In the late 1800s Daoud Mouawad left his home in Lebanon to train in the art of watch-making in the United States.
Over a century later and four generations on, his jewellery has become a favourite of everyone — from the Saudi royal family to celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez and Paris Hilton.Daoud's son, Fiaz Mouawad, took the business from Lebanon to Saudi Arabia by setting up their first international jewellery and watch store there.
Next in line, Robert Mouawad brought the business into the international spectrum by setting up factories in Asia, Europe and an office in Switzerland. Fred and Pascal make up the fourth generation running the company, having taken over almost two years ago.
"Our brand has been built up on years of trust. Jewellers are very much like a family doctor," Fred Mouawad said. "Every family has their doctor which they trust and always go to. It's the same with jewellers, they stick with a company they trust."
"Our goal is to keep it as a family business. However, life is very fragile and you cannot plan for the fifth generation, you never know what will happen," he said.
"We're not taking the company public anytime soon, what we want to do is continue the heritage and see where we end up in the next few years. I have children and if they're interested they can carry it on."
The company now has more than 15 retail outlets in Europe, America, Asia and the Middle East. However, 60 per cent of their sales still originate from the Middle East, with 40 per cent coming from their other markets.The jeweller has established its reputation through its acquisitions of some of the world's biggest diamonds including the Queen of Holland, once the largest cut diamond in the world, Taylor Burton, Jubilee and Excelsior.
The company is looking to double its profits this year with a re-branding initiative.
"We've been working on the new boutique generation of jewellery priced between $1,000 (Dh3,673) to $1,500 where pieces are more affordable," he said.
The jewellery business has become very personal. Utilising this, the company has started building stories around its collections.The company will celebrate its first anniversary in the UAE in November and so far the company is happy with their single location at Dubai Mall.
"Dubai is a very competitive market. It's healthy. We like it because it keeps us alert, it allows us to also see what other people are doing in the market, what works [and] what doesn't work. In many ways it's market intelligence as well," Fred Mouawad said.
As part of its expansion plans, Mouawad will open three new boutiques in Qatar, Doha, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait, completing its coverage in the Middle East over the next couple of years.
They are also looking at increasing their Asian footprint by eventually opening in China, India and Thailand. Looking ahead, the jeweller is also looking at launching its own watch brand by early 2012."We do have a standard recognition and reputation and we believe if we launched our own watch, a lot of people would be interested," said Mouawad.Mouawad is forging ahead in tough times as skyrocketing prices of gold and diamonds have seen the price of jewellery go up considerably.
However, this has not affected the company's high-end buyers.
"I do believe that demand will stay strong and that as currency weakens people will take refuge in diamonds and gold," Fred Mouawad said.
From / Gulf News