With a video campaign, the Portuguese Jewelry Association is enhancing its support in the name of legacy. We met the General Secretary, Fàtima Santos, to learn more about this amazing project.
Legacy is the most important value that goes beyond the economics behind a piece of jewelry. How and why this campaign was born?
With a centuries-old tradition, Portuguese jewelry is still a “newcomer” to the world industry. It’s almost a well-kept secret that has been revealed in the past years, by a collective effort of promotion and internationalization, led by AORP – Portuguese Jewellery and Watchmaking Association. In 2016 we gave our first big step: a worldwide campaign starred by Milla Jovovich, named “Portuguese Jewellery – Shaped with Love”. We reinforced our presence in International shows and events and started to draw the attention of international buyers and influencers. Now, with this new campaign, we praise the essence of Portuguese jewelry as a legacy of art and talented renewed by design, innovation and international ambition.
What is the main meaning of legacy for Portuguese jewelry?
Behind every piece is a story. Either handmade or industrialized (although there is always a component of handcraft work), our jewelry is an inheritance of tradition and expertise. Some of our techniques and designs are centuries-old, but still contemporary and fashionable. Also, there is an emotional value of intergenerational bond: this idea of jewels passing down generations, as a legacy of values, memories.
This is our uniqueness, our super power. Portuguese jewelry is timeless and eternal and this means every piece is full of identity and history.
While it intends to value the tradition, the campaign reinforces the values of sustainability, fair trade and responsible consumption. The goal is to show how jewelry - with a long cycle of product, which can go to eternity, runs counter to the unsustainable trend of the consumer market.
What are the main characteristics that distinguish your style?
The secret is in the hands of our master artisans. We have a long tradition of generations dedicated to jewelry making, that is embroiled in each of our jewels, either maintaining the original designs and techniques or reinterpreting it through contemporary design and creative approaches.
Furthermore, our industry is oriented to tailormade production, allowing buyers to customize collections, develop limited editions or even exclusive pieces.
How does AORP support jewelers and which are your associates? Brand, independent designers, no-logo...
AORP gathers all the value chain, from industry to retail, from luxury to designer brands. But for each we created individual promotion brands and platforms, so we can develop targeted strategies and activities. We designed different collective brands for each segment: “Portuguese Jewellery Shapers” for industry, “Portuguese Jewellery Guide” for retail, “Portuguese Jewellery Newborn” for upcoming designers and “Portuguese Jewellery Shape Up” for scaleup brands.
How do you work to help them in networking around the world?
AORP manages the EU support funds for the development and export of Portuguese jewelry companies, providing proficient advice in internationalization, finance, legal and marketing.
We also promote collective showcases in international fairs and events such as, as mentioned, advertising campaigns to endorse Portuguese jewelry awareness and positioning worldwide.
What are in your opinion today the best and more useful tools and retail channels for a jeweler to work with?
On the one hand, e-commerce has brought new opportunities, namely for native digital brands that find new audiences in foreign markets.
On the other hand, in Portugal, we are experiencing a boost in traditional retail, due to the tourism boom in our country, encouraging new trends: flagship brand stores, concept stores, collective designer stores and modernization of traditional multi-brand stores that are embracing marketing and visual merchandising tools to attract new generations of consumers.
How are you living with the Covid-19 Emergency?
In Portugal, the Government has applied really strict isolation rules which is having very good results regarding the contention of the virus but has stagnated market consumption. We believe this strategy will allow us to overcome this threat more soon than initially expected.
Meanwhile, we are looking for the silver lining of this negative context and designing solutions to help our companies, not only financially but also encouraging them to explore new channels and opportunities, mainly through e-commerce and international B2B.
What to do to grant the continuity of the business whilst the world is locked-down, supporting jewelers in the whole value chain, from the industry to retail.?
E-commerce is surely a big opportunity for brands to improve their online channels and achieve wider audiences. But as all the brands are focusing on e-commerce, it is very important to learn how to cooperate and unify, through collective platforms and joint efforts. As an association we are already designing some solutions to address e-commerce in a more effective and relevant way.
Also, it is no longer enough to be online. Brands will need to step up their game to stay competitive in the online wilderness and up-to-date to the increasingly demanding needs of online customers.
What is your meaning of jewelry today, and what would you like younger generations appreciate from this wonderful art?
Jewels are eternal. And in this timeless cycle, they become symbols of emotions, moments, relations.
In troubled times like these we value what means the most. I use to say jewels are our “forever stories” and belong to our “forever little box”: the wedding ring, the grandmother pearls, the bracelet we offer to our first born. It’s more than a piece of jewelry. It’s a part of who we are.