Pandora's chief creative officer, Stephen Fairchild, on why women collect jewellery
Go bling or go home
Just one more. Any self-confessed chocolate junkie will tell herself when reaching for the next piece of candy — and such is the burning desire Pandora has stoked in girls and women the world over. Picking up one of their stackable rings or charms is like tumbling down a rabbit hole leading to a collector's wonderland. Star signs, travel, romance and even cupcakes if you have a sweet tooth, are represented in their mammoth range designed to speak to all women — no matter where they're from.
Ever since the tubular charm bracelets rose to prominence of epic proportions — c'mon, we all know at least one person who's obssessed with them, it begged the question: What made Pandora so special? Stephen Fairchild, chief creative officer of the Danish jewellery company, tells us about desires, emotions and self-expression.
Tell us about Pandora's history and how and when it came to launch the now iconic charm bracelet.
Pandora was founded in Copenhagen in 1982 by Danish goldsmith Per Enevoldsen and his wife. Since then, Pandora has made the exceptional journey from a local Danish jeweller's shop to one of the largest jewellery brands. The idea of developing a charm bracelet concept that women could style in a personal way, became a reality in 2000, when the brand launched its signature bracelet. That heralded its international breakthrough and very quickly, the company expanded into important new markets such as the USA, Canada, Australia and Germany.
With Pandora, purchasing a piece of jewellery goes beyond the tangible aspect of simpy owning it. In your opinion, what else does it offer?
We truly believe that each and every woman is unique and through our jewellery, we inspire women all over the world to share their unforgettable moments and express their individuality and inner values. We want to offer women the opportunity to mix and match as it fits their personal style. This was also the inspiration behind #TheLookOfYou campaign where we worked with global stylists like Caroline Issa.
What do you think drives the desire to collect charms and stackable rings?
Jewellery has always been, and will always be, very personal. Women collect jewellery to express moments in life, but also to create their own personal and individual style; they collect jewellery to express themselves
From a design perspective, how have you ensured that Pandora builds an emotional connection with its customers?
Our mission has always been to celebrate women all over the world. From day one, we have really wanted to inspire women to connect and talk with us, and each other. To do this, we have always been listening to and been inspired by women when developing our design.
Around 8.7 million fans on our global and local Facebook pages share with us life moments, ideas and inspiration
The company prides itself on creating a continuous dialogue with consumers whenit comes to design. How are they part of the process?
You can say we are set on a mission to create a global community of women. The Internet was, and still is, the perfect platform for us to connect to women from six continents worldwide. Not only do we have more than 100 millions of visits in a year on our consumer website, but our Pandora Club currently has close to 9 million members and we have a very strong presence on social media. Facebook has proven to be the perfect platform for strengthening the emotional connection with our consumers. Around 8.7 million fans on our global and local Facebook pages share with us life moments, ideas and inspiration.
What does self-expression, creativity and individuality mean to you?
They mean everything. Being respected and seen as an individual, having the opportunity for personal expression, and at the same time enjoy being creative — no person could ask for more. As the same time, self-expression, creativity and individuality should also be valued with respect for other people. It is important that we all take care of each other, and work together as a team, and not only think of ourselves.
How do you then ensure that through jewellery, consumers are able to express themselves in those aspects?
Pandora has been celebrating women's uniqueness for more than 30 years and our jewellery universe has evolved with this journey. Each season, we take popular designs to even greater heights with new craftsmanship innovations and introduce fresh designs, which can be styled together with other pieces from past or present collections. Our customers know that they can use our jewellery as a form of personal expression or as a gift of appreciation that is full of meaning — and that the jewellery will always be special and relevant to them.
What or who, inspires you?
The design team finds inspiration everywhere, in art, music, films, nature, from women and cultural trends happening around the world — every minute during the day gives us inspiration. For fall/winter 2016, we wanted to celebrate luxury to create an authentic and time-honoured feeling, and reinterpret the beauty of times past. Our unique view of vintage is ingrained in each piece of jewellery and blended with elements of personalisation, multifaceted features, versatility, longevity and value.
In terms of craft, are there special processes taken to ensure quality and for the designs to come to life as accurately as possible?
We have the greatest respect for the heritage of bespoke jewellery craftsmanship. Each piece is created using high-end jewellery craftsmanship techniques in the traditional way. Our craftspeople use the same techniques that goldsmiths use and apply the same techniques as diamond setters when they set stones by hand. We are constantly inspired to push the boundaries of jewellery design and craftsmanship, and introduce exciting new details, finishes, cuts and unique combinations so that each collection is filled with spirit, style and storytelling.
Your work at Pandora provides rewarding experiences for its customers. What in turn is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
The most rewarding is to see women wear our jewellery and how they style it. It's also incredibly rewarding to follow how they share and talk about our jewellery on social media sites.
More about Pandora.