By Olivia Quiniquini
Luxury silver jewellery brand Thomas Sabo is looking east for expansion and design inspiration. It also reaffirms its relevance in an ever-changing market by celebrating milestones and charting new directions.
Thomas Sabo is training its sights on the Asia-Pacific region for growth, with the luxury silver jewellery brand looking to double its presence there over the next two years.
“Asia is our main focus at the moment; we are entering so many new countries with plenty of shops and many different partners. We have nearly 100 stores in the region at present, and our goal is to have 200 shopping destinations by 2020. Consumers in Asia-Pacific countries realise that our designs and quality set us apart from the rest,” said Founder, Chairman and Managing Director Thomas Sabo.
Already, the brand has been rapidly expanding its Asian footprint in the last 12 months. It entered Thailand at the end of 2016 and debuted in South Korea earlier this year. Thomas Sabo also recently established a presence in Vietnam and opened a new flagship store in Hong Kong’s Ocean Terminal shopping mall last month as part of its aggressive push in Greater China.
“We see a lot of growth potential due to our unique design proposition for the Asia-Pacific region. We also keep on opening new stores in our existing strong markets such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia,” remarked Lars Schmidt, the brand’s sales director for Asia.
Thomas Sabo’s expansion drive comes as the company celebrates a number of milestones. For starters, its Rebel at Heart Collection, which broke new ground with its skull, cross and symbolic motifs, turns 10 this year. “We created a lot of iconic pieces in this collection that have stood the test of time. I’m proud that this has become almost a classic jewellery line for us,” Sabo shared.
The brand has also unveiled its latest store design concept that will inform its future retail outlets – the new Hong Kong flagship boutique incorporates mid-century elements such as 50s-inspired Serge Mouille lamps and sports a fresh colour palette of warmer and lighter colours. Sabo places a huge premium on the retail experience. “Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of social media. To me, the face-to-face experience in a retail environment that fully reflects the brand is pivotal,” he admitted.
Wholesale and retail partnerships are indeed the cornerstones of Thomas Sabo’s business. “Only a few brands will survive in the coming years; we will be one of them. It’s very important to have a presence in jewellers’ stores, and we offer our trade partners our full support,” Sabo explained.
One such initiative is Thomas Sabo’s online Wholesale Training Academy that arms frontliners with the knowledge they need to sell the brand effectively. “Retailers who work with different brands are very impressed that ours is so rich in heritage, history and meaningful jewellery. The academy is a great tool for us to transfer all this knowledge to our wholesale and retail partners,” Schmidt commented.
Moving forward, Sabo sees renewed demand for colourful jewellery in the next two years. His recent Royalty series and his new Dragon Nights Collection, which highlights his affinity with Oriental mythology, take a step in that direction. The brand has likewise recently upped the luxury level by incorporating diamonds in its iconic designs.
And while many designer silver jewellery brands have been snapped up by bigger conglomerates, Sabo retains ownership and full control over his eponymous brand. He remains fully involved in every aspect of the business “every hour and every minute of every day.”
“The past year has been tough in general, but we have seen positive signs these last three months and remain one of the most important brands for retailers,” said Sabo. “Many brands have almost lost their heritage as they are run by designers who have come and gone. For me, it is important to grow organically and steadily. We are growing with our own money – that has always been my philosophy. Expansion is therefore slower, but it suits me just fine.”