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Articles from PERSONALISED JEWELLERY (33 Articles)

Thomas Sabo
Thomas Sabo

Personal encounters with Thomas Sabo

During his visit down under, the Thomas Sabo founder spoke with COLEBY NICHOLSON about the brand’s push towards more personalisation.

High-profile German brand Thomas Sabo has been part of the customisable jewellery category since the release of its Charm Club collection in 2006. 

The supplier, however, made further headway within the personalisation sphere in 2015 with the launch of the Love Bridge range, consisting of bracelets and necklaces designed to be engraved with a personal message.

During a visit to Australia to celebrate the brand’s 10th anniversary in the local market, founder and chairman Thomas Sabo told Jeweller his designs and new collections would continue to focus on allowing consumers to personalise their jewellery.

Sabo said that the idea for the Love Bridge collection arose after observing the increasing personalisation of product in different industries. “I saw this new trend getting stronger and stronger. I saw it in my own son’s life,” he explained, adding, “He loves to create his own things and own designs. Younger people like to go on the internet and create their own sports shoes and their own shirts. I think this is becoming more popular so we thought we had to make this [personalisation] trend happen with jewellery.”

Listening to consumers

The brand has been a market leader in the customisable charms and bead jewellery category for many years and Sabo said there was now an increasing trend towards consumers wanting to personalise their own message.

“That’s why we developed the personalised engraving concept for our stockists, which has been very successful in Europe,” he stated.

While in this case, Sabo is following a consumer trend, he said he believed designers often set trends for consumers to later follow. He added that although customisable and personalised jewellery might be considered different, ultimately it’s about the message.

“I think that both products [customisable and personalised] have a similar message. You can tell your personal story with charms and beads and [you can do] the same by engraving the Love Bridge collection,” Sabo explained. “It’s about the emotion of people when they come into our shops. They are thinking about what they want to put on this bracelet or what message they want to give their lover.”

Sabo said the ideal thing about personalised jewellery was that it sat across all age groups, adding that the company, in fact, was beginning to see a second generation of Thomas Sabo customers. “Sometimes I am surprised at how long we have had some of our Thomas Sabo fans. It’s incredible. Some of our first customers with Charm Club were teenagers and now they are young business women.”

In the land down under

During his visit, which took place in late 2015, Sabo also acknowledged that Australia and New Zealand had emerged as a strong market for Thomas Sabo and was now considered an integral part of the company’s overall strategy.

There has been a substantial shift in consumer styles and trends since launching in the local market, with Sabo commenting that a decade or so ago, the brand was best known for its large rings.

“In the middle to late 1990s we sold a lot of huge rings, which was a specific trend. Back then we didn’t sell many bracelets at all but today, bracelets are our key product, especially because people are more involved in unisex dressing, which has been a major change in the past 10 to 15 years.”

Another significant change in the jewellery industry, according to Sabo, was the need to bring product to market much faster. “Consumers in this online and digital world are keener to see new products than ever before,” he explained, adding that there was a greater importance on ensuring new product was available in all markets almost simultaneously.

In terms of international trends, Sabo said he had not noticed any major difference between, say, Europe, Asia and the US, and thus the brand’s designs were not created or tailored for specific markets. However, Sabo did note that this didn’t stop specific ranges or designs from being extremely popular in one country: “For example, in France and Canada our Rebel [at Heart] jewellery is very popular – even more than in our home market [Germany]. While there are differences, when we are designing we never think about it because we have such wide collections. In general, the core pieces are selling quite steadily worldwide.”

Thomas Sabo was established in 1984 and currently has 2,600 international retail stockists, with more than 310 company-owned points of sales across the world.

Sabo said he didn’t realise he had created an internationally-recognised brand until around 2003 when people began enquiring about distributing the collections in other countries. He added that it was the launch of the Charm Club that really saw the brand take off.

“In a way, the company was always global because 25 years ago, I went to New York, Tokyo, Paris and many other exhibitions worldwide, but we truly realised we could be a global brand 12 to 15 years ago.”

Sabo added that this coincided with the realisation that the company’s extensive product range meant it was possible to fill a complete brand-only store with Thomas Sabo jewellery.

Sabo concluded by saying he was very pleased with the brand’s success in Australia and New Zealand over the past 10 years.

Thomas Sabo currently has more than 270 stockists in Australia and almost 20 stockists in New Zealand.

Coleby Nicholson

Former Publisher • Jeweller Magazine

Coleby Nicholson launched Jeweller in 1996 and was also publisher and managing editor from 2006 to 2019. He has covered the jewellery industry for more than 20 years and specialises in business-to-business aspects of the industry.

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