In conversation with Ivan Perini

An exclusive interview: jewelry buyer and consultant Ivan Perini tells us about his new online shopping platform for jewelry and watches and his buyer’s selection


In conversation with Ivan Perini
A new job in the jewelry market has been created: the buyer consultant. The credit for this goes to Ivan Perini, the legendary jewelry lover and buyer for LuisaViaRoma, who has just launched an online shop. Through his site, Ivan supports jewelers and watchmakers with consultation on design and strategy while offering the final customer a guarantee of excellence on their purchase. In this first interview, exclusively for VO+, he reveals even more about his new project.

You’ve made such a huge jump from your long experience at Luisaviaroma. What pushed you to go side by side with the companies and launch www.ivanperini.com?

These years have been full of hard work and strong emotions, made of great respect, both professional and personal. That is where I got the enthusiasm to take on this new adventure.

What does Ivanperini.com offer?

Ivanperini.com offers my expertise and experience (almost thirty years) to companies and young designers. I support them in the same way I did when I was a buyer at LuisaviaRoma. I always ask permission before entering. Initially, I thought about creating a consultancy site, but when I realized I’d left an important mark on the industry (professionally and personally), I decided to give it another direction. I’ve added “buyer” to the title of “consultant”, in which case, I’ll continue to do my job.

How does the site work? What price range will you be working in?

There is a selection of brands on ivanperini.com. For whom I will choose jewels (and/or watches) offering customers who “land” on my page quality, not quantity. That is, those who want to buy jewels will not just find a catalogue with many choices, or one company that offers only its vision of products. I will be offering a “Buyer’s Selection.” A careful and accurate assortment of brands – and jewels and/or watches – for ivanperini.com, with a price range that starts at 200 euros for Fashion Jewels and goes up to 5,000 euros for Fine Jewelry. Watches will range from 1,000 to 6,000 euros. I’ll offer the final customer a new online shopping experience, in that he or she will have the guarantee of my experience as a buyer and all the assistance and distinctiveness of the production house. To facilitate the purchase, you will link to the brand’s site, which will assist the customer with the professionalism necessary for a purchase of this level. I think it is a very innovative idea, still inexistent in the market and this gives me great determination. This project aims to showcase my selections, but at the same time, it offers consulting to young designers and accomplished companies alike. It is a platform that valorizes its products on the website of a buyer.

You went from the workbench to becoming the top expert and authority for companies and young designers. Would you briefly share with us how you got your start?

I’ve had a passion for jewels ever since I was a child. I wanted to be a goldsmith so my father helped me get a job in a workshop in Florence, where there were many artisan workshops, when I was 16 years old. Working my way through the ranks took a long time. I earned very little, and spent my days making wax models. Then I did my first projects in silver, which, as it is less “noble,” allowed more room for mistakes than gold. Slowly I began making contacts with engravers, setters, gemologists, chiselers and smelters. I worked for private clients; we went to the USA to do our first trunk shows and from there, I began to develop the commercial side of my job. I don’t know if I am a point of reference in the jewelry industry, but I am certain that my experience as an artisan helped me later on.

Do you see a difference between Italy and overseas?

Until a couple of years ago, there were many differences, especially in style, shape, project and ability to take chances. In terms of manufacture, Italy will always be the best, but in terms of design, things have levelled out and it is truly difficult to research and select, even overseas.

What are companies asking for and what is your target?

I don’t set limits. Inspiration, ability and art are not measured by sales volume. The companies’ targets are always high, but I work with small or more “established” brands. Companies mostly ask for advice on collections that have already been produced but haven’t gotten much validation from customers. They want support on the style, the choice of materials, and the strategy, even though companies founded in the 1970s and 80s are still skeptical and don’t easily change their ways. Only when they understand the value of my experience and skills, do they start to follow my advice. As my father said, "Son, remember that experience makes the man, not the other way around.

Can you name a few brands you are already working with?

Schield for Fashion Jewels, Gaia Spallanzani and Vennari Gioielli for Fine Jewelry, to name a few.

A snapshot of the current situation in the market?

From my experience and the numbers, the jewelry industry is leaning towards the high range. Customers open to spending significantly on jewels are always looking for uniqueness and something new. On the other side of that coin, the accessible luxury range has disappeared. In my opinion, it concentrated on marketing and products. Increasingly, women today look to fashionable jewels so they can renew their look more often during the day. So colors and extravagant shapes as long as there is great care, and something special and exclusive about them. I don’t believe in homogeneous jewelry. They don't excite me, so I don't easily consider them.

What do companies and jewelry in general need?

Passion, enthusiasm and courage. Passion helps you stay committed, even when you’ve hit bottom; enthusiasm keeps you thinking about how you can do something that will leave a mark; courage is the only internal strength that helps you break the mold and go places you haven’t gone before. In general, the market is too linked to sales volume and how to increase it, losing sight of an important link: what should we do to help artisans best express themselves? Only through true knowledge of the product and every phase of the work, can we find new ideas to launch in the jewelry market. And we certainly need a trust for all the innovative tools available today, to communicate the product all over the world.

How would you define this “new position?”

I completely agree that we should define it as a “new position” that breaks the traditional molds of jewelry. In 2008, my challenge was to bring a new concept of jewelry-making to the concept store of one of the most famous luxury brands in the world, to help it coexist with luxury clothing and accessories. Today, my challenge is about this innovative mix and match: artisan, buyer and consultant, synonymous with passion, courage and knowledge. And it is a new start!

 

 


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