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Creating a shining example of quality

Updated: 2012-11-29 09:22
By Wang Wen ( China Daily)

Jewelry maker seeks to expand horizons for products, cash in on Chinese culture

Guillaume P. Brochard, chief executive officer and co-founder of Qeelin, a jewelry brand from Hong Kong, wants his creations to be "China's national hero" in the industry.

"I want Qeelin in China to be just like Tiffany in the US and Bulgari in Italy," the Frenchman told China Daily about his ambition, saying that it will characterize Chinese values.

Creating a shining example of quality

Visitors at an international luxury jewelry exhibition in Beijing. As Chinese culture gets more popular around the world, and Chinese customers are becoming more and more important to international luxury brands, Chinese elements are no longer rare in luxury items. [Photo/China Daily] 

"It is not just for Chinese people but also for people all around the world."

In order to achieve his desire, Brochard and his business partner are working on penetrating overseas markets. "Qeelin will continue to expand in the UK, France and also try to develop in the US and Middle East in the next two to three years," Brochard said. The brand now has 14 boutiques in the United Kingdom, France and China.

Unlike foreign luxury brands, which turned their attention to Chinese customers only in recent years, the Chinese jewelry maker has been targeting the international market since it was launched.

Qeelin's first boutique was opened in Paris in 2004. Half of Qeelin's customers are now from overseas, Brochard said.

Brochard was invited to co-establish the jewelry brand in 2004 but his first trip to China was in 1987, after he graduated from a college in Paris.

The 47-year-old Frenchman said he has strong emotions regarding China and Chinese culture.

"I do not know why, but as soon as I graduated from the college I told myself to go to China," he said.

He worked for an automobile company for two years in the mainland from 1987.

Brochard went to Hong Kong in the 1990s after working in many other places including the United States and the Middle East. He has lived in Shanghai since 2008, where he met his wife - a Chinese designer.

The connection with China was an important reason for Brochard's business partner to invite him to join together.

Brochard "had been working in China for a long while before we established Qeelin", said Dennis Chan, creative director of Qeelin, the partner.

"We work very well together," said Chan, who is from Hong Kong and used to live in Europe. "There is no cultural difference between us."

Chan was a jewelry designer and a client of Brochard when he worked for a watch manufacturer in Switzerland.

"I trust his sense regarding luxury items because I knew he was a watch collector with good taste," Brochard said.

Brochard's rich working experience also helps him greatly in running his own business.

"He is strong in business development," Brochard's partner said.

Brochard used to work in different industries, including automobiles and luxury watches, and in different countries and regions.

"My work experience opened my mind and taught me to know more about customers in different places," Brochard said.

Building a worldwide social network through his 20-plus years of work experience has also helped Brochard to promote Qeelin worldwide.

However, it is not easy to build up a totally new luxury brand, especially a Chinese brand.

Q+A: Guillaume P. Brochard

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