Q&A: Nick Callegari, Portfolio of Fine Diamonds

Nick-Callegari-web.jpg

The man bringing affordable diamond jewellery to British independents.

Nick Callegari left TAG Heuer to join the team at Lunns to launch Portfolio of Fine Diamonds, a price-sensitive, quality diamond brand created to fight back against the lower diamond jewellery prices found online. Since its inception the range has been taken on by a number of leading independent British jewellers, with Callegari leading the development of the business. He was named a Business Big Shot in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012, in association with The Company of Master Jewellers.

Professional Jeweller: What have been your highlights of the year, personal and professional?
Nick Callegari: Well I would have to say that being nominated for the Hot 100 is a great honour on a professional basis; I’m delighted that in my capacity as development director Portfolio of Fine Diamonds has been recognised as a young emerging brand that really could change the way that quality independent jewellers sell diamonds. On a personal level I’m sure I share the thoughts of many when I say Team GB’s performance at the London Olympics has been truly inspirational. My family and I have been lucky enough to attend the games and we have come away feeling very proud of what we’ve achieved as a team and indeed a country.

PJ: Have you hit any challenges along the way, launching a fine jewellery brand?
NC
: I would have to say the main challenge (although I prefer to look at it as an opportunity) is building the understanding and relationships with potential partners and explaining the huge benefits that Portfolio of Fine Diamonds can bring to their business. Clearly as a brand at the very start of its journey this takes time but we know from first-hand experience our concept really works, and it’s just a case of maintaining the dialogue with these key independent jewellers and getting them to see and share the same belief that I and the team have in our brand.

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PJ: How has the adjustment been for you coming from TAG Heuer to Portfolio?
NC: I had realised even before I started with Portfolio of Fine Diamonds that I would have to adjust my approach and indeed my mind-set compared to my time at TAG Heuer which of course is a globally respected brand. However I was excited about being at the start of Portfolio’s journey and joining a young dynamic business where decisions could be made more quickly and where my actions would have a direct effect on the success and growth of the brand.

PJ: You have had to travel a lot this year to spread the word and build relationships for the brand – how have you handled this?
NC: It’s really all about planning as travelling can create a lot of unproductive time. I try to make use of trains and planes where I can which enables me to catch up on emails, prepare for meetings and provides me with some thinking time on how we can take the Portfolio business forward. I also wouldn’t go anywhere now without my oPad as well as work it also makes some of those journeys a little bit more enjoyable.

PJ: How would you sum up your approach to work?
NC: Committed – once I’ve set my mind on something I’m totally driven to making sure it’s a success.

PJ: How do you manage your work-life balance and how do you relax off the job?
NC: If I knew the answer to the work-life balance I would bottle it and sell it. My wife is very good at telling me when to switch off and I guess it’s about prioritising and being clear in your own mind what really matters. It is very easy to just keep going and thinking that will make you better or more productive but it’s important to step back sometimes and to take stock. Having a supportive family is also important in the whole process. Relaxing-wise, it’s nice to just spend time with my wife and children – I have two young sons – and friends.

PJ: Having scooped the likes of Phillip Stoner and Jamieson & Curry as retail partners, where do you plan to take Portfolio in 2013?
NC: I believe 2013 will be a defining year in Portfolio of Fine Diamonds journey. We will continue to identify and open new Portfolio partners in order to increase our national foot print for the brand, and we will drive through a number of planned initiatives in our business that will make it not only stronger but also a more creditable and attractive commercial proposition for the best independent jewellers in the UK and Ireland. I’m very excited in what the future holds for our brand.

 

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