By  on December 24, 2008

BEVERLY HILLS — Michael Beaudry’s evolution from diamond cutter to jewelry designer to budding lifestyle brand architect reached a new milestone this month with the opening of his first flagship here.

Beaudry, who owns his namesake brand, settled on the 800-square-foot space at the Montage Beverly Hills hotel after searching the last few years for the right spot in the area. The store is the first of what he hopes to be a network of five to six Beaudry salons in the next three years.

“The opportunity to be located in the Montage was one that I couldn’t resist,” Beaudry said. “We wanted something that was destination, that was prestigious but not necessarily on Rodeo [Drive]. Having it be not so accessible has a cachet that works for us.”

He estimated the store would generate $5 million to $10 million in first-year revenues, although he cautioned projections are difficult given the economic climate. Beaudry has sought the help of Alexander L. Cappello, managing director of Santa Monica, Calif.-based Cappello Capital Corp., to assist in financing his growth plan for the brand and seeking potential strategic partnerships. “While capital is difficult to raise now, there are companies interested in taking market share and risk,” he said.

The Beverly Hills unit is a stage for the expanding Beaudry brand, which launched timepieces ranging from $60,000 to $195,000 in April and home goods ranging from $2,000 to several hundred thousand dollars this month, coinciding with the opening of the store. Almost everything in the store is for sale, from the $25,000 inlaid 17th-century Maltese stone floor centerpiece to the French silk light sconces that range from $2,000 to $16,000.

Designed by Beaudry in what he called a “romantic grandeur” style, the space is separated into three sections — a foyer, gallery and library — purposely referencing home layouts to give it a residential sensibility. The store has white walls, walnut and stone flooring, mahogany ceilings, upright jewelry cases in antique white with accents evoking jewelry filigree, and horizontal jewelry cases of Burlwood recalling Beaudry’s jewelry boxes.

“We wanted it to be dreamy and luxurious, without going too far over the top,” Beaudry said. “We want it to be as detailed and as luxurious as the jewelry.”

Beaudry, whose family history in Los Angeles can be traced to the 1840s, followed his uncle Raymond’s footsteps into diamond cutting and opened a factory in downtown Los Angeles in the mid-Eighties. In the early Nineties, he began importing and exporting stones before trying his hand at jewelry design in the late Nineties.

“I started seeing my stones going into settings that were not very interesting, not very secure or both,” he said. “I started to think, Why not innovate a little bit and create mountings that were interesting and more artistic and sculptural like a diamond is sculptural?”

As Beaudry’s design skills matured, he moved beyond the rings for which he initially became known. In the store, the jewelry selection is largely grouped into three categories: the opening price point Beautique collection mostly from $2,500 to $20,000, the Signature collection from $15,000 to $30,000 and the Couture collection that runs into the several millions of dollars.

Beaudry, 42, views his brand as developing into a lifestyle resource that’s embodied by him and his wife Laura, whom he met five years ago when she came to work at Beaudry and who now is the face of the brand’s ads.

Before this year, Beaudry said the brand, which sells to 38 Neiman Marcus stores and 40 independent retailers, was experiencing year-over-year growth in excess of 25 percent.

“We would like to get back on track to that growth plan,” he said. “We don’t necessarily expect to do that business right away. The growth plan has to have a reasonable leash for the time it takes to gain momentum.”

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