The famous Maison Cartier claims its legacy as a living legend. Having been the official jeweller to some of the most important Royal houses, and today, provides an elegant final touch to popular celebrities and lovers of high - jewellery alike. The brand has surpassed the fears of the luxury market in times of crisis, and has focused on the Asian market, where today, Cartier has a spread of 36 boutiques only in China. The directive team of Cartier Spain had the chance to visit La Zagaleta recently, and among them, Nicolas Roux-Alezais, the high - jewellery Director. Here, his thoughts on Cartier's International strategy and the emotional factor associated with its unique pieces.
What type of person has access today to high jewellery, as opposed to 40 or 50 years ago?
Royal families and aristocrats have been major High Jewellery clients for the first half of the 20th century. For Edward VII ‘s coronation in London in 1902, twenty-seven tiaras were ordered from Cartier. The Maison subsequently became the official supplier of the main reigning dynasties in Europe and Asia. Warrants follow from the courts of Spain, Portugal, Russia, Siam, France, Italy, Egypt, Romania, Serbia….
Since the 50’s, a growing number of businessmen have become High jewellery clients, especially in Western countries and middle eastern countries, and then in Asia. We have now High Jewellery clients from most of the countries.
Cartier experienced double-digit growth in Asia since the financial crisis hit in 2007. What is Cartier’s development strategy when it comes to emerging markets?
Cartier has the willingness to have a leading position on the fast growing emerging markets. We have therefore, for instance, opened already 36 boutiques in key locations in mainland China and we plan more openings in the next months.
Does this shift of focus in investment change the way Cartier pieces are designed?
For High Jewellery we haven’t changed our creation process: we continue to search and use the best stones, create exceptional pieces which magnifies those stones, respecting the DNA of our Maison.
Why has Cartier reserved high-end jewelry and timepieces for “off-line”?
Our VIP clients want to have a personal relationship for buying high-end products.
They want to see the creations in real, they want to touch them, they want to try them, and, most of the time, are searching for advice from a “Grand Vendeur” they trust. They are buying a dream that they want to live.
With more than 25 years of work for the Cartier group you have an esteemed senior management position. How important is the “motivation” factor when you talk to your sales teams when it comes to meeting objectives, and what are your guidelines?
A “Grand Vendeur” is for me, a patient and passionate person who dedicated his or her life to satisfy, on a long-term basis, his or her existing clients and find new ones.
The key point is the client satisfaction. In order to reach that satisfaction the “Grand Vendeur” needs the ability to clearly understand what will please the client (sometimes, even better than the client himself) in order to propose the “good” creation. A real “Grand Vendeur” must remain motivated as he or she will be rewarded at least on the long-term.
Can you describe to our readers the emotional feeling when Cartier delivers a unique piece from the “Haute Joaillerie” collection to a client? What goes through your mind and how does trust factor into this special delivery?
Creating a unique piece is the achievement of a long-term process that requires passion and excellence from the beginning. When we deliver this piece for which many experts, men and women, have given their best, we are happy and proud to make the dream come true. This magic allows us to remain the worldwide leader in High Jewellery.