In town for the opening of their new store in Paragon, Alexis Nasard, CEO of Swarovski, shares how the 130-year-old brand continues to delight.
Swarovski has a history that spans over a century, and it is still very much at the forefront of innovation today. What is the secret?
Swarovski offers the consumer joyful extravagance. That comes about as a result of many things but the most important thing is execution and finish of our products. To borrow a term from the watch industry, some of the higher end products that we create are like beautiful complications; they have that kind of sophistication. At the very heart of that is our savoir-faire and Austrian craftsmanship. With full control of our supply chain, we are fully vertically integrated as a company. Ultimately, this control allows us to come up with beautiful complications that inspire joyful extravagance in consumers.
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How does Swarovski continue to stay relevant?
Creativity and innovation have always been an essential part of the brand’s DNA. Every year we launch four or five new collections that are built upon a series of inspirations, one of which is from our creative director, Giovanna Engelbert. Sometimes, we look at trends in the marketplace, even though we like to think of ourselves as a creator of trends, rather than one who utilises them. Another source of inspiration comes from our customers, whom we interact very closely with through our unique retail experiences, like our new store at Paragon. The Paragon store features a new concept that revolves around the octagon. The octagon is a rather feminine shape—it isn’t overtly angular, and yet it still has some structure to it. It is like a combination of science and femininity, which to me, is what Swarovski is all about. Because at the heart of the beautiful creations you see in the stores, is some very serious engineering work, and I feel the octagon embodies that. We have also set up our boutique in a way that resembles a candy store. Products are displayed in an inviting and serendipitous manner, and shopping in our new boutique is like going on a treasure hunt.
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At Swarovski, you create your own products, but as a supplier, you also inspire designers to create. How do you build upon and maximise a unique brand characteristic like this?
We love collaborations because for us, it is participating in the creation of beauty. Creativity is a philosophical conviction, beauty is culture, and culture is progress. And we are most happy to play a part in the creation of beautiful products that inspire consumers. We learn through our collaborations. When we work with brands like Aquazzura, Supreme and Golden Goose, who are beautiful brands with expertise in their own fields, we nurture and learn from one another.
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