For a number of years now the term 'new luxury' has been bandied about with all too often frequency. From the latest bags and shoes, to lifestyle brands that give wealthy people what they want, everyone from high-net-worth consumers, designers, marketers and business travellers want a slice of luxurious pie that is freshly reimagined and served up on a seemingly hourly basis.
But what do reputable consumers of luxury goods really want? So asked Nima Abbasi of himself when he considered a new business venture last year. Sick of the thought that the once honeyed words of luxury were so often used to describe products now flogged to the mass markets, B-list celebrities and the nouveau-riche, he took an academic approach to his research to tap into what a truly wealthy, educated clientele would want.
The results were surprising, examining the history books, delving into private libraries and the historic families' art collections and heirlooms Nima found that truly desirable products weren't fast fixes, bespoke, or even the prominent older brands. What he uncovered was a plethora of undetected brands and companies that had been working unnoticed for centuries. Creating the exquisite jewellery, furniture and goods for royals and aesthetes for hundreds of years. From this discovery, Crest & Co. was born.
Marketed as a luxury e-commerce site, the private or by-invitation only website uploads one to two products from its selection of brands a week and vets all their clients before allowing a sale to go ahead. 'My customers are those that want and expect the best of the best from around the world, but also they want something that is exclusive and one-of-a-kind. They want real luxury and this requires heritage and craftsmanship, not expensive products anyone with a credit card can get their hands on. Finding luxury in a product that makes you look wealthy is generic and too easily achievable'' explains Nima. Do proper research into these companies and it emerges that they were in existence for centuries, some for four to five hundred years, never needed advertising due to a loyal client base of aristocracy and patrons of the arts.
Luxury is contentious concept today. Previously thought of something out-of-reach to most, it's now something that is only unattainable to anyone without money. Crest & Co. is not about 'richness' or showing off; wealthy people today don't want super flashy cars or to go get the best table at club, they want products that tell a story and craft a very particular kind of lifestyle.
This approach to the idea of luxury has been developing specifically within the last five years and now puts the selling of these products in a startlingly different light. It's not that high-net-worth consumers no longer want beautiful, bespoke products, but they also want them to tell a story, have a veritistic history crafted and perfected over hundreds of years.
So where does a company like Crest & Co. leave the luxury market of today? Take one of Crest and Co's favourite brands, Böle, champions of Scandinavian style and tanners to the Swedish royal family. Each one of their pieces aches with handcrafted care and expertise. Or Silvia Furmanovich, a Brazilian atelier whose family history of the craft originates in Italy, where her great-Grandfather made scared adornments for the Vatican. Nima was not content to sell these brands as the others do, a visit to his website allows for a visual and emotional encounter with the unconventional, pieces and products that exist outside of our established sphere.
Having worked in advertising and PR for luxury brands for a number of years, Nima became increasingly disenchanted with the concept of luxury as we know it. Speaking to him it apparently he understands that really affluent people don't buy the things you think they do, they don't want a mass produced, but expensive bag, they want something unique, beautiful and that they can talk about with other likeminded, cultured individuals.
Not only will a company like Crest & Co. allow its customers a unique viewing of authentic craftsmanship and culture, it allows the new generation of busy people a break from the usual and a chance to experience real luxury where the focus is on quality, art, beauty and knowledge. Nima is right, to be truly luxurious a life must be lived and cultivated, and the same goes for a product, it must be sought out and appreciated for the knowledge and craftsmanship that has cultivated its beauty.
*Crest & Co. is an invite only website. For a faster acceptance, include the invite code 'LUXOS' when entering your details. www.crestandco.com/