– Amandine, tell us what brought you to the jewelry industry and how did you start your brand?
– I am not a brand and I don’t like to call myself a brand. I am very singular in a way of my approach with clients. I design a lot of bespoke pieces and I have such a small number of clients. I usually work with 40–50 customers a year. It is not much, people are not coming to my stores to see the new collection. I started nearly 20 years ago by chance. I started trading single large stones in Beverly Hills. And I realised that there was a demand from the dillers, who were coming to my office, they actually were interested in purchasing jewelry pieces, not just stones. That’s how I move to designing pieces, thinking: “Well, there is a need here. I think I can fulfill it”. So I tried with one piece, next and they kept selling. Then I had the chance to design for Garrard and Asprey in London to finally decide to go on my own and open an office in Paris Place Vendôme. My clients appreciate an opportunity of having a very small production and unique pieces. They don’t want to go to an event and see some other women wearing the same piece of jewelry. I won’t name specific brands, but a Panther is a Panther, it is very recognisable. That is how I became an independent jeweler.
– Who is the #amandinemallen woman?
– My clients are those women who are more bold and are in search of some uniqueness and singularity. They have a sense of design, they want to create. That is why they need me.
– How did the industry change in the past 20 years?
– I feel that clients more and more need bespoke. I also see more clients, who like singularity. Maybe it is only my niche and the word of mouth. More and more people get educated and sophisticated in their choice. They are tired of big brands and wearing the same things, they want to feel special and show their taste. A piece of jewelry becomes a reflection of you. It shows your taste, your approach with colors.
– Can you make an opinion about a person, when looking at the jewelry she/he is wearing?
– Well. With my clients I definitely know what to design for them. I see their lifestyle and can guess what they will like.
– Can you predict how the market will change in 10 years?
– 10 years... Wow! If I knew (laughs), I would probably collect all those stones that will become hot and become a wealthy woman! But I could personally feel that customers more and more appreciate jewelry from independent jewelry houses. Stones and collective pieces perform very well in auctions. People start to prefer single large stones to crazy artsy necklaces. The wealth is growing, even though it feels that businesses are suffering. Customers no longer want 20 “okay” pieces in their jewelry wardrobe, they want 5 but super nice, super tradable, which will become a commodity in difficult times.
– Did the world’s digitalisation impact your business in any ways?
– Well, I have an Instagram page just to say “I exist”. My relationship with my clients is something I built through many years. Instagram has helped me to show what is new, what I have come up with. Thanks to Instagram my clients can see more of my creations and sometimes they surprise me with their choice. For me I still need a personal connection to sell.
– So they never buy online?
– Some do. They see something on Instagram and they say “I want it.” But they are not new customers, I already have their trust.
– Talking about customers. Do you work with Generation Z? Who are they? How do they buy?
– I am not really aware of this generation. I think things influence you in life. Probably, they are influenced by their parents. I believe that we are all born with a sense of style. We can come from the same family, same parents and then one of the kids becomes a person with a big sensitivity for jewelry and garments and another one no. They come together with their parents and sometimes they influence the purchase of their mother, knowing that one day it will become theirs. But I believe they are a little bit young for my product.