Albert Mouhadab, VP of Milor Group, Jewellery Innovators
Albert Mouhadab, dynamic and creative Vice President of leading Italian jewellery company Milor, is not one for standing still. “In today's market – and believe me, the jewellery market is not in good shape - you have to be a leader, not a follower. You must have creative passion, to keep evolving and to invest in new development and research.”
The Milor Group was established in 1955 by Josef Mouhadab, Albert's father, with the jewellery business coming to the forefront in 1979. Albert runs the company with his three brothers and sees his role as championing R&D, expanding into other markets and diversifying. “Diversification is always necessary if a company is to develop and invest in the future.”
Milor Group is a medium size, third generation company with over 80 employees. They are based in Milan and specialize in making contemporary jewellery from gold, silver, steel and bronze, with a focus on innovative blends and unique alloys. A retail and TV chain biggest supplier for 27 years, they now also have their own brands and have moved away from the pure wholesale business that they used to focus on. Over the years, Milor Group has become a by-word for Italian style and excellence, synonymous with the Made-in-Italy brand and the high quality that goes with it. “People expect the best from an Italian company. We understand our customer and we develop for the customer. Service is in our DNA,” explains Albert.
Milor's latest innovations include 3D machinery and an in-house lab, drastically slashing the time required to create prototypes for the custom pieces the company is now renowned for. They have also patented a bronze unique blend which has an outstanding rosé feature, and super long anti-tarnish resistance. Their “new baby” is 950 silver, purer than the standard 925 and yet still strong enough to work with, thanks to its platinum coating.
With their proactive approach and belief in expansion and diversification, it is hardly surprising that Milor Group set his sights on building the company's e-commerce business targeting new overseas markets, including China. But this proved to be quite a challenging exercise as the search was time consuming. That is when Milor decided to call in BEV.
“They were very accommodating and professional,” says Albert. “They asked me what our objectives were and then put together a meeting with some Chinese contacts who came to visit our company. I got the impression the guys from BEV were genuinely interested in helping us and our business. They were not at all pushy, just dedicated and very helpful.”
Albert has had meetings with Chinese contacts introduced by BEV and is already seeing some results. “These things take time, obviously. One bought from us and then stopped but a second is starting to buy from us and we are hopeful we can develop this into something viable.”
Milor liked the fact BEV was flexible. “We told them immediately that we did not need an agent, a middle man. BEV was open to negotiating a flexible approach based on tailored solutions according to customer, which I appreciated very much. They made it very easy for us to do business with them.”
One thing that Albert liked in particular was that BEV introduced Milor to potential Chinese clients that were on the pipeline. “I knew about the obvious people to get in touch with – the institutional players, if you like. But I had no idea, for example, that there were Chinese companies in Italy, including here in Milan, helping businesses like ours get into the Chinese market. Ben of BEV introduced our Company to some of those. He also gave us some very good information about Chinese web platforms. He suggested that we should think laterally and consider a site that isn't connected with jewellery at all, but which has 600 million subscribers. Maybe some will buy jewellery, maybe they won't. But it could be a good move to hook a platform like that.”
Albert emphasizes the fact he is a long term strategist rather than a short term thinker. He knows building this new customer base will take time and patience, but he is passionate about producing the best products possible and getting those products to a global market. “After the crisis, there were no big new developments. We Italians have to start making developments, to lead the field. If there are no new developments then small businesses suffer, and Italy is a country with a lot of small and medium size businesses. That is why we need to keep developing and investing in new research. That is what makes a resilient company.”
Clearly, the company's strategy is paying dividends. This year they will be exhibiting for the first time in Baselworld 2016, one of the biggest watch and jewellery shows in the world, proof positive that they are perceived as a high end brand in their own right. And their brand Bronzallure MILANO has just been shortlisted in the 2016 UK Jewellery Awards in the Brands to Watch category.
Maybe it is only a matter of time before they are exhibiting and winning jewellery awards in China too.