WATTENS, Austria — Swarovski wants to be more than a crystal.
The nearly $3 billion company is on a mission to maintain its dominance of the crystal market through innovation while diversifying into precious stones, beauty products and even wedding planning.
"This whole parent brand approach was really our starting point…to develop something which can go beyond crystal," Markus Langes-Swarovski, a member of the executive board and Daniel Swarovski's great-great-grandson, told WWD in an interview at corporate headquarters here.
"Business is not getting easier. There is competition out there, but we're working hard."
Swarovski crystals have adorned everything from Dorothy's red slippers in "The Wizard of Oz" to the back pockets of Seven For All Mankind jeans. The company, as multifaceted as one of its synthetic jewels, has managed to work with nearly every major designer today, including Giorgio Armani, Chanel, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander McQueen.
The firm's sponsorship of the Council of Fashion Designers of America Fashion Awards and its financial support of young designers have helped earn it style points. Nadja Swarovski, vice president of international communications, said the impact of these initiatives had extended far beyond that of traditional advertising campaigns.
"We try to create living examples of what can be done with the crystals," she said.
The company is planning a bevy of new initiatives to grow its business and boost name recognition. These include:
l Branching out into fragrances and color cosmetics. Langes-Swarovski said the company was talking to prospective beauty partners and that a deal could come this year. He went on to specify that a small beauty company would be the likely choice rather than a larger one with an already packed brand portfolio.
l Moving into higher-quality jewelry. Swarovski is considering using its gemstone subsidiary Signity to incorporate precious stones like rubies, sapphires and emeralds into its collections. This development is expected during the next one to two years.
l Staging the third edition of the flashy Fashion Rocks event in October. It will take place in London. The 2005 edition, in Monte Carlo, was also sponsored by Swarovski. The first edition was at Royal Albert Hall in London. A rock 'n' roll-theme Fashion Rocks jewelry collection is also in the works.
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