Portrait of Axel Grivory, founder of SPRINGER & FERSEN
Axel Grivory, alumnus of the 2001 Luxury Brand Marketing and International Management MBA, had at the time written his dissertation on the watchmaking sector. Today, founder of his own watch brand, he tells us about his experience at Sup de Luxe and his life as an entrepreneur.
Tell us about your experience at Sup de Luxe. Why did you choose our school?
Sup de Luxe remains today, a very good memory. In 2000, I had just graduated from a Franco-American business school and I was looking for a postgraduate degree to enhance my career. The luxury sector was an obvious choice for me.
Indeed, my father having founded a perfume company and my mother having been the director of a fashion house, I developed a strong taste for luxury, not only its products but also its stakes as an economic sector and its particularities in terms of marketing, intellectual and industrial property, as well as a certain fascination for the notion of luxury in its transversal and philosophical aspects.
Already at the time, Sup de Luxe was able to establish itself as the reference training course in the sector, thanks to the support of Alain-Dominique Perrin, who gave the institute a credibility that its competitors did not necessarily have. Certainly, benefiting from Cartier's facilities and receiving testimonials from eminent decision-makers in the sector was certainly very profitable.
What is your best memory of your Sup de Luxe experience?
The whole year at Sup de luxe has been great, but a few key milestones remain particularly pleasant memories.
I'm thinking in particular of the integration weekend in Deauville where we stayed at Normandy. With three friends from the class, we even extended the weekend in Honfleur.
Another moment marked me. The whole class went to Switzerland to visit the SIHH, an ultra-closed trade show reserved for the professions of the Haute Horlogerie. At the time, my ambition was already to work in this sector, so to have the opportunity to enter what I considered to be the holy of holies was extraordinary.
And then, of course, the graduation ceremony at the Cercle de l'Union Interalliée where I was able to talk with Carlos Rosillo, co-founder of Bell & Ross.
Tell us about your career and its evolution from school leaving to today?
When I graduated from Sup de Luxe, I had the opportunity to join the family company (COFINLUXE, Les Parfums Salvador Dali). The Internet was beginning to grow to the point where one of the recurring themes of the year at Sup de Luxe had been "luxury and the Internet". It so happened that at the time COFINLUXE did not have a website and I was asked to lead the project.
Subsequently, COFINLUXE signed the MORGAN perfume license. The site was ready and I was available for a new mission. This was the first license from COFINLUXE fashion. There was an opportunity to develop marketing and sales synergies with Morgan Mode distributors and this is what I did until I took over as Area Manager, first for Asia Pacific, then for 5 years, Eastern Europe and Russia, which was our biggest market at the time, and finally the Americas (North, South and Caribbean) for 8 years.
In 2016, I wanted to go back to school and I finished an Executive MBA during which I left COFINLUXE. After graduation, after a period of reflection, I decided to found my own company.
How have the skills you have acquired been useful to you in your professional career?
I think that the most important thing to remember about teaching at Sup de Luxe is the fundamental difference between marketing in its general sense and marketing applied to luxury. The first identifies a pre-existing need, the second creates the need.
On the other hand, Sup de Luxe makes it easier to go through the other side of the mirror, to paraphrase Lewis Carol.
In fact, I come across a lot of people who want to work in luxury because they are clients of luxury brands or would like to become one.
In order to have that little bit of extra soul that we all love, companies in the luxury sector have the same manufacturing, regulatory, profitability, organisational, structural and competitive constraints as all companies in the world, with the added requirement of creativity and excellence.
Sup de luxe allowed me to better understand all these notions and to apply them to luxury.
Explain your vision of luxury in a single sentence.
Luxury is that part of superfluity which is indispensable to us.
Why did you choose to launch your brand?
It was almost a no-brainer. I was born into a family of entrepreneurs and creative people and I developed a product sensibility from a very young age. To have your own brand is to give yourself the opportunity to express your own vision.
Already at Sup de Luxe, my end-of-year thesis presented a Business Plan for the foundation of a watchmaking brand. Almost twenty years later, I am realising my dream.
What can we wish you for the rest of your career?
May the launch of SPRINGER & FERSEN be a success and may my Rangiroa World Diver watch, in which I have put a lot of myself, please many people, whether they are watch enthusiasts or design fans. I would like to give my brand its own identity and not just be "just another brand".
What is the concept and ambitions of your brand?
SPRINGER & FERSEN is conceived as a travel diary in which each step is materialized in a timepiece that distinguishes itself by its design, the complications it offers or the materials it is made of. Thus, the design of the case of the Rangiroa World Diver (RWD), inspired by the atoll of Rangiroa in the Tuamotu archipelago, is the stylized body of a manta ray. To symbolise the seabed, I wanted it to be a diver's watch that is water-resistant to 300m, and because Polynesia is at the edge of our globe, I have equipped RWD with a Swisstech S24 045 movement with a dual Time GMT function.
The ambition of Springer and Fersen is to be a brand respected for its creativity and the quality of its products. In the longer term, I would like to be distributed worldwide and make S&F a global brand.
What's the latest news about your company?
SPRINGER & FERSEN was supposed to exhibit for the first time in Basel this year, unfortunately Baselworld was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, I am working with a business development professional to expand internationally.
In addition, I have developed with COFINLUXE, a perfume license and a first line of 5 fragrances will be launched soon on the niche and high perfumery market.
In addition, I'm working with a press agent to get articles in the specialized press as soon as September.
Finally, our first creation, Rangiroa World Diver, is available for pre-order on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform and soon on our website www.springeretfersen.fr.