In modern world, it is a great success to create a business of all life, which will help both to bring money and to engage in self-realization. However, what can be more proud and exciting than sharing this business with your children? Human history has many examples of spectacular transformations from small family work to great enterprises or manufactures.
This situation is close to Edmond Avakian and his son, Haig. Two generations and one business, equally important to them both. Almost 50 years ago, Edmond began to develop his own jewelry brand. Today his products are worn by lots of celebrities and politicians, and Avakian’s name is certainly world-famous. We talked with Edmond and Haig about the future of brand and the way of success.
City LIfe’s journalist Marina Slobodyanik in Cannes met with Avakyan family and interviewed them.
M.S.: Next year the Jewellery House Avakian will celebrate the 50 years old from the creation. For such a long period, your company managed to gain a steady state in the jewelry world. Surely, in the beginning of the formation, you had some slogan or formula, which indicates the main postulate of the company. If it was, how did it sound? Has it changed today?
Edmond: That slogan is perseverance! It is a very precious slogan for me. Never give up your goals and convictions. It has not changed in 50 years and has been applied in the past few years more than ever during economic turmoil.
Are there any family traditions related to your jewelry business that you would observe especially carefully? Generally, how important for you to follow family business?
Haig: The main tradition that we try to live by in our day-to-day operation of the business is to always do things with love and passion, and pass this on to our clients so that he/she can also feel it. We tend not to like to do things in a rush, but gradually so that the result is as close to what we had imagined. This applies to the jewellery making process, as well as the relationship with our clients, which we put a lot of effort into maintaining and developing over the years. This is an aspect, which always needs to be kept in mind as a family business.
M.S.: What kind of job you like to do most: to create design or to handle business?
Haig: I love many different aspects of it. It is of course very exciting to see the process of a piece going from the design phase, to the production phase and finally on an important Red Carpet around the world. This is a process, which I enjoy a lot. Then of course, there is a client relations aspect, which is also very exciting for me. This is an industry where are lucky to meet very interesting people from different lifestyles, and some of their stories can be very interesting!
M.S.: Many celebrities and leaderships of different countries wear your products. Is there someone for whom you have not done any jewelry yet, but would like to create it in the future? Who is it? What kind of product may it be?
Edmond: A woman whom I admire a lot for her persona, charisma and sense of style is Queen Rania of Jordan. I feel that she embodies a lot of what the Avakian woman is about. It would be an honor to one day design a customized piece for her, which carries a special meaning to her and all her contribution to humanity.
M.S.: Present an image of your potential buyer. Who is he or she? What features are inherent for him or her? Moreover, what jewelry he or she should pay attention on firstly in order to perfectly complement the image?
Haig: Our potential buyer is the sophisticated active woman or man who travels the world and enjoys the best that luxury has to offer. This is typically a woman or man who already owns pieces from various big jewelry brands, but has now reached a stage in their life where they want a piece which is more exclusive, with a more personalized service. This is when the client comes to Avakian.
At Avakian, we have our typical collections, which represent the core DNA of the brand and are found across all our boutiques. However, we also do many custom made pieces for some of our clients. A piece will be created in order to match the person’s personality and lifestyle. Our salesmen will work through this process with the client and offer them a unique experience.
M.S.: 50 years is really a huge time, especially for such creative work. Where do you get ideas for creating new jewelry? What inspires you most?
Edmond: I travel extensively. By extensively I mean over 75% of my time. A lot of creative work is done very high up in the sky, above the clouds, where the most creative ideas pop up. What inspires me most is when I see something anywhere in the world that makes me stop, study it and take a note. It might be a piece of art, a piece in nature, an inspiring woman who I can imagine wearing a particular design.
M.S.: If you have three words to characterize your jewelries, what are these words? And why?
Haig: Wearable, Versatile, Colorful. We believe that a woman should enjoy her jewelry and it should not just be locked away in a safe. We try to make it as wearable as possible, whilst keeping the pieces exclusive and putting a large emphasis on design and attention to detail. The colorful aspect of the jewelry represents our Mediterranean heritage.
M.S.: In your opinion, what is the secret of the unconditional success of Avakian?
Edmond: The answer is hard work, hard work and hard work to start with. Then there is the ability to remain positive in all economic cycle dips and to use them, as the ideal time to create new designs and once the negative cycle is over come up stronger. Also, the ability to constantly generate new ideas and techniques in design and manufacturing.
M.S.: How do you see the future of the Avakian brand?
Haig: Being one of the few remaining family run international Fine Jewellery brands in the world, we feel that the brand still has a big potential for growth globally. We feel that markets like Asia present a big opportunity us, where clients are increasingly on the lookout for more exclusive brands. We would like to develop a presence in Asia and the United States, where we previously already had a presence, and increase our presence in the Middle East where the brand already has a large following. The challenge is to always keep the exclusivity factor in mind, and grow to a size where we can still offer a personalized approach to our clients.
Edmond: My dream is for the brand one day celebrate its 100th anniversary to start with and to remain as quality oriented as it is now. I see a bright future, provided the brand knows how to adapt to various economic cycles that can dictate certain changes in production techniques and materials, allowing it to always be innovative and competitive whilst keeping its uniqueness in designs. The world has become more challenging with the on-line sales trend, so we should be always in alert to customers purchase preferences. However, I will admit that remaining a family business among the giant groups around has become challenging, so a lot of hard work will be needed again to be able to sustain our independence. Perhaps key strategic partnerships markets could take the brand to new heights at a faster pace.
By Marina Slobodyanik