Valerie Messika, Founder and Creative Director of jewellery brand Messika Paris, discusses the ways that the luxury jewellery market is adapting to a new generation of consumers.
Messika Founder and Creative Director sits down with A&E
The recent Arab Luxury World Summit in Dubai had a strong focus on digital transformation and how it is affecting luxury companies in today’s market. The sector is going through a big change as new technology comes into play and a generational switch in consumer behaviour is resulting in a necessary overhaul of business models. Businesses must adapt to these changes quickly in order to survive in a competitive environment. Of course many will fail, but there will also be those who come out as leaders in this new era of the market.
One of those leading the change is Valerie Messika. The Founder and Creative Director of Messika Paris started her brand in 2000 and it has become one of the fastest-growing luxury jewellery brands in the world. Messika’s unique approach to jewellery design makes it feminine yet cool in a market that is often saturated with more classic, traditional pieces. This has seen Messika’s designs attract the attention of a young market including many celebrities who have helped to grow the brand’s profile.
As Valérie Messika visits the Middle East she discusses with A&E how the brand has grown so quickly and the ways in which it has adapted to meet the needs of today’s market and ensured the continual growth of the company.
What is your experience of being here in Dubai for Arab Luxury World?
It’s a good experience. I’m challenging myself because I’m not a very good speaker in front of a lot of people but it was a great opportunity and more of a friendly conversation so that was quite easy, to be honest. I feel that there is a lot of warmth and love for the brand in the region. It’s a great region for Messika because it was the first place I opened a store outside of Europe and we are opening more stores here so it is a place that is really special to me.
What does luxury mean to you and your brand?
There are so many different meanings behind luxury. When I talk about luxury for my brand it is about details. Details are very important in the luxury industry as people pay a lot of attention to them in the conception of the jewellery and the way it is presented in the stores. They are very sensitive to this and I think it is part of being a luxury brand. For me as a person, luxury is the freedom to do whatever I love during the day. The luxury for me is doing the thing that is my passion and combining it with the dedication to my children while developing my brand all over the world. I travel with them as I want them to discover the world and share it with them, much like my experience when growing up.
What makes your brand unique?
When I launched my brand it was to break the codes of tradition in the diamond world. What people love about Messika is the fact that you can wear diamond jewellery every day and be cool, sexy and feminine all at the same time. It brings you light and completes your outfit. It’s more about having an allure or attitude, whereas traditional jewellery is more about heritage, something that you have for a special occasion. So I think that we break this code and we bring more of a fashion vibe to the diamond world and I think this is what makes people love the brand.
How are new technologies revolutionising the face of your brand?
For a brand like Messika that is luxury but also very contemporary and modern, we need to be constantly updating ourselves with new technology. Instagram, for example, is very strong for us because it is a new way of having a connection with our consumers. You can show them things that ten years ago you couldn’t. For a brand like Messika, there is really an obligation to be at the forefront of using new technology.
What do you do to ensure your brand stands out amongst others?
My strategy is to always be in the mind of the people who are stylish. We are very lucky in the way that stylists love Messika because they think it’s very delicate and also very cool. We have a cool attitude and people love that. What is very powerful for the brand is that so many different types of women love wearing Messika because it gives them so many occasions to embody the brand in different ways. Which is a big gift for me.
What aspects of the business did you focus on at the Arab Luxury World Summit?
I think what I want to express was how such a young brand can have its own place in an industry that’s so traditional. I wanted to express the way we just came up in an empty space in the luxury jewellery world and we are becoming a small phenomenon gaining a legacy in such a short time. I think it is because we knew what women were expecting of the industry.
What are the challenges you are facing when it comes to implementing the right technologies to reach your customers?
We always need to be up to date. Things are moving so fast that even something that was up to date a year ago is out of date now. There are so many things that we need to keep up with and this is very challenging for the brand. At the same time, we are still developing Messika and we are moving so fast – we are over 200 people now – so the growth is so fast and we need to continue to keep in line with the right trends, in the right direction and develop throughout the world. That for me is a big challenge and probably one of the most complicated parts in my business career.
In your opinion what kind of brands will survive in this digital transformation?
If you are not digital you cannot survive today because quite simply, the customers won’t see you. Customers are seeing so many brands and images and you can see from the way people use their phones, they see thousands of images every day. So we have to catch the right person at the right moment which is not always easy. The time concentration of people is decreasing so we have to change all of our communication to fit according to this and think in a totally different way. If you don’t adapt you won’t survive.
Do you think that globalisation and economic trends affect the luxury concept of the brand?
No, because the success of Messkia is only one concept. Our concept is diamonds and being feminine and having an attitude. Whereas diamonds used to be a way to say to others how much money you have – the bigger the diamond would signify how rich you are, Messika is not about that, it’s about style, femininity and self- confidence. When I am opening in the Middle East, for example, I do try to create some products just for that region and the same for the United States or Europe. In any communication around the world, you have to respect the tradition of the countries and this is what I love most about my job – understanding and respecting all the different cultures. I’m building my company very instinctively which gives me the right to adapt myself. The world is changing so fast that you can easily make mistakes, so I don’t plan too far ahead.
What do you say ‘no’ to?
I’m very bad at saying no, I’m always saying yes! I am a very passionate person so when I do say no it is because it is something that is not respecting myself or it is becoming dangerous for me or my family. At that stage, I become clear about saying no.
What are you working on for the coming year?
We are opening in China which is really big. More than ten boutiques which are a huge development for us. My team is so exhausted from this fast development. I love them so much and I have to say thank you to them because they are doing their best, under pressure but full of love. Asia is a big challenge for me. I also have a new advertising campaign launching this month which will be another step forward in terms of the message we are trying to give.
What is a book you’ve read that inspired you?
The Little Prince. It is such a beautiful story with so many messages within it. My favourite message from the book is ‘you see not with your eyes but with your heart’.
Interviewed by Ruba Nesly