Growing together: manufacturing strategies

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With bold ambitions and a clear vision, TWM Consolidated was looking for a new lender as it continued to grow its jewellery manufacturing business and branch out into the retail sector.

A well-established jewellery manufacturer with roots in Istanbul, Turkey, TWM Consolidated has been manufacturing bespoke jewellery in Australia since the 1990s.

Roberto Ulas, COO has been creating jewellery pieces since he was eight years old. He first learnt the craft from his father, Sarkis Ulas, in Turkey and started working full-time for the business at 15. Roberto and family have been growing the business and now proudly operate one of the largest jewellery design and manufacturing businesses in Australia.

With a wealth of experience and expertise, Roberto has witnessed the industry develop and change dramatically over the last twenty years. From humble beginnings, working with his brother Rudi Ingilli, using simple machinery in his father’s backyard to running his current 1,000 square metre manufacturing plant in Mulgrave, Roberto knows the industry inside and out.

Having supplied Australia’s leading jewellery retailers and wholesalers – from high-end boutiques on Collins Street to high street chain stores; the Ulas and Ingilli family always wanted to connect with their customer directly and establish their own route to market. “After all, we are in the business of love and relationships,” said Maria Ulas, CEO of Artelia, a second-generation jewellery house and retail arm of TWM Consolidated. “We want to have that connection directly with our customers.”

Getting off the ground

Roberto was always tied up with the core aspect of the business; manufacturing jewellery for Australia-wide stores and Rudi with the accounts and financial aspect. It was when Maria came in as the retail visionary that the retail arm of the business became a reality. TWM Consolidated needed an understanding lender who could advise them through this period of growth and development.

“We’ve always toyed with the idea of having our own standalone shops. So, we decided to clean up our whole process, refinance and have a look at what products would be available as we made the move into retail,” said Roberto. “At this stage Rudi approached Bank of Melbourne through a mutual friend and they ticked all of the boxes.”

For TWM Consolidated, the point of difference with Bank of Melbourne was that they personalised the whole experience. “They have a genuine interest in who we are, what we do and how they can help us. We’ve never experienced that with a bank before,” said Roberto.

TWM found that with previous lenders they didn’t want to rock the boat. “Other banks didn’t want to be part of a growing business. But with Bank of Melbourne they understand our vision and want to help us grow.”

More than a slogan

TWM Consolidated recognised there was a gap in the market for a jeweller who could really personalise the experience for the customer and made this a core aspect of Artelia. As this was such a core principle for them, they were aware that they weren’t getting the same treatment from their bank.

“It’s an important factor in any business relationship that you feel valued,” said Roberto. “It’s 100 per cent the relationship aspect that gives Bank of Melbourne the edge. They are not just looking at the numbers, they understand our whole vision.”

Bank of Melbourne doesn’t just ask: “How much do you want?” They get involved in the decisions and can offer expert advice on where to invest, who and what to invest in. TWM Consolidated has been manufacturing jewellery since 1966 and has always been a family business.

It was a priority for Roberto and family that they worked with a bank who understood the unique demands and challenges of a family run business.

“You hear those slogans and pledges from the banks all the time, but with Bank of Melbourne they really meant it,” said Roberto. “That was fundamental for us.”

Investing in the future

Roberto has a clear vision of where he wants to take the business; this includes a plan to open up two more retail stores in the next twelve months, while still growing the core manufacturing aspect of the business.

TWM Consolidated has found that by working with Bank of Melbourne, it is always one step ahead. “It’s funny because usually with the banks they are one step behind, but with Bank of Melbourne they are very much ready when we are. That is really refreshing for us,” said Roberto.

For Roberto and family, working with Bank of Melbourne has been a breath of fresh air during a crucial period of growth. “I’ve been dealing with banks in one form or another since I was a teenager, and even though our business is now at its largest and most complex, I can honestly say this is the best bank relationship we’ve ever had.”

To find out more about TWM Consolidated or Artelia Jewellers, visit http://twmco.com.au/ or https://www.artelia.com.au/.

If you’d like to see how Bank of Melbourne could help your business, visit https://www.bankofmelbourne.com.au/corporate-business/industry-specialists/manufacturers.