INNOVATION DRIVES FASHION FORWARD

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE CEO OF ITALIAN JEWELRY GROUP DAMIANI THAT WON 18 DIAMONDS INTERNATIONAL AWARDS

August 2,2019

Damiani Group is the only jewelry company in the world that has won 18 International Diamond Awards (the Oscars Awards of jewelry industry). Damiani Group was listed on the Stock Exchange of Milan in 2007 and completed privatization and delisting in the spring of 2019. At present, Damiani's third-generation successor is deeply involved in the management of the company. With its pure Italian heritage, strong family symbols and passion for jewellery design, it is one of the rare luxury groups run by its founding family today. However, for the China market, Damiani is still a new entrant

As Damiani turns 95 years old, Jerome Favier, CEO of Damiani group, shared the story behind the family-owned jewelry company and its internationalization development strategy with Luxe.co.

Image above: Jerome Favier, CEO of Damiani group

The rapid development of family businesses

"Inheritance, craftsmanship, enthusiasm and elegant" are the words Mr Jerome Favier used the most. He pointed out that Damiani group has a unique position in the industry: The brand was founded in Italy nearly a century ago and has been managed by the founding family since. Now in its third generation, the family is still closely involved in day-to-day management, including visiting jewelry workshops -- this is extremely rare in today's fashion industry. The close involvement of the family makes Damiani's product design inherit many strong family heritage marks.

Currently, Damiani has three stores in mainland China, located in SKP Beijing, Guomao, Beijing and Plaza 66 Shanghai.

Mr Favier said: "Damiani is growing rapidly and China is our key market. I came to China because of my ambition for this market.  Damiani is still a newcomer in China and has not been fully developed. In the future, we will have a broader footprint in the China market."

Statistically, more than half of the fine jewelry consumption in China is related to marriage. Speaking about China's huge potential of wedding jewellery market, Mr Favier said Damiani has a lot of room to explore: "In Italy, customers even expect members of the Damiani family to present wedding rings and take photos of themselves, so the product itself carries the family's enthusiasm and sincerity, and conveys the meaning of happiness for marriage. We also hope to bring this wonderful experience to China."

This summer, Damiani will launch an intense marketing campaign for wedding jewelry, with a broader range of products. Favier stressed that getting married was a major life change and hoped Damiani's timeless and loyal brand philosophy would be the start of a new chapter in the couple's lives.

When it comes to digital marketing and crossover, Mr Favier points out that it is impossible to use anything but the best to market our brand. By teaming up with the Apple Watch, Damiani is now embracing technology. Damiani is the only high-end jewelry brand to create accessories for Apple Watch. Two types of diamond-encrusted watch cases are available in gold, rose gold, platinum and black gold.

In 2018, the Damiani family invested 4M euros in its own brand Venini, taking its stake to 89%. Despite nearly 100 years of history, Venini maintains a modern, artistic design and extends its product line to lamps. Recently Venini launched a showroom in South Korea, and Mr Favier also hopes that Venini will enter the vision of Chinese consumers as soon as possible.

“The whole Damiani group aims to convey the Dolce Vita spirit of Italian culture through the brand. We still have a lot of connotations to explore. With a history of 95 years and the support of the whole family, Damiani remains as an independent jewelry workshop and the first luxury jewelry brand designed, produced and distributed independently since its inception. This is our great advantage, there is no middleman, we have the freedom to create.”

Most important: the story of a 95-year-old Italian family brand

In June 2018, Mr. Jerome Favier became the first CEO of Damiani family group, previously, the Damiani group had been directly managed by family members.

Mr Favier initially held executive positions at France company Danone and Unilever, a European consumer-goods giant. In 1994, he joined Richemont, the Swiss luxury giant, and was responsible for the sales strategy of the group's core brands, Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultr. 

Mr Favier sees this new job as a challenge but also an opportunity: "I've known the Damiani family for a long time. Before I joined, I talked to them about everything, the organization, the people, the distribution……I want to make sure that we both have a clear idea. After becoming the CEO of Daimani, we went through a series of changes. I have to say I am very lucky because the Damiani family is not conservative about corporatization, they give me freedom to explore.”

Image above is Damiani's third-generation successor, left to right: President Guido Damiani; Vice President Silvia Damiani, Vice President Giorgio Damiani

Most important, says Mr Favier, is how to express the culture and essence of brand properly, "The Damiani family has a lot of secret stories, and that's just for them. How to tell these stories to consumers, how to really spread the brand knowledge, is our biggest challenge."

The northern Italian city, Valenza, is where Damiani was founded. Mr Favier said: "When I first went there and had dinner with the Damiani family, they showed me blue diamonds. I realised that Damiani was not something that could be pieced together, it was a family history, it was deeply rooted. I had never felt it so strongly before, when I stood on the roof, looked around, saw the hills, saw the river, I was absolutely blown away by its charisma. I also hope that more Chinese friends can come to Valenza to see it and feel it like me."

 

About Damiani S.p.A

Founded by Enrico Grassi guido Damiani in 1924, the company’s headquarters is located at Valenza, a northern city of Italy, where it is mainly engaged in the design of jewelry and luxury watches, manufacturing and sales business. It currently has 62 stores globally across Milan, Rome, Paris, London, Moscow, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai and Dubai, with sales through large department stores and retail distributors.  The group builds and promotes Italian excellence by integrating complementary brands and companies, including: Salvini, Bliss, Calderoni, Rocca and Venini.

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