Africa Constellation. What are you sharing about Africa through your jewels? This collection is one of our most iconic lines, which clearly identifies the desire to express a strong, unique and timeless personality. The engraving techniques on the boules allows us to create imperfect shapes, which are never the same. And the diamond 'waves' on the boule are reminiscent of the fantastic light and intensity of the starry African sky.
Social evolution, generational changes and new clients. How are you reacting to this picture? I think we possibly talk too much about Millennials and Generation X. In the sense that everyone looks at these markets as an important part of their communication strategies, forgetting that it is the jewel itself, its personality and the quality that wins over the consumer. And this goes for the Millennial generation as well. We try hard to balance tradition, creativity and modernity and we do it by investing our resources in all types of media that reflect these values. We have a new website and we are investing in Instagram and Facebook to get closer to our consumers and better understand their needs.
Let’s talk about 'your' American market. It is our main market and since the beginning, we have been able to clearly position the brand, satisfying the tastes of American consumers. Our style has found fertile ground in the most strategic stores, which have considered us ideal partners to satisfy cosmopolitan and contemporary consumers. This market has a big influence on our industry, but it’s not for everyone. And what has worked for us today might not work for other Italian companies who have not been able to find their place or best express themselves in the American market.
How do you manage sales in the US? We need to be consistent, maintaining our values and believing in our ideas. One of our positive aspects is that we listen to client and partner feedback and keep them in mind as they relate to our core values of quality and creativity. If our passion for what we do transforms into excitement and service, then we have reached our goal and our Italian side is rewarded.
Tell us about your relationship with social and digital media. We launched our first e-commerce site in the US and we are ready to launch it in other countries as well, thanks to the release of our new website. I’m not against online sales, but I think it is important for our customers to have in-store experiences, where you can physically touch the quality of our products and share inspiration, through our brand ambassadors. And I believe wholeheartedly in social media. We want to share our ‘know-how,’ show our contemporary and modern feel and exchange ideas with our followers. In 2018, we will invest in digital marketing to get closer to our faithful and dedicated customers.
What strategy does Marco Bicego use to strengthen a market? Positive thinking and development. We have great growth opportunities through the opening of new markets, new management of the distribution chain closer to the end customer and the strengthening of markets where we do well historically. One of my cornerstones is to think more about sell out, rather than sell in. Fully managing production directly allows me total flexibility and the ability to respond quickly to market needs, which very few companies can do nowadays.
America, Europa, Asia and the Middle East have a point of view about tastes, behavior and productivity. We’ve noticed a strong constancy in tastes and buying behavior of our consumers and in fact, our sales reflect [comparable sales] performance for similar collections on the different continents. The ‘capsules’ are what seem to make the difference, which have higher prices, thanks to the addition of precious stones and diamonds, which raise their inherent value. These ‘capsules’ respond better to the needs of our customers, the ones who have higher buying power, such as those in the US.
What’s going on in today’s jewelry industry? What does it have to do to rid itself of the stress it has been enduring for quite some time now? Is it a cultural problem or something else? I think it is more a question of who has been able to build a brand and who hasn’t. Those who have worked to play a primary role in the market are the ones who have made their brand their strength, managing every step of the production process, from the manufacturing on. [I am also talking about] those who have best communicated the values of their brand, those who have well satisfied the needs of their customers and those who have quality distribution. Then there are the luxury giants that play on a different playing field, focusing on meticulous production in specific places, where you can still find craftsmanship, which is an increasingly scarce resource, and that concentrate efforts on improving the distribution chain, perhaps leaving the wholesale channel to concentrate on the retail channel, which in turn leaves great opportunity for those brands that have built their success on the wholesale channel, such as Marco Bicego.
Almost twenty years have passed since 2000, the year you launched your first collection. You’ve been met with great recognition along the way for being able to transmit your Italian essence to gold jewelry. How important is it to preserve this identifying element in an increasingly demanding market? I think that because I have always strongly believed in the qualities that set me apart, which fuse with yellow gold, craftsmanship and the contemporary feel typical to Italian style have made my jewelry rather recognizable, perceived as timeless, high quality and stylistically unique. Honors like the Town and Country Jewelry Awards, which we received a few weeks ago, confirm the wealth of my mission and my values.
What is the strong point of your collections? Can you tell us about the numbers of your best sellers, the most iconic collection and your sales volume for 2017 (if you can)? Our strong point is having easily recognizable and iconic collections. It’s no coincidence that our best sellers are such in every country we sell in, with no market prevailing over others with specific collections. Lunaria, Masai, Marrakech, Africa and Jaipur are our more iconic collections and they well represent our style and our core business. Together, they make up 70% of our total revenue.