A conversation with Jean-Christophe Bédos, CEO of Boucheron. Featured

Founded in 1858, Boucheron is now part of Pinault Printemps Redoute

by 07 October 2009

Boucheron, founded in 1858, was the first jeweller to settle in Place Vendôme in Paris in 1893. The label was bought in 2000 by the luxury group Pinault Printemps Redoute (PPR) and continues to excel in the present day with its many luxurious creations. We had the opportunity to meet its President and CEO, Jean-Christophe Bédos, who spoke to us about high jewellery and luxury goods in this exclusive interview.

What does it mean to manage a brand as renowned as Boucheron?
The most lasting and certainly the most profound impact is the enormous sense of responsibility and humility for the task at hand. That’s what’s so humbling, because this is a brand with 150 years of history and I’ve been here for merely four years. Our responsibility is to ensure that the label continues to excel and impress with its jewellery, to bewitch the world and to maintain a level of quality of service that is worthy of its past. The stakes are especially high here, and my personal challenge is to look to the future.

From the beginning of Boucheron, the founder, Frédéric Boucheron, wanted to establish and maintain a high quality jewellery label, at the top of its range. How do we define this high quality jewellery today, how do you maintain these high standards?
Anyone and everyone can claim luxury today. It is important for us to outline our differences, for we will only ever be defined by our excellence. Our trademark style is obviously inherited from our name, our history and our creations.
We see, throughout the world and for many years, the emergence of a genuine demand for crafted achievements in high quality jewellery without any price limit, with a demand unparalleled in history. The new clientele has very high requirements. First and foremost they have the means, but they also know very much what they’re looking for, because they have a very good knowledge of these arts. It’s a real challenge because we need to be at the top and so this pushes us towards excellence. It’s exciting because we’re experiencing a real golden age of high jewellery.

What precisely is your development for the future?
We must reach out to the customer. We can no longer sit and wait in our ivory tower in Place Vendôme, expecting our customers to come to us - it’s a different era. Indeed Boucheron has started a major commercial development programme, for in reality we do not have a presence in many of the world’s key cities for jewellery. Boucheron is one of the most exclusive jewellers in the world in terms of supply. We have opened in Geneva, for example. It’s silly not to be in Geneva when we’re such a well-known jeweller, and then after we’ll be opening in Qatar. We need to resolve the issue of our absence from so many cities and have therefore devised a programme of openings.

Is it still important today for a high jeweller such as Boucheron to be present at Place Vendôme?
Obviously being based in France as the world centre of high jewellery, there is a much more dramatic side. But having a Place Vendôme address has indeed become a true trademark. Again I’d say there is always an element of relativity to all this because being the first jeweller to be established at Place Vendôme is already a kind of recognition. We were lucky enough to be the brand to fully immerse ourselves in a house, a mansion, where our workshops are also based in the attic. We’ve tried to give people the feeling of going into a house and not into a shop. This is where we are and this is where we belong.

What are your favourite places in Paris?
I have two places that truly represent Paris for me. The first is Place de la Concorde. When you are coming down the rue de Rivoli, where you emerge onto this huge open space displaying the Concorde Obelisk, the Palace of the National Assembly, the Eiffel Tower. It’s utterly breathtaking. And the second place is the gardens of the Royal Palace. What an extraordinary and intimate world! The first Boucheron shop was in the gardens of the Royal Palace. How tranquil and peaceful!

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