“No-name products are seen as ‘cheap’ products”
Interview: displaysolutions AG
Hello, Mr Wolf. Thank you for allowing us to interview you.
Pforzheim is a renowned jewellery manufacturing area in Germany. Why does the luxury goods industry have such a long tradition in Pforzheim and the surrounding area?
Artur Wolf: Pforzheim became world-famous through the jewellery and watch industry, founded in 1767 by Karl Friedrich, Margrave of Baden. Hence the name “gold city” or “gold, jewellery and watch city”. About 75 per cent of German jewellery is produced in the city. In addition, Pforzheim has the only goldsmith and watchmaker school in Germany. Finally, the complete infrastructure for the supply chain is located in Pforzheim.
Was jewellery making a trade in your family or did your own career aspirations lead you to it?
At the time of my apprenticeship, the Pforzheim jewellery industry was still booming and many school graduates were contacted directly by the industry – as was I. After looking at the various job profiles, I decided on an apprenticeship to become a steel engraver. After completing the apprenticeship, I continued my training to become a master craftsman. These craftsmanship skills are still useful today in the development of our products.
Are certain production steps in your company still carried out by hand? How important is craftsmanship today in industrially produced jewellery making?
Thanks to new techniques, such as CNC machining, some production steps have been almost completely automated in recent years. Our customers demand a high degree of precision and repeat accuracy, which, however, does not mean that we can do without the work done by hand. In particular, the hand polishing of our products, which is carried out by specialists with many years of experience, is irreplaceable.
Certain pieces of jewellery from your collection are produced in various materials. Can you handle the processing of different materials internally or are you dependent on external partners?
In our company, we carry out all development-related work independently. Even testing, and work on new, non-jewellery-specific materials. All mechanical components of our products are manufactured internally using specially designed tools and machines to ensure that they function perfectly. Of course, we also rely on external service providers, for example to deal with production spikes.
Where do you think the trend in jewellery production is going?
The trend will most likely go increasingly in the direction of custom-made jewellery. This means that in the future, end customers will design or construct the desired jewellery themselves, but leave the actual production to a specialist. In the brand segment, new technologies will be introduced which will enable us to react quickly and flexibly to customer requests in smaller quantities and will avoid the need to construct complex tools. In pieces that are produced in higher quantities, however, the classical production methods will endure.
How did you acquire the licence from the Lanvin brand?
In the past, Stahl Germany was responsible for the complete development and production of the men’s jewellery segment for LANVIN PARIS. However, actual cooperation took place via a sales partner based in Paris, which unfortunately had to close. It therefore made sense to merge the production and distribution, which the management of LANVIN thought was a great idea. Therefore, we were able to sign a long-term licensing agreement.
How important is an internationally renowned brand in the jewellery production sector?
Very important! Only through the high standards for the development and quality of the branded products is production in Germany even possible, considering the country’s higher wage level. Furthermore, the buying behaviour of end customers, especially in Asia, has changed so much that no-name products are considered “cheap” products. In addition, a brand-name product has become a status symbol.
How did you hear of displaysolutions AG? Were we recommended to you?
displaysolutions was recommended to us as a powerful, reliable partner.
How was the cooperation with displaysolutions AG structured? Would you recommend us? What were you particularly satisfied with?
We would absolutely and unconditionally recommend displaysolutions.
Mr Wolf, thank you very much for your time and the insights you have shared with us.