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HK celebrity jeweler Plukka heads Down Under to list

Why this jewelry e-retailer is venturing offline
Why this jewelry e-retailer is venturing offline

It's not often stock investors and Lady Gaga get mentioned in the same sentence but Hong Kong-based Plukka plans to bring the two together, with the jeweler of celebrities planning an October listing.

Plukka chief executive Joanne Ooi will hold meetings with potential investors in Sydney and Melbourne this week ahead of the company's debut on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), which will put a third of Plukka in public hands in order to raise 10 million Australian dollars. The float is fully underwritten by advisers KTM Capital.

Ooi told CNBC that listing Plukka would allow the company to "raise funds to increase network both online and offline, and it confers the good will and halo that comes with being a listed establishment brand."

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Launched in 2011 by Ooi, formerly creative director at high-end Hong Kong clothier Shanghai Tang, and Hong Kong restaurateur Jai Waney, Plukka offers stock from designers, as well as made-to-order pieces.

Plukka claims that by offering a made-to-order service, it is able to carry more daring, creative designs than traditional jewelers - the kind that appeal to celebrity customers including Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams and Miranda Kerr.

And as more luxury brands shifted to online expansion and look East rather than West for new customers, Plukka has done the opposite, remaining purely digital for its first three years and aiming for growth in the U.S., not China.

"[Expanding into the United States] is the most economically efficient mode of branding and marketing a global luxury brand," said Ooi.

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"Branding among fashion opinion leaders in the United States confers a level of credibility and authority, which is difficult to achieve by just marketing in the Asian market," she added.

Plukka, which carries independent designers including Bernard Delettrez and Sidney Chung, with pieces that range in price from $300 to a whopping $150,000, did succumb to a more traditional sales route last year, opening its first brick-and-mortar store in Landmark Atrium, an upmarket shopping mall in Hong Kong.

"There is no substitute for a woman to be able to see and touch fine jewelry in person," said Ooi."[We found that] offline transaction values are much higher than online purchases," she added.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported incorrectly that Plukka provided made-to-order jewelry using a system that allowed prices to be dictated by the number of buyers commissioning a piece.