Plans for 1,000 shops for Swarovski’s multibrand retail concept.
Swarovski’s new retail venture Cadenzza aims to fill a gap in the market by offering trend-led multibrand jewellery targeted at fashion-conscious females, with 1,000 global stores planned by 2020, we hear from marketing vice president Elisabeth Stark about this fresh shopping experience.
When it comes to dominating fashion jewellery, there is no company quite like Swarovski. Its initiatives work with everyone from design graduates and leading architects, to film studios and musicians.
In the past two years its crystals have adorned supermodels in a Duran Duran video, have added a blinding glitter to the stage at the Golden Globes and have given collections by Shourouk and Christopher Kane swathes of added sparkle. Swarovski even secured a Bond Girl as its global ambassador, ensuring that above all, the public recognise that the brand is more than just crystal.
When in April this year it was revealed that the Austrian powerhouse had created a new retail concept called Cadenzza that it planned to roll out in the UK, the industry sat up with baited breath ready to hear more. Swarovski Crystallized stores are well established in the UK, and the 2012 launch of Lola & Grace bought accessible costume jewellery with a youthful edge to the masses. But this new concept promises designer jewellers and global brands working with Swarovski crystals that have been hand-picked by its team to best fit with the tastes of discerning, fashion-conscious female shoppers.
Ten months later, with three stores operating within London and five more stores at a global level, this new retail brand means business and, true to expectations, Cadenzza has set its sights on worldwide domination.
Cadenzza marketing vice president Elisabeth Stark explains: “We started developing this concept in 2012 and opened our very first store in Innsbruck, Austria, only nine months later in January 2013. We identified the market’s need for a new jewellery store format and Cadenzza was the multi-brand concept we developed consequentially. This retail approach has successfully existed for fashion and beauty products for many years now but hasn’t been transferred to jewellery and accessories yet.”
Stark claims Cadenzza is the first retail business to launch a multi-brand concept for fashion jewellery on a global basis, and there are plans to build a store network of 1,000 points of sale by 2020, which, with Swarovski’s history, manufacturing expertise and rather big black book of designer friends, is a truly possible retail vision.
“The [Cadenzza] brand was created to answer the market need for a trend-driven retail concept that brings the creations of numerous jewellery designers together at one store,” Stark explains. Cadenzza already showcases more than 60 designer brands through its bricks-and-mortar stores and sleek online presence, featuring products which, naturally, use Swarovski crystals, from brands such as Mawi, Alex Monroe, Kenneth Jay Lane and Shourouk to Erickson Beamon, Pamela Love and emerging British talent Cabinet.
“We see ourselves as the curator, the person who brings together the hottest pieces and showcases them according to the latest trend and fashion. All our designers have two things in common: strong, trend-led designs and the highest quality standards in production. All designs we choose to sell at our stores match the latest fashion trends and of course reflect the core qualities associated with Swarovski, such as high quality standards and professionalism.”
When browsing a Cadenzza store you will certainly see much by way of trends. When Professional Jeweller visited the store at London’s Westfield Stratford in October the shop was adorned with neon crystal necklaces, wraparound suede bracelets and Swarovski crystal-studded headphones in bright purples and orange.
The store merchandising is also fresh, with central islands displaying jewellery that shoppers can touch and try on, while the surrounding walls feature jewellery hung in unusual ways, presented in sets and on mood boards in an editorial style.
Cadenzza UK country manager Stine Brogaard notes that the store design is one element that sets Cadenzza apart from other jewellery retailers in the UK. “Firstly a large proportion of the jewellery is in open displays allowing customers to interact with the product, and our international customers also benefit from a private changing room in which to try on product. The editorial and street-style imagery act as inspiration for our trend conscious customers, demonstrating that jewellery is not just for special occasions – it’s for making every occasion special.”
This philosophy, that wearing jewellery can make an everyday outfit special, is one that Cadenzza runs with and uses to win the attention of its target customer – women who aren’t afraid to self purchase.
“We’re targeting the self-conscious woman who wants to express her personality through fashion. She is highly trend interested and sees fashion jewellery as an important tool to complete her outfit,” explains Stark. Brogaard concurs, adding that Cadenzza shoppers understand the power of accessorising, from “wearing a statement necklace in the boardroom to teaming it with jeans and a T-shirt for brunch”.
Of interest is the fact that Swarovski selected the UK as the first location in which Cadenzza has expanded. Its three stores opened in London in quick succession, two in the Westfield malls in White City and Stratford and a third in the Bluewater centre, and there are also plans for a central London store close to Oxford Circus. So why the UK?
“The UK, and particularly London, is at the forefront of fashion, making it a very obvious choice,” notes Brogaard. “The [retail] concept is unique and very much in line with the UK marketplace, where customers shop at all levels and welcome emerging designers as well as established international designers.”
According to Stark the UK has been a key market for Swarovski for some time now, and the company’s target market – women looking to treat themselves and others – is particularly strong here. “Just as important, the UK is a trend driver and by that a role model for the global fashion scene. Being a strong brand in the UK is the basis for launching the concept in other countries,” Stark says.
As a result Cadenzza will open further stores in the UK in the coming year, firstly in larger cities such as Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, as well as other locations deemed suitable. On a global scale, further expansion will take place in Germany, Korea and China, while 2014 will take Cadenzza to the Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
As the concept grows globally, so too will Cadenzza’s line up of designers, set to evolve seasonally in line with each season’s trends, key colourways and of-the-moment brands.
“Our in-house trend department constantly analyses fashion trends for upcoming years and agrees upon them in close collaboration with all of the world’s famous brands. Against this background we evaluate the designers’ creations and choose whom to work with,” Stark says. “The choice of which collections make it to the Cadenzza stores is made from season to season: we only pick the designs that we consider on trend and in line with our brand; be it a famous fashion brand or an emerging talent with great esprit.”
The purpose of Cadenzza is to sate the desires of shoppers who are used to buying new accessories each season, updating their look in an instant, and the jewellery on sale will fit the styles they spot in glossy fashion magazines or adorning the bodies of trendsetting bloggers and stylists.
With its business nous it might just be that Swarovski has set the pace and answered a calling for a new era and style of jewellery retailing that, like beauty retailer Sephora and independent fashion retailers such as Start London and Matches, takes the concept of working with several designers and places them under one easy-to-shop retail brand.
Cadenzza facts and figures
Concept launched: 2013
Global stores to date: 8
Planned stores by 2020: 1,000
Next UK stores: Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham
Next global markets: UAE, Korea and China
Campaigns: Feature influential fashion bloggers and models
Jewellery: A selection of brands including Mawi, Alex Monroe, Shourouk, Erickson Beamon, Iosselliani and Kenneth Jay Lane
This interview was taken from the November issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.