Richline Q&A


Jewellers’ Network had a lovely interview with the CEO and President Dave Meleski Richline Group and Johan Bezuidenhout MD Richline SA on the 24th of June about their experience with the Richline Group, as well as about the things they have learned from working there. This article is proudly presented to you by Richline SA.

By whom was the Richline Group founded, and how did it come about that you become part of the Berkshire Hathaway group of companies?

Richline Group was founded on July 3, 2007, by Dennis Ulrich and Dave Meleski when they sold their respective companies to Berkshire Hathaway. Dennis (Bel Oro) and Dave (Aurafin) were both CEOs of their respective companies and sold those businesses to Berkshire to form the larger, more diverse company Richline.

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Is Richline Group one of the largest jewellery companies in the world?

Richline Group, 15 years later, has grown both organically and also acquired 28 businesses to become a group of 12 businesses around the world. They are one of the largest volume manufacturers and distributors of precious metals materials and jewellery products in the world.

Is Richline Group diversified in its business operations or is it doing manufacturing only?

Richline markets its products to its customers in each of its segments.  Those products are, in some cases, manufactured by Richline-owned facilities, in some cases, manufactured through contract relationships, and in other cases, purchased from third parties.  In total, Richline manufactures approximately 60% of the products it sells.

What sets Richline apart from other jewellery manufacturers and/or jewellery business operations?

Richline’s businesses take a long-term view that is the one of its parent company, Berkshire Hathaway.  There is adequate capital available for growth, and we look to build the businesses for success over a longer-term without pressure in the short term.  

This strength allows us to present products and relationships that are stronger than our competition.

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How do you feel the jewellery manufacturing industry has changed in recent years?

Recent years have pressured the manufacturing sector due to capital constraints.  This has forced consolidation and opportunity for companies that are well-capitalised like Richline.

I know your factory in Johannesburg is a rather big jewellery manufacturing operation in South Africa, how does Richline contribute to job creation in South Africa?

We are committed to our business in South Africa for both local business and export business.  We continue to develop our strength in the type of production we do there, and as the market grows for those products, we can grow our job opportunities in that facility.

How do you see the jewellery manufacturing sector evolving in the next five years?

The manufacturing sector in the coming years will probably continue to consolidate and needs capital to continue to grow its abilities to produce products for the markets.  

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Do you have any insights on the developing trends emerging from Europe/America?

Jewellery trends definitely start in Europe and migrate their way to other parts of the world.  Gold continues to be a solid trend in North America.  

Some styling does translate to Africa, but price points (lower) generally have products to adapt the trends to fit the local market as they come from other parts of the world.

What are Richline South Africa’s charity or community initiatives?

Richline South Africa has proudly been involved in charity/community initiatives for the past number of years. The annual Blanket Drive is here to stay and will grow as the future allows us to do so. This is in line with our ethos as a company.