Q. Your portfolio spreads across perfume, wine, property and crystal. How does your experience in other luxury aspects help build Lalique's profile?
A. Fragrances, wine, architecture and crystal are more than just aspects of the global luxury goods industry. A perfume that lingers in the memory, an exquisite bottle of wine, a tastefully furnished house, a gleaming crystal sculpture - all of these trigger emotions and are part of the world of Lalique. My years of experience in the luxury goods industry set the pace [of development] and provided my motivation and inspiration.
Q. You had been a Lalique collector even before joining the company. How does that special sentiment influence your business decisions?
A. The passion of a collector is impossible to reconcile with the cool decision-making of an entrepreneur. The two are often in conflict. My activities as a collector therefore have little in common with my work as the chief executive of Lalique. On the other hand, an ingenious design by René Lalique is an invaluable source of inspiration, both for my design team and myself.
Q. Restructuring the manufacturer and all its employees when you first took over the company couldn't have been easy. What would you say was the most important moment or decision?
A. The key decision in the restructuring was to streamline internal processes and concentrate on essentials. The measures introduced led to the closure of unneeded logistics centres and unprofitable branches worldwide, resulting in 200 jobs being cut.
At the same time, we invested in improvements to the facilities at the world's only Lalique factory, at Wingen-an-der-Moder in Alsace, France. An efficient new electric furnace, new presses, a tooling workshop and a distribution depot were installed and put into service. The investments brought a significant improvement in the quality of the crystal and also reduced wastage. The outcome was a marked increase in efficiency, with considerable cost savings.
Q. We've noticed Lalique is collaborating with industries' top players, such as Bentley and Macallan. What were your criteria in choosing these collaborators?
A. As part of our lifestyle programme, we want to work with the world's leading brands, the top designers and architects, and the best-known artists.
The aim is to produce breathtaking projects together and tap into creative synergies.
Q. In revitalising a historical brand like Lalique, what's your take on heritage and cutting-edge technology?
A. History and tradition are extremely important to Lalique, and recognition for our satin crystal products equally so. Each piece is unique, finished by hand using centuries-old techniques.
On the other hand, we also entered into partnerships with technical innovators - for example, the celebrated musician Jean Michel Jarre and his company Jarre Technologies. We have joined forces to design a revolutionary sound system - a unique iPod dock. Jarre Technologies was responsible for the cutting-edge technology, Lalique for the design and styling.
Q. What do you believe is the future for luxury brands? What do you think the roles burgeoning markets are going to play in it?
A. Today's luxury brands have an important international role to play. The great potential lies in emerging economies, such as China and India. These are the markets of the future. Once people have satisfied their basic needs, they turn to the beautiful things in life - the luxuries.
Q. As the CEO for Lalique, what would you reckon was the most effective singular strategy that you and the company implemented?
A. The most important decision taken at Lalique in recent years was to concentrate on essentials. We focus on five areas: crystal, jewellery, fragrances, interior design and furniture, and art. These are a fair reflection of the DNA of our founder René Lalique.
Each pillar of strength is established and developed in parallel. Together, these strengths create a broadly based, economically robust foundation for our company. This five-pillar principle is also the starting point for the development of a unique international lifestyle brand.