2014, we created our Matara Studio Instagram account as it was the most popular application in Thailand at that time. Selling goods and promoting shops via Instagram was one of the most effective channels at that moment, as it is now.
Thai people love to explore on Instagram and follow many friends, friends of friends and celebrities! So Instagram is the most effective channel for offering the most update news of what we do and where we are.
When they are interested in our products, they will contact us by sending us a message and photo to another application called LINE or WhatsApp. We did not have to invest in terms of money, so much on this channel.
How did you expand away from this?
I think we came to the right timing of ‘Photo Era’. Everyone loves to explore on Instagram and see lifestyle photos. To add, the pearl fashion trend has risen in the last three years. When we try to sell real pearls with modern designs, it will be easy for us to introduce and expand our brand awareness into the market. Also, I believe that we are the first international pearl brand in Thailand that offers young, fun images of wearing real pearls.
Did you company see a gap in the market?
Yes, definitely! Buying authentic pearls in the past wasn’t easy. The traditional shops that did sell authentic pearls were often unfriendly to people in their twenties. The pearl jewellery shops always targeted the elder people like my mother or grandmothers’ generation.
In the meantime, the fashion and costume jewellery offered very nice fake pearl jewellery. So, we wondered why not create a brand in the middle to fill the gap in the market.
Matara was therefore created to offer authentic cultured pearls with a high fashion and modern look of jewellery to make pearls more wearable for younger generations.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start their business through selling on Instagram?
Just be clear of what your product offer is and to be clear of your target. And you will present it to the right audience. Authenticity of photos, video is also important. And in the online business, fast response is the key.
What advice would you give to Thai companies looking to move into the UK, European and US markets?
Adapting into each market. Each international market offers a different opportunity for us. Try to learn from every partner and develop your brand everyday
What’s next for Matara?
Keep going! We joined LA Fashion Week this October with Patinya Privé. So we will be Jewellery brand in the high fashion industry. We will present the world with what we love about pearls. Stay tuned!