In 2020, A year of hardship, struggle and survival has passed for the entire world. It brought us not just an unprecedented health crisis we haven’t witnessed for over a century. It also brought harsh economic stagnation, which threw many businesses into a survival mode. French Polynesia was hit especially hard after all travel restrictions.
The French Polynesia economy depends a lot on tourism and with the current world outbreak, it was surely unexpected.
CMW Pearls are well aware of their struggles, and in the past 12 months, ever since the first wave of the Covid-19 ravished the world, we had one mission, one goal and one purpose — How to maintain the Tahitian Pearl Market in Asia and minimize the impact. We did our best trying to preserved a lot of small businesses by working together so we could all go through the year 2020.
Do not forget that Tahitian pearls accumulate about 55% of the total export of French Polynesia, which makes it one of the most significant contributors to their GDP (second only to tourism). In the past few years, Tahitian pearl’s importance and popularity gradually rise. In the past decade, the “black” pearl made its way to haute couture, and many celebrities were noticed wearing jewelry with incrusted Tahitian pearls. This being said, to claim that the pearl market is crucial for French Polynesia is a huge statement.
In the past 30 years since we deal with Tahitian pearls, we managed to build many prominent partnerships, relations and even friendships with many pearl farmer, wholesaler and retailers. We were not ready to let them simply perish because of restrictions and travel bans. Hundreds of families were on the line. Moreover, at-risk was the whole Tahitian pearl market.
Interesting thing about this market is that it’s much like a house of cards. If you take off the top (the end customers), the house will look incomplete, and it won’t be much to look at. Nevertheless, sooner or later, you will find new buyers, and the top layer will once again be completed without much of a hustle. However, if you tear up the basis of the house of cards, the whole structure will fall, and you will have to rebuild from scratch. These hundreds of small family enterprises that cultivate Tahitian pearls and supply the market are this basic layer. Losing them would have had serious impact on = Tahitian pearl supply.
The main problem was the travel restriction many countries initiated to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. This made the B2B deals with Tahitian pearls mighty difficult since many businesses need to be on sight to check the pearls and, due to the restrictions, were unable to purchase merchandise correctly. This made direct trade from Tahiti practically difficult.
To overcome this crisis, CMW Pearls was working along Tahitian pearl farmers where we could help them with distribution.
We know the risks these suppliers are taking, and we are entirely grateful to them for the trust they bestow on us. Our long-term partnership with many of them have allowed us to gain their confidence and help each other.
In the hopes that 2021 will be better, we CMW Pearls wishes you a Happy New Year, which should be just like the Tahitian Pearl — enigmatic, full of mysteries, but at the same time elegant, beautiful and undoubtedly memorable.