Alexandre Charriol: Preserving a family legacy
The Jakarta Post
Bearing the name of an international luxury brand, Alexandre Charriol says he's decided to embrace the life of a businessman.
After 15 years of working as a painter, Alexandre joined his father's company, Charriol, three years ago to develop the brand as it competes in the global luxury goods business.
Alexandre is the son of Philippe Charriol, a French entrepreneur who established the Charriol brand of watches, jewelry, leather goods and fashion accessories in 1983 in Geneva.
The brand is known for signature motifs that include its Celtic Collection and iconic cable designs.
'I've absorbed the brand for 30 years. Now, my sister [Coralie] and I are ready to introduce it to new generation ' new and young enthusiasts ' about the brand,' Alexandre told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta before relaunching the brand to the local audience.
The decision was his own. Alexandre said that his father never asked him to jump into the business. 'I think that was how he lured me ' by never putting pressure on me, and letting me make my own decision.'
'I feel the pressure all by myself to not give up on my father and what he had accomplished over 30 years of incredible hard work. I feel obliged and motivated to do and continue the family business,' added the 35-year-old.
Alexandre describes the brand as energy-driven, which means everyone that involved in the business is an active person. 'My father is a big car racer, I'm a painter ' we're all very health conscious,' said Alexandre, who avoids alcohol and cigarettes.
He praises his father, Philippe, who got his start in Cartier before branching out on his own. 'His persistence and what he had to put up with to make this worldwide brand ' for me, I admire [it].'
'Today, to start a luxury company, or any company ' I can't even wrap my head around it,' Alexandre says. 'I always praise my father for actually getting it started and off the ground and building an empire of it.'
Alexandre says that what he brings to the company is an artistic sensibility.
'I'm here to help the company in re-branding, repositioning and reimaging its brand to a new generation,' he adds. 'As an artist, I'm very sensible to aesthetics. I think I'm very strong in style, aesthetics and beauty,' said Alexandre, who studied at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Parsons School of Design in New York.
He says that he hopes he can make the brand more relatable to younger people. 'We'd like to cater to almost first-time jewelry lovers. So, we introduced our line at a very affordable price, but yet [offering] classic pieces for people that don't have much money. It is 'entry-level luxury'. We want to get everybody on board.'
Alexandre continues. 'I think it's important for the market here to just let you know that luxury is for everyone. You work a little, you can buy some things from us and you can feel good about yourself.'
Business etiquette has also changed from his father's day, Alexandre says. 'It's no longer about some traveling, you sit down and you show the products to people. Now, it's all to do with online access ' everything is fast now.'
On the future, Alexandre says young people are key.
'You need fresh people to do that. You cannot have an old guy to change the game,' Alexandre says. 'I'd like to think that the next generation is coming ' leaving the old generation to keep the stability and the class and letting the new generation to just push forward into the new frontier.'
Born in Hawaii and growing up in Hong Kong and London, Alexandre says that he has never lived in France, where he only vacations.
'I moved to Hong Kong from New York, where I lived for about 10 years, when I started to be involved in the business.'
As the son of the brand's founder, Alexandre says he gets involved in every department of the company to know what is going on.
'I try not to stick my fingers in too many holes though, because then I have to take care of those.' He laughs.
His sister is involved in the jewelry division. 'My sister currently lives in New York, with her children and investment banker husband, and she isn't part of the day-to-day business. However, she controls all the jewelry designs.'
Alexandre aims to promote the brand's glamour. 'It's so much harder these days. I hope I can inspire many people to come.'
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