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18 April 2021

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čt, 11.10.2018

FABERGÉ’S REBIRTH

MARTIN LONGET, Business mir #16 - 2010-05 MAIL PRINT 
On September 9th, 2009 (9/9/9) the world famous house of Fabergé officially reopened after a 90-year hiatus. Now majority-owned by Pallinghurst Resources with family members on the board, the company has designed a revolutionary new business model including round-theclock online client service. Fabergé is aiming to reclaim its glorious past and international reputation for excellence. An interview with Fabergé CEO Mark Dunhill at his Geneva boutique.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your online flagship concept? How do you manage a round-the-clock staff of online Sales Consultants?
We set up a highly competent Sales team on staggered schedule time shifts. This allows us to offer a service to potential customers at any time and in many different languages, including English, Russian, German, French, Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and Cantonese. Our goal is to provide our customers with more comprehensive, flexible and convenient client service. Clients can view our products and be advised by sales consultants without having to make the trip to our boutique in Geneva.
Why did you choose Geneva as the location for Fabergé’s only flag-ship boutique?
When it came to choosing a location for our boutique, we had cities like Paris, Moscow, St-Petersburg or London in mind at first. However, Geneva quickly became the obvious choice for several reasons. Over the past few years Geneva has become an increasingly important destination for wealthy people from all over the world, who mainly come on business and stay on to take advantage of its extensive selection of high-end shopping. The city’s many famous watch-makers and jewellers have made it a real hub for the luxury market. Furthermore, Geneva Airport has more private planes landing on its runways than anywhere else in the world – a good indication of how much Geneva appeals to wealthy people in general. These factors led us to decide that Geneva was the best location for Fabergé to display its international ambitions.
Speaking of international ambitions; will you be focusing on Russian customers, given Fabergé’s history?
We hope that Russians will become a significant part of our clientele, but we aren’t particularly focusing on Russian customers. We design our products for discerning clients who want to acquire beautiful and unique pieces of jewellery that represent our values of authenticity and tradition, whatever the client’s nationality may be.
Aren’t you concerned about the financial crisis – its affect on business in general and the luxury business in particular? Isn’t it risky to launch the new house of Fabergé in the current economic climate?
Although the economic crisis has had a negative effect on the global luxury market, people are still interested in spending money on beautiful, high quality pieces. At this point in time, the economic situation has changed luxury customers’ attitudes towards purchasing high-end items – they have become more cautious and discriminating in selecting what they buy. Over the past few years, the luxury market has been invaded by newcomers who have proved to be lacking in traditional values and professionalism. Although they initially benefited from the economic boom and flooded the market with industrialised products, they were the first to suffer from the current financial crisis. This is due to the fact that customers prefer investing in high-value added products rather than in what may be less expensive, but more industrialised brands. As Fabergé is known for its uniqueness, authentic craftsmanship and personalised customer service, we consider ourselves to be an antidote to the luxury market’s recent industrialisation. Therefore we remain very confident in the viability and profitability of our vision.
What kind of jewellery will you be selling? Will you be producing any of Fabergé’s famous objects, such as Easter Eggs?
Our goal is to embody the essence and spirit of Fabergé in each of our products. We don’t aim to copy the past, but rather be inspired by it. The only criteria here are to produce nothing but extraordinary and unique pieces which precisely meet the customer’s requirements, while giving our designers enough freedom to follow their artistic inspiration. Clients come to Fabergé because they trust us and are confident in our designers’ ability to fulfil their dreams – and we are certain that they won’t be disappointed in our products.
Do you have any Russian jewelry designers on your team?
Nationality is not essential to us, as long as we find the best and most gifted talent available. We don’t have any Russian designers on board at this point, but we certainly wouldn’t mind hiring talented Russian designers. We would definitely appreciate working with a designer whose Russian perspective would be to our advantage.
What about Fabergé’s price range? Do you plan on exclusively producing expensive products, or will you also be manufacturing more affordably priced items?
Fabergé pieces were relatively affordable in Peter Carl Fabergé’s time and they will remain so. As far as we’re concerned, quality is more important than cost and we have restricted ourselves to making nothing less than extraordinary pieces of jewellery. As a result, the minimum price for acquiring a Fabergé piece is about 28,000 Euros.
Are you planning to open more boutiques?
It’s not a priority right now. Between our Geneva boutique and the online flagship concept, we already have a platform suited to our clients’ needs. But as the business grows, we may consider that option in the future.
How do you cooperate with Fabergé’s family members?
It was very important to us that we have Fabergé family members on board; Tatiana and Sarah Fabergé, who are the great granddaughters of Peter Carl Fabergé, for example. They are active team players, participating mainly in their capacity as founding members of the Heritage Council, which focuses on protecting the authenticity of our brand. Their opinion really matters to us, as they are extremely competent and have a precise vision of how to remain faithful to Fabergé’s values.
Was it difficult to form a competent team?
Frankly it wasn’t, for the simple reason that being part of Fabergé’s rebirth is in itself a really exciting opportunity. Passion is the key to our motivation, and we were looking for people who shared the same excitement and were ready to personify it by joining this unique project. We had no difficulty in hiring extremely motivated and talented people, some of whom came from famous luxury houses like Cartier or de Beer’s.
How’s business been? Did your sales figures live up to your expectations?
We were met with a huge interest in the project from the very beginning and are now transforming this enthusiasm into a real business. Considering the difficult economic climate as well as the fact that we are newcomers to the market, we are happy with our current sales figures and remain very confident in further expanding Fabergé’s activities.
. REFERENCE:
After Russia's 1917 Revolution, Fabergé ceased operating and its founder, Pierre Carl Fabergé, immigrated to Europe and died in Lausanne in 1910. In the 1930s, American Samuel Rubin began manufacturing perfume using the Fabergé name. In the 1950s, following a series of long legal disputes, Pierre Carl Fabergé's children ended up ceding the rights to the Fabergé name for just $25,000. In 1964, Rubin sold his rights to the Unilever cosmetic group. The brand has belonged to the Pallinghurst Resources investment group since 2007, which brought the Fabergé brand back to jewellery manufacturing.
MARTIN LONGET, Business mir #16 - 2010-05  MAIL PRINT 
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Ежедневные новости и аналитика из Швейцарии и Европы, политика, экономика, интервью

Daily news and analytics from Switzerland and Europe, policy, economy, interview