A major restructuring of one of the world’s most prestigious fashion accessory brands is underway and, with it, many exciting new ideas are being introduced or revitalized in the industry. The exclusive, very British Asprey brand is being refashioned back to its original selectivity.
Many products are being removed, and others are being upgraded. The market reach is also being cut back from where it has recently been, as the newest owner – John Rigas of Sciens Capital Management — seeks to service only the world’s wealthiest and most demanding clientele.
This might seem a questionable time to go after such a high end market, just when global economic problems are reaching all levels of society, but that apparently hasn’t affected Asprey. Even with the termination of many peripheral product categories, Asprey’s sales have remained consistent for the last three years under Rigas’ tutorage and jewelry sales have actually jumped up 20 percent in the same time period. Rigas, it seems, is doing something very right, indeed.
Rigas talks enthusiastically about refocusing the brand. “Luxury today has to be something refined, exclusive, and innovative,” he contends, underwriting the belief that for retail really to succeed in today’s market, it has to know who it is and where it is going.
Rigas bought Asprey from Lawrence Stroll, Silas Chou, and Edgar Bronfman, Jr,, who had expanded the brand, and opened store after store in what one industry publication calls “one of luxury’s most dramatic tales of a revival gone wrong.” Now, all of that is changing.
The enlivened Asprey’s products have been cut back to jewelry, small leather goods, and bridal wear. As Rigas sees it, the bridal business is “very brisk.” Of course, Asprey’s engagement and wedding rings are anything but modestly priced, starting as they do at about $3,000 and soaring up from there. The average range for jewelry in general is $5,000 to $25,000.
—How this relates to the costume/fashion accessories field isn’t too hard to grasp, however. Trends start at the top. If it is hot at Cartier (or Asprey) today, it will almost certainly bubble up to prominence at more affordable product levels tomorrow.
Asprey also sells magnificent colored diamonds and other precious stones. After all, Rigas says, this is where royal families world wide purchase handmade crowns, coronets, and scepters. The company also sells such one-of-a-kind pieces as a 90-carat sapphire necklace and 18th century emerald-and-pearl necklaces once worn by maharajas.
–Oh, yes, as you can see, this is really exclusivity at its highest!
YOU CAN ENJOY A WIDE SELECTION OF GORGEOUS TIARAS AND CROWNS WITHOUT THE HIGH ASPREY PRICE TAG. CHECK THESE OUT:
- Exquisite rhinestone tiara with abundant sparkle.
- Sweet Sixteen rhinestone tiara – for birthday or prom!
Riga has also rehired many of the top leather and metal craftsmen who worked for Asprey before the takeover by Stroll and Chou. Among other things, the firm is rolling out a redesigned collection of handbags in slim crocodile as well as a rich grouping of silver-embellished satin clutches and sleek leather day bags, all with a new 1781 logo.
Rigas says he plans to increase the firm’s business by 50 percent in the next two years. He has already reduced corporate costs by 60 percent. The new frugality is apparently key to high-moneyed success!
Many of the shop-in-shop and travel related retail operations around the world have even been closed, at a time when other emporiums are just beginning to branch out into these venues. But Rigas calls those operations “business models of the past.”
Asprey presently operates a new Bond Street store in London and a classy 6,000 square foot store on Madison Avenue. It also has stores in Saint Moritz, Beverly Hills, and Miami. Shop-in-shops continue in Japan as well as franchises in Dubai.
JUST IN CASE YOU CAN’T QUITE MAKE IT TO DUBAI THIS YEAR, DON’T WORRY! WE HAVE PLENTY OF APPEALING JEWELRY RIGHT HERE:
- Howlite earrings in dyed coral. Eye-catching!
- 3-layered necklace of freshwater pearls. Unmistakable quality.