Q&A With Guillaume Brochard, CEO Of Chinese Luxury Jewelry Brand
Posted by minibraceletstores on October 16th, 2014
The French entrepreneur talks about Qeelin, the young Hong Kong-based luxury jewelry brand he cofounded with Chinese designer, Dennis Chan, and how they merged their creative visions to create a label that blends the best of Chinese cultural heritage and contemporary design with the excellence of French craftsmanship, turning mythical and superstitious Chinese symbols into timeless, evocative and whimsical jewels.
What made you decide to partner with Dennis Chan to start your own jewelry brand in 2004?
I met Dennis while living in Hong Kong in the 1990s. He was an up-and-coming designer back then. I was the Head of Tag Heuer North Asia and he became a brand ambassador. We kept in touch afterwards and, a few years later, he came to visit me in Switzerland to introduce Qeelin. After having been a consultant for a couple of years, I decided to step down from my job as President of Ebel and launch Qeelin with Dennis. Thinking back, it was quite daring!
Why did you create a brand combining French craftsmanship and Chinese cultural inspiration?
France remains, with Italy, the worldwide benchmark when it comes to jewelry craftsmanship and know-how, and it is perceived as such by the Chinese themselves.
What is Qeelin’s design approach?
Each collection’s inspiration stems from ancient Chinese legends and is meaningful. Love, protection, luck – you’ve got the choice. From the WuLu collection, Qeelin’s famous lucky charm inspired by the fruit, to the BoBo collection, our famous panda bear that’s a symbol of peace and friendship, none of our designs are meaningless. Clients who purchase Qeelin get not only a wonderful piece of jewelry, but also an invitation to dream.
Tell me about your recent collection.
It’s the King & Queen collection, which was launched in September 2013 in Hong Kong, and has already been very successful among our VIP clients.
Describe your workshops.
We work with small yet very professional workshops, which are usually operated by French craftsmen.
What are your price points?
From €500 to €300,000.
Who is your target audience?
Qeelin jewelry is very unique, playful and flexible. You can adjust the length of all chains, for instance, buy asymmetrical earrings or change the pendant of a necklace. In a way, the wearer is invited to participate in the creative process, depending on the way she/he wears the jewelry. Our clients are not first-time diamond buyers. They are aware of international quality standards and used to buying from top-class jewelry brands. They are looking for something original and different with the same standards of quality and craftsmanship. They usually are self-confident, very often opinion leaders, such as Marc Jacobs, Maggie Cheung, Kate Winslet, Celine Dion and Jackie Chan, to name just a few.
How has Kering acquiring a majority stake in Qeelin in 2012 impacted the brand?
The Kering acquisition allows us to accelerate our brand and company development, in particular through the opening of new boutiques, the launch of Qeelin’s first high jewelry collection (launched last December) and the recruiting of a reliable and professional team who will contribute to taking the brand to the next level.
Qeelin boutiques and retailers may be found in Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea, France, UK and Russia.