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Thursday, 28 May 2020

THE TALK: Re-starting from the Customer

THE TALK: Re-starting from the Customer

From where and how are you re-starting business activities?
At this time, it is important to say a few initial remarks. In the adversity of this lockdown, we have all been able to reflect on what we have done up to now and, especially, on what we will do. We have scoured all our past ‘flaws’, reviewed what did not work. And, let’s say that, in the negativity of this moment, there is also a positive part to salvage. Going back to the factory, for example, was wonderful because, during the lockdown, we realized how much we like to get up in the morning and go into work. We practice a beautiful profession but I, like all the guys in the factory and offices, have only now rediscovered it. We are enjoying consolidating our relations and are more united than ever in facing the current challenge. It is impossible to retrieve these two months but, that’s OK. The main thing is that we are alive because it was such an exceptional event, totally out of our hands, that we cannot think of business.

So, your re-start will mainly be linked to relations. In the company and in the sales point. How do you foresee the retail scenario?
On the retail level, all our stores, our customers, have re-opened and all of them are raring to go. I’m not exactly sure where we will re-start from. There will certainly be a surge forward with the desire to put what happened behind us. We are starting from our relations with the store because, while it is true that jewelry is pure emotion, we also know that transmitting an emotion through a photograph is not easy. The item must be physically held, we cannot forget that the business aspect needs physical contact.

Will you be taking another look at how to meet your customers, then?
For the moment we need to sail unchartered waters and, on the basis of the customers and their needs, we will define how to meet, modalities which will be tailor-made, cut to measure. We will adopt the same model for everyone while applying it to the various markets. The main thing is to make it possible to meet. We already have ideas on how to do it.

You have three flagship stores in Italy in Venice, Roma and Taormina, not to mention numerous retail points, both in Italy and abroad. How are they reacting?
In Italy, which has just re-opened, our customers are happy because sales took off immediately, especially for jewelry linked to occasions. Our country is responding well and the customers are reacting extremely positively. To be specific, of our three flagship stores, the situation in Venice is quite nasty if the bars and hotels don’t re-open. Let me give you an example. The Florian, which is next to us, might open in September. An enormous damage if you think of the important role these historical places play in cultivating relations with a customer. Rome is going a bit better because we also work with local customers, while Taormina is at a total standstill. On the foreign front, the difficulties are greater because the epidemic is still ongoing, while in the Middle East, Ramadan just finished...

So, Italy appears to be ahead at the moment...
We are responding well. Italian jewelry must always be itself and continue to demonstrate and promote its own identity, highlighting its creative character.

A digression regarding the territory. How much does it help you to be an integral part of a district, like Valenza, which, now more than ever, functions on a concept of system, even by acting as a pioneer with the Valenza model for the safety protocol?
The fact of belonging to the district is essential because I can find everything here, from the goldsmith to the designer.
We are part of the Fondazione Mani Intelligenti, which is managed, above all, by second generations, all people under the age of 40, with a much fresher vision and approach than us. The fundamental difference between us is constant and continuous dialogue, something that we did not have. They grew up together and this has laid the foundations for consolidated relations which will be extremely helpful for the industry.

What is the post-covid jewel?
We are re-starting from our flagship collection, in other words, a renewed classic. A time like this, where we were all stuck at home with our families, evoked the desire to enhance our more classic jewelry, like engagement rings, jewelry that has its own value, both from a financial and emotional point of view.

Interview by Federica Frosini, Editor in Chief VO+
Interview by Lorenza Scalisi, Senior Editor VO+
Interview by Antonella Reina, Editor VO+

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