European Business: How do you explain the incredible popularity of Pandora jewelry?
Kate Walsh: We sell jewelry that appeals to women of all ages. The brand spans the generations; it has something for everyone. Pandora women can wear the same piece of jewelry in so many different ways. We aim to offer women the opportunity to express their personality through beautiful jewelry at an affordable price. Pandora is a truly global brand with a presence in 100 countries around the world, on six continents. There is something universal in its appeal.
European Business: How did the idea come about?
Kate Walsh: The brand was established in 1982 by Per Enevoldsen and his wife Winnie who owned an independent jewelry store in Copenhagen. Back then, there was a gap in the market for sterling silver and 14 carat gold jewelry at an affordable price, and Mr. Enevoldsen turned to Thailand which was renowned for its skilled craftsmen. His goal was to bring beautiful jewelry to beautiful women. One of the original team came up with the name Pandora – it is easy to pronounce and is also a wonderfully feminine name. Initially they operated at a local level in Denmark, but when the iconic charm bracelet was launched in 2000, it caught the imagination of consumers and Pandora really took off. By 2008 there were 200 stores and in that year the business grew by 32%; by 2016, we had grown to over 2,000 concept store around the world.
European Business: What can customers expect from Pandora in 2017?
Kate Walsh: Today, we offer products for every purse and personality. Of course, our charm bracelets are what everyone thinks of when they hear the name Pandora and these are by far our best seller across the world. They are highly collectable. I love to see our products building into a collection – it is addictive. Nevertheless, we also have a great range of other jewelry including rings, earrings, necklaces and pendants. We like to keep the range fresh by updating it regularly. This gives women a reason to come back to our stores; there is always something new to add to your collection and for men, Pandora jewelry is an easy choice for a beautiful gift. We have special occasion ranges such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and seasonal collections. At the moment the focus is our spring range which is all about flowers to put you in a good mood. We have recently launched a new locket which customers can personalize by choosing from a range of inserts.
European Business: Is Pandora jewelry still true to its origins and hand-made in Thailand?
Kate Walsh: Yes, we have a production unit in Bangkok and we have recently opened a second facility in Chiang Mai. Thai craftsmen are particularly renowned for their superb finishing techniques. What is really special is the choice of materials. We recycle sterling silver and 14 carat gold and also use PANDORA ROSE, a unique blend of metals and alloys launched in Northern Europe 2016. The jewelry is one colour all the way through, so that as the surface wears, the layer beneath does not show as it does with many plated products. We use more man-made stones than natural ones which is great for sustainability. Our new crafting facility in Chiang Mai was designed specifically to have a lower environmental impact.
European Business: How do you see the future for Pandora?
Kate Walsh: We recently moved into our new Northern European headquarter in the heart of Hamburg; the building housed the first concept store in the world. Our vision is to become the world’s most-loved jewelry brand. Not only are our products special, but the retail environment in which they are sold is also unique. The employees in our stores are themselves fans of Pandora and love to hear customers’ experiences. We compare our stores to hairdressing salons; if you spend time there, you get to know the customers and learn about their lives and what makes them tick. The retail experience helps us achieve our overall aim: to offer affordable luxury.
In this issue: Hatteland – Increase efficiency, increase performance / Vattenfall Eldistribution AB – Superior electricity service in Sweden / Volvo Entreprenørmaskiner A/S – Equipment for every construction project / Pilgrim Export Aps – Made by hand from the heart
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