Luxury Swiss watch brand Piaget opened the doors to its very first standalone store in Sydney earlier this month, at Westfield in Pitt Street Mall. Taking inspiration from the brand’s very first Salon which opened in Geneva over 60 years ago, the new store concept is designed to be a warm, inviting environment in which customers can learn about the heritage of the brand. Here, Gaspard Barthelemy, Piaget brand manager for Australia, discusses the importance of forming direct relatio
elationships with customers, the luxury shopping experience, and how the heritage brand is staying relevant with modern consumers. Inside Retail: Is this Piaget’s first standalone direct-to-consumer (DTC) store in Sydney? How important is it for the brand to have that direct connection with its customer base? Gaspard Barthelemy: Piaget’s first DTC store in Sydney was launched late 2019 in David Jones Elizabeth Street, with a shop-in-shop concept. This will be our second boutique in Sydney, but first standalone boutique here. At Piaget, we have always had a client-centric approach across all segments of the business, as our clients are the most important asset we have. A direct connection with our clients allows us to build personable relationships in an environment [such as the] Salon concept that is synonymous [with] ‘Maison’ – a place for hosting and entertaining. Piaget’s point of difference can be determined by the genuine relationships we build with our clients. IR: How is the Piaget Salon experience different from a traditional jewellery boutique? GB: The Piaget Salon experience can be differentiated from traditional jewellery boutiques through the underlying concept adopted since the first boutique opening in Geneva, 1959 – it is a place made for people to meet and enjoy their time together and discover new creations. Sixty-two years later, the new Salon still adopts this concept, with a refreshed contemporary setting, reflective of the daring aesthetics and direction of the Maison. The interior of the new Piaget Salon is crafted and planned so that clients can easily identify and explore our various product universes including, the Discovery Area, The Elegance of Watchmaking, Precious Jewellery, Precious Watches and Piaget The Icon: Possession. This, combined with the expertise of our sales ambassadors, positions Piaget at the forefront of client experiences. IR: Can you explain the customer experience that Piaget will deliver in this new store? GB: Luxury consumers in Australia are always seeking heightened experiences from the moment they enter a boutique to the after sales and continued relationship management. As the first standalone Piaget Salon in Sydney, we aim to deliver and meet these 360-degree personable requests, which Piaget has always prided itself on. From closed door private appointments to in-store private events, our sales ambassadors will always do their best to deliver and meet the demands of their Piaget clients. IR: How is this established brand connecting with today’s modern consumers? GB: Piaget, like many other luxury brands, has had to adapt to the ever-changing retail landscape and affluent demographics, which is progressively getting younger. With these changes, and being an established Swiss brand, there are many plans in the pipeline to continue attracting these audiences. From virtual appointments, catering to those clients wishing to shop at ease and with confidence, to e-commerce, launching in just under a year, and to new creations and collections, like our Piaget Polo timepiece collection and our iconic Piaget Possession collection, I am confident that the brand is moving in the right direction locally and globally to connect with modern consumers and speak to the younger generation of luxury consumers. IR: How does the brand’s Swiss origins influence its aesthetic, values and customer experience? GB: As a Swiss brand, we pride ourselves mostly in the values that the Maison was born on, which has ultimately led to the success of the brand over many decades. Established in 1874, with a devotion to crafting high-precision movements and applying the motto “always do better than necessary” to all facets of the business, Piaget has been able to maintain its exclusive status among the watches and jewellery segment, globally. From a quality and manufacturing perspective, Piaget has strict control of its manufacturing processes, allowing for the Maison to preserve and ensure quality assurance for all creations departing our facilities in La Côte-aux-Fées and Geneva – this includes the sourcing of the stones and materials for our high jewellery collections, to the melting of gold, to the assembling stages of a timepiece. From an aesthetic perspective, although Piaget reveals a high jewellery collection every year, along with timepiece and jewellery novelties throughout, the designs never cease to encompass all of the Piaget stylistic codes, including our four main pillars of gold, colour, light and movement. However, the aesthetics don’t stop at the products, but are also applied to our boutiques as well, as seen in the new Piaget Westfield Salon. Its vibrant atmosphere is a culmination of new Salon colour codes, which are meticulously selected from elements that inspire the Maison and are found in Piaget’s collections: gold, white, coral red, pink, yellow, and the iconic Piaget Blue. In terms of customer experience, since the 1960s, Mr Yves Piaget always treated clients as dear friends, as Piaget’s client portfolio was built on a network of relationships and existing friendships. That trend is still seen in today’s clients; however, we can see a new generation of luxury consumers, with a strong appetite for creativity and craftsmanship excellence, increasingly joining the family. This is all reflective in the customer experience and accommodation offered to our clients and network, whom we call the Piaget Society.