Is the jewellery industry missing a few tricks? We spoke to Anna Grente of IJL 2018 Champagne Sponsor, Thiénot, to discover their top tips for excelling as a traditional luxury brand in our digital age.
As a family business, like many jewellery retail businesses, what are the challenges of growing and managing a luxury business in 2018?
Competition is the main challenge in our industry. For a relatively small brand like ours, we have to compete with the big players and big budgets. Today, Thiénot lacks public brand awareness because of our selective distribution and the fact that we are still young. Yet, when people taste our champagne, we can capture their attention because of its quality. [Building a brand] is a long process and a significant investment. We need time to be recognised for selling good wines at fair prices.
Luckily for Thiénot, connoisseurs like professional sommeliers have a lot of respect for the brand and – whenever they can – list Thiénot as something different on their lists, rather than the usual Champagne names.
What is the story behind Thiénot?
Thiénot was created by Alain Thiénot in 1985. As a respected wine broker in Champagne with almost 20 years experience, Alain had originally been invited by the major Champagne Houses to seek out only the rare and exceptional from growers; it was from this experience that he sowed the seeds of a dream, to establish his own Champagne House.
It took only a few years for Thiénot to be recognised as one of the great names of Champagne. This incredible journey has resulted in a boutique brand of international renown that combines luxury and innovation.
With the next generation now settled at the helm, Alain has ensured that his knowledge and fundamental beliefs in the terroir of Champagne and technical mastery have been shared by his son Stanislas and daughter Garance
Why do you think it is important, as a luxury brand, for customers to understand your heritage?
It is essential that our customers understand the heritage of our brand so we do a lot of Champagne training. Thiénot is a young house compared to most Champagne houses – 33 years as to hundreds of years for some – but Thiénot has achieved so much in such little time.
You’ve partnered with IJL for a number of years, what do you see as the parallels between luxury champagne and jewellery?
Luxury champagne and jewellery go hand in hand. Buying jewellery is an important and special moment, which we think should be enhanced by the added luxury of drinking champagne. We like International Jewellery London as we see similarities; the show shares our core values of modern, hand-crafted luxury, married with cutting-edge design and artisanal craftsmanship. It is a good fit.
Do you have any new launches that you would like to tell us about?
We have just launched a Blanc de Blancs NV. Last year, Thiénot appointed a new winemaker/cellar master Nicolas Uriel. Nicolas had previously been working closely with winemaker Laurent Fédou for nearly 10 years on the blends of Champagne Thiénot, so it was a natural progression.
The idea behind the Cuvée Thiénot Brut Blanc de Blancs is that of a handover between two cellar masters, a four-hand partition between Laurent Fédou and Nicolas Uriel, the transmission of a unique know-how from a master to his pupil.