Q&A: Laura Lares, Lapponia

Lapponia chief exec reveals plans to target Australia and Russia.

On the eve of the brand’s 50th anniversary, Lapponia chief executive Laura Lares discusses fresh design talent, the brand’s changing customer base and expansion into new markets.

It’s Lapponia’s 50th anniversary this year, what are your plans to mark the occasion?
Naturally we have an anniversary jewellery collection. We have really worked hard for that. It is larger than normal and it is absolutely splendid. It’s a bridge from the past to the future. All Lapponia designers have been given a free hand to create something really unique; it’s really creative and it shows what they can do.

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The collection features designs by established designers and young, unknown designers – which designs are more creative?
It is very interesting to compare the work and see who are the conservative ones and who are the really creative ones. It’s not as obvious as you think it might be. For the young designers, it is very difficult to create new when you don’t know what already exists.

The young designers brought on board for the anniversary collection were found through a competition. Did you get a big response?
We got entries from 26 countries which shows how international Lapponia is. These could be some of our future partners.

How has Lapponia fared during the recession?
It has been rough but it has really worked for Lapponia as in tough times people come back to lasting value. Instead of just buying something that’s nice they want something that lasts. And Lapponia is very good at that.

The majority of Lapponia’s designs are cast in silver. Has the rising price of gold benefitted the brand?
It has been a long trend towards silver becoming more popular but the last year has been even quicker than we had expected. Also, at Lapponia white gold is becoming even more import than yellow gold.

Which markets are working well for Lapponia?
Germany has been the biggest but now the Netherlands has grown to the same level and the UK has been one of the best growing markets for many years for Lapponia. It has to be northern Europe; the exciting gold shimmer of Lapponia silver and gold which is quite different to some parts of southern Europe where the jewellery is quite colourful. Also, Japan has been a big friend to Lapponia for many decades.

Are there any markets that you would like to target in the future?
There are some markets we would like to be in, like Australia, but it has to be very well chosen. It’s not the number of the merchants but which ones. You have to know Lapponia to sell it and know the artists. Another clear area is Russia. Lapponia is very much sold in Finland to Russian tourists.

Has your core customer changed over the past 50 years?
It has changed quite a lot. It started to change in Finland about two years ago. There are now ladies in their 20s in Finland who want Lapponia and now it is happening in other markets. They want something that is different and there are very few brands that are totally authentically different. You have to have quite a lot of self-esteem if you want to be a Lapponia lady, but you get hooked after using Lapponia and it becomes very hard to use anything else.



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