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How former Swarovski VP grew company into a global jewellery giant

Stephen P Somogyi

Former vice president of the crystal design arm of Swarovski’s now globally famous business, Stephen P Somogyi, is releasing a memoir about his time at the company (1967-2002).

It is hoped that the book will prove an invaluable resource for aspiring jewellers and designers hoping to grow their brands, as well as budding senior management teams in growing companies regardless of industry.

The memoir details how the 126-year-old Swarovski entered the jewellery market several decades into its history and went on the conquer the sector with its famed crystals.

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It describes the 40-year career of Somogyi, as well as his relationship with Gernot Langes-Swarovski, the great-grandson of the company’s founder.

Speaking with Professional Jeweller, Somogyi said of his career: “I rose from salesman to branch office manager, overseeing policy and turnaround situations in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Paris, rising to VP.

“Vision and initiative helped me steer company policy into consumer products, especially jewellery, in which field I had experience prior to 1967.”

He said that deciding to transform the business into a global jewellery manufacturer may have been “the toughest” assignment of his career.

“Especially as when I first launched their branded collection in 1975,” he added, “Swarovski had no jewellery production facilities, and collections up to 1978 had to be contracted to a client.

“I subsequently recruited a world renowned designer and helped in the acquisition of the first production plant, creating a business model for distribution to retail.”

Modestly, Somogyi says that he is not sure if the book contains much wisdom that others could use in the industry, but does admit that it could be used as a “management training tool”.

Listing some of the skills and qualities he needed during his career, and which he discusses in the memoir, he said: “Innovative marketing, problem solving under duress, creative business solutions and unorthodox outside-the-box thinking are more important today than they were during my career.

“The book also covers the material crystal, synthetic gems and industries I pioneered for Swarovski such as the perfume and luxury packaging trades and the world of duty-free.”

Tags : Stephen P SomogyiSwarovski
Sam Lewis

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