FRONTLINE
Stand out • Step up
2018/01/31
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Corina Mihaila Larpin, founder and creative designer of Stefere

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Winning the favour of celebrities and Hollywood elites, Stefere has grown in popularity in Europe and the US in the last few years. Capitalising on the momentum, the fast-growing French jewellery brand is expanding its presence in high-end department stores worldwide instead of opening mono-brand boutiques.

By Sze Man Young

Translated by Elmo Wong

 

Winning the favour of celebrities and Hollywood elites, Stefere has grown in popularity in Europe and the US in the last few years. Capitalising on the momentum, the fast-growing French jewellery brand is expanding its presence in high-end department stores worldwide instead of opening mono-brand boutiques.

With knowledge comes expectation – this rings true for consumers when purchasing jewellery. The market nowadays gravitates towards jewellery pieces with unique designs that convey distinctive emotions to wear with different outfits for various occasions. French brand Stefere is known for its edgy yet glamorous contemporary jewellery pieces with Rock ‘n Roll elements. Offering eye-catching designs and various styling options, Stefere’s one-of-a-kind jewellery creations are contemporary art pieces that never fail to delight.

The brand’s edgy designs have caught the attention and affection of celebrities such as Adele, Janet Jackson, Madonna and Victoria Beckham, among others. These A-list stars have boosted Stefere’s reputation in the British and American fashion and lifestyle worlds. Despite this impressive following, the brand does not intend to go into retail itself, opting instead to build a presence in department stores around the world.

“Jewellery design is what I am good at. Others are experts at running department stores and marketing. I would rather focus on creating designs than spend time managing a boutique,” said Corina Mihaila Larpin, founder and creative designer of Stefere.

The brand, in fact, got started in the US retail scene on the invitation of Saks Fifth Avenue. Stefere continued to tap department stores for retail expansion and now has points of sale all over the US.

Apart from luxury department stores, Stefere’s jewellery is available on two online platforms: Moda Operandi and JewelStreet. According to Larpin, she often receives enquiries on Instagram on where to purchase the brand’s jewellery, especially the pieces that have been worn by celebrities. “This indicated that exploring and expanding our business through online platforms to allow consumers around the world to buy our jewellery in different channels should be given top priority,” she noted.

Growth ambitions

Over the past two years, Stefere has grown exponentially, establishing points of sale in the world’s major jewellery markets, particularly the US. Larpin said, “Our rapid growth has been surprising, unexpected and pleasant. We will have six new shop-in-shops in Saks Fifth Avenue this year.”

Asia is of particular interest to Stefere, which has taken its first step towards making a name for itself in the region by getting into Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. According to Larpin, Stefere chose Hong Kong for its Asian debut as the city is a pivotal market for success in the luxury world, and Lane Crawford epitomises its penchant for luxury goods.

While many big companies and brands are directing their marketing efforts towards China, Larpin finds the business environment on the mainland to be too complicated, with stringent tax regulations being the greatest hindrance.

“Developing the Asian market is our chief mission. We are connecting with partners and building our network in the region. Besides having a presence in Lane Crawford in Hong Kong, we are also targeting Japan, Korea and Thailand. For the time being, clients from these countries mainly purchase our jewellery online. We are therefore placing emphasis on online marketing this year and are going to partner with more platforms online to boost sales in the Asian market,” she said.

Stefere also plans to further grow its existing markets, launch new projects in the US, and explore opportunities in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The brand aims to open at least 20 points of sale this year, said Larpin.

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