This is why Buccellati is unlike any other brand...
Luca Buccellati talks to Buro 24/7 Middle East
Tell me a little about your position within the brand and how you came to hold it...
I'm a third generation Buccellati. I grew up in this company. After I finished my studies in the US I joined the company and I started working with my father in 1989. Now I'm in charge of all of the VIP Customers so I travel a lot. I have a lot of meetings with our VIP customers, those people that love Buccellati, to introduce the new collections as well as the big pieces, the big sales. After that, I have the honour to be the one who trains all of the new people that join Buccellati.
It's difficult because at Buccellati we are very different. Everything we do is handmade. Sometimes to make one piece it takes six or eight months. Some of the pieces displayed here in Dubai today, one bracelet in particular, takes two years to make.
Everything is handmade, not in Italy, but in Milano. This is the point. We have handmade everything since 1919 and it will be the same for the next 100 years.
Is it important for the brand to have the products be made in Milan?
Yes, it's very important. Not only because we're based in Milano but also because all of those people that grew up with us, the engraver for example, has known me since I was a kid so they feel what I want to do.
Would you say there's a greater sense of creative freedom at Buccellati then if you are not dictated by time pressures, like with the bracelet for example, to produce the pieces?
Exactly, yes. A lot of our clients know they have to wait. Sometimes we have the emotional people that want to buy it now but to some of them we have to tell them that we have to make the piece that could take a year. Some will say, 'OK, it's like waiting for Ferrari' you know? Some will also say that they are not going to buy it. It's a risk but we take these kinds of risks every time. It's not a problem. Those types of pieces [that take longer to make] are one of a kind so you're going to be the only person owning these pieces in the world.
Some will also say that they are not going to buy it. It's a risk but we take these kinds of risks every time. It's not a problem. Those types of pieces [that take longer to make] are one of a kind so you're going to be the only person owning these pieces in the world.
How do you find the reception to those kinds of pieces in the Middle East?
They love them. We have a lot of special orders, tailor made pieces from here, for Sheikhas and people who want to have something different in the Buccellati style that's just for them.
Is there one piece or one collection in particular that does quite well in the region?
The big cuff bracelet with the stones, diamonds, rubies. The other thing is that they like to interact with me. I'm always traveling — we are the only brand where you can talk directly with Mr. Buccellati. We want to be a big brand, like Van Cleef & Arpels or Cartier, in let's say 10 years. Now we have 24 stores, and more than 250 retailers.
In terms of scaling the business to become one of the big players, do you still want to retain this familial aspect?
Yes for sure. We do luxury, top luxury. We are a little bit more expensive because everything is handmade. However we have made a new collection for young people [with lesser price points] that was really successful in the US. We haven't introduced it here yet but we will launch it next year.
How does that millennial customer translate for you at Buccellati?
The millennials, it's difficult. Some of them are really spoiled [for choice], so my job is to go to them, catch them and show them the history and the heritage of the brand. We're going to celebrate 100 years next year, so heritage and history always has a place.
Do you feel that there's an education process that needs to take place for the younger generation around the heritage of the brand?
Yes, the older generation grew up with the brand but for these new customers you have to explain to them why we are so different. You can go to Place Vendome in Paris and pick one piece from every window and put all of the pieces together and you can immediately pick the Buccellati piece, like it or not. We are completely different and this is a culture, it takes time. When you become a customer, you'll be a customer for the rest of your life.
We are completely different and this is a culture, it takes time. When you become a customer, you'll be a customer for the rest of your life.
Brand loyalty is key in the Middle Eastern market, too...
Yes. They trust you. I'm always here so they know me. Sometimes they'll call me and ask me when I'm coming to town or they'll WhatsApp me pictures of what they want.
Do you find that happens a lot in other markets as well, or particularly in the Middle East?
Particularly in the Middle East. Friendship and trust means a lot here.
So 100 years next year — what have you got planned to celebrate that you can tell us about?
It's kind of a surprise but we're planning a big party in Milan and then another one in Beijing and New York. We want to celebrate for six months in all of the big cities across Europe, the US... Here in Dubai we're planning a big event.
Buccellati is available in Harvey Nichols — Dubai and Bloomingdale's — Dubai.