Having lit the fuse on the cufflinks market, Tateossian’s trend-led jewellery now targets fashion-conscious women.
You would be hard pushed to meet a more passionate ambassador for any brand than Robert Tateossian. The founder and owner of premium fashion jewellery brand Tateossian remains its fervent frontman, and visitors to Pitti Uomo, Magic in Las Vegas or any of the 20 international events at which the brand shows will find Tateossian taking an animated role in any sales discussion.
After 17 years of carving out an international reputation, first for its refined cufflinks and more recently for its jewellery, Tateossian is shifting its offer higher for autumn 08. The brand, based in Fulham, south-west London, is launching a leather goods range and jewellery line featuring rare stones.
“Traditionally, stones are worked around fittings, but our 19 carat gold fitting is made around the stones,” Tateossian says. “There are only a few pieces in each range because each style is unique. For example, we have amethyst growing around mother of pearl.”
The offer is divided into three ranges. Launched three years ago, Thompson is an entry-level offer with retail prices starting at £30; the RT diffusion collection ranges from £50 to £150; and the main Tateossian range starts at £75. “We had to differentiate our offer because there are so many players in the £10 to £20 wholesale market,” Tateossian says. “But there aren’t as many supplying the £60 wholesale market. Retailers that were once operating around the £200 retail mark are keen to try selling items from £500 to £600, and they want gold.”
The brand has two London stores, in the City’s Royal Exchange and Duke of York Square in Chelsea, with another opening later this year at the new Westfield development in White City. However, the bulk of sales is generated at wholesale.
Men’s cufflinks drive 70% of Tateossian’s wholesale business, but women’s jewellery dominates in the brand’s stores. “It’s a dilemma in terms of our growth strategy, because it’s difficult to channel that success into wholesale because women’s jewellery is driven by costume styles at the fashion end,” says Tateossian. “We’re not costume, but we have to be price-conscious and trend-led.”
To this end, Tateossian is driving its women’s jewellery business through its transactional website, which relaunched before Christmas, and through its stores. The brand is looking for a standalone women’s shop to open at the end of this year and is to expand its counters business in high-end shops such as London department store Liberty, where it has had a presence for 15 years.
“The general business mood is one of regression, but I’m bullish about our growth,” says Tateossian. “We won’t open lots of new stores – it’s all about introducing more limited editions and luxury lines. That’s our market and if anything, the appetite for this kind of product is getting stronger.”
Tateossian 020 7384 8300 www.tateossian.com
45: Number of countries in which Tateossian is sold, with the US and Far East its biggest markets
50: Number of UK wholesale accounts, most of which are fashion specialists
800: Number of global wholesale accounts