What makes the company a success? And why would it to have been sold?
I think part of the reason for the 3rd generation of Cartier success was their adaptability. They will adjust their strategies to meet their own requirements and expectations for products and processes while adapting to market demands. Cartier family member had a dream to build the leading jewellery firm in the world. Even during really difficult times —— the first world wars, three brothers never forgot this dream.
“After all that efforts, why on earth did the next generation sell it?” So that’s kind of why I approached The Cartier. The difference between the first three generations and the 4th generation is that the transmission of values breaks down. Because the three brothers are spread out in continents and their sons and daughters have very different upbringings. It’s very hard for them to share the same value. And also I think wealth does contain the seeds of its own destruction.
My grandfather was still making hand-made pieces in the same way that his father had done it. The watch he’s making were taking months. Meanwhile, the New York branch had been sold to investors who were more focused on margins. They didn’t want to make things in the long, expensive way anymore. He was very saddened by it and he didn’t want to talk about it for a long time.
If Chinese entrepreneurs wanted to come up with a Chinese luxury brand, what would be the tips or suggestions that you give to them?
I think for the Cartier, At the time, they weren’t thinking of build the brand. They just wanted to be the leading jewelry firm in the world, and part of that was being exclusive. How were the three branches going to do that? The way they do that was by focusing on making the best. As I say, the best quality, using the best craftsmen, the most original designs, innovating every season there was something different. You were always one step ahead of your clients. You know what they want before they want themselves.
China is playing catch-up in many areas. I think there will be more people wanting to appreciate the art and trying to get a sense of luxury but not necessarily to show off. Many of the brands in China are being used simply as a way to show off “I’m rich”. But when Cartier was a family firm, the focus was just to make beautiful pieces so that people would wear. You make something beautiful even if it’s expensive. People will want it and they will soon forget how much they paid for it.
So what would be the lessons for the global brand and companies wanting to expand at a different age?
I think the lessons are probably still the same. Fundamentally, what they felt was how do you build that client loyalty? One thing is the product, but the other way is that client feels valued by that company. And how did Cartier do that? As I say, they didn’t just wait for the client to come to them. They went to the client. The globalisation is making clients all over the world feeling included and part of it. Whether that is traveling to them but reaching out to them.
Is in terms of the suppliers and the production, Cartier already had workshops in different places. It was buying gems and precious metals from different places. My grandfather travelled around India, Sri Lanka…He would go to the source to get the best gems. He didn’t just wait for things to come to him. Because if he waited for things to come to him, He would get the same what the person next door was getting. If you want to differentiate yourself, I think you need to go that extra mile.
美好商业中心 Good Business Center
2016年6月，法国里昂商学院联合每日经济新闻，共同发起"美好商业 (Good Business)"项目，成立美好商业中心 (Good Business Centre，简称GBC)。
Contact Us 联系我们
Jessica Li 李老师
Associate Director of Alumni & Corporate Relations