Based in London, Tateossian is an international company of over 70 employees with showrooms in London and New York. From Siberia to Saudi Arabia, the company sells in over 60 countries around the world, with more than 1500 points of sale, in the most prestigious, fashionable boutiques and department stores – Tsum in Moscow, Harrods in London, Saks in New York and Isetan in Tokyo to name a few.
Tateossian has built a desirable reputation as one of the world’s leading jewellery and accessories brands. Established in 1990 by Robert Tateossian, the seasonal collections for both men and women have a distinctive signature constantly reflecting and reinterpreting trends in fashion. Designs are contemporary, fashion-forward and timeless attracting a huge fan base including some of the world’s most high profile figures including celebrities, models, professionals, politicians and heads of state. We caught up with Tateossian’s CEO, Robert Tateossian, to find out more.
LM: What are your career highlights to date?
RT: Tateossian has seen exciting milestones to date; it began when we opened our first store at the Royal Exchange in the City of London, nearly two decades ago. Shortly after this launch I was awarded the British Export award which was presented by HRH princess Anne, I was then able to secure this for the second time in 2001. Seeing the brand expand, Tateossian landed in its 70th country which was fantastic, making us a distinguished jeweller across the globe! We celebrated our 20 year anniversary in 2010 by rolling out the red carpet to an audience of high profile celebrities and faces which was celebrated at the exquisite Christies auction house. We expanded our stores to one of the main retail districts in London, placing our flagship store on Conduit Street. October this year will celebrate the opening of our exclusive men’s boutique in Sloane Square and 2015 we celebrate 25 years of Tateossian!
LM: What made you decide to quit banking and turn to luxury fashion retail?
RT: I have always had ambitions to be in the field of fashion and it had been a desire of mine to create beautiful jewellery and be my own boss. It was actually something that happened entirely by accident. I knew that I wanted to leave Merrill Lynch and move into fashion world and so I started importing fabrics and designing waistcoats. It was a successful venture, but the waistcoats were taking up so much room in my tiny office that I needed something smaller. So, I began to think about cufflinks, as all the guys from Merrill Lynch had worn them but they were never very exciting – all knots and circles. The rest is, as they say, history! The first cufflink that I created was a nut and bolt cufflink in sterling silver.
LM: You started out with selling cufflinks. How did you learn about the sector in order to make your new career direction a success?
RT: I am not trained and learnt through trial and error, experimenting as I went along. I am very lucky to have a talented team of designers, manufacturers and model makers behind me. I started Tateossian 20 years ago with $5000 capital and no investors. I wanted to create a masculine yet funky piece that all men could wear. There was clearly a gap in the market for wearable funky cufflinks. This is where the Tateossian ethos began!
LM: How does Tatetossian stand out from other jewellery brands?
RT: My goal has always been to create a line of jewellery and accessories for men and women that reflected my own ethos: stylish, unique and uncompromising quality. Tateossian caters to a wider audience to allow people to express their own individual style, with our range of product, 300 styles of cufflinks and unusual materials used we stand out in offering something personal, modish and unique.
LM: Who are your main customers and from which countries?
RT: I am proud to say that Tateossian sells in over 60 countries around the world with over 1500 point of sales within the most prestigious, fashionable boutiques and department stores. The USA, UK, China, Japan, Europe and the Middle East to name a few are all key markets for us.
LM: Which are your most popular and best-selling male and female lines and pieces?
RT: We have such an extensive range for men, everything from non-silver, silver, gold to our Rare Stones collection, which differ substantially in design and price. Because of this, men aged 18 to 70 wear our cufflinks and jewellery. Our best sellers would be our selection of woven Italian leather bracelets along with signature cufflinks. For ladies, all our pieces are sterling silver and classic so ages 30 – 50 seem to be after something lasting and special. For the Tateossian woman, quality is key.
LM: Your products use many unique materials such as fossils. Where do you source these from and how do you decide what you will use next?
RT: I am constantly inspired by my travels so the Tateossian brand is the perfect outlet. I travel so often so I am constantly inspired and always sketching! I’m highly motivated by anything I am exposed to; street art, fashion, and the places I travel to. I travel 80% of the year so inspiration is a constant! Sometimes inspiration even comes from novels, mythology and religion. I am forever thinking of new designs to add to the collections every day!
LM: What can we expect from forthcoming product ranges?
RT: Like our previous collections, expect something unusual, exciting and never seen before stones! We like to break boundaries and use techniques and materials never before been used in jewellery. Watch this space.
LM: Can customers commission their own pieces?
RT: Yes – we do offer a bespoke service and have designed one of kind pieces for some really interesting and exciting people. The advice would be set your budget and then visit us in one of our showrooms for a design consultation.
LM: How do you see the luxury sector performing within the next twelve months and are there any significant trends that you have identified?
RT: Men’s bracelets and the stacking trend have been on the rise for the past few years and still continuing to grow. At Tateossian we have seen a significant increase in sales and to reflect that we are constantly introducing new styles. For example, introducing diamonds which have proven to be popular; we have introduced new bracelet styles using white, champagne, black and blue diamonds in 18k gold settings and also knotted into macramé bracelets. Men’s pins are on the increase too – a decorative way to style up a suit or blazer. Japan has been the first to acknowledge this trend. It’s a way for men to differentiate their style and be more of an individual. Gadgets are also a big trend that is still around. For us it’s anything from our mechanical series.
By Simon Wittenberg MIOJ