Nadja Swarovski Reveals Why Women Make Amazing Business Partners
This astute business woman joined her family business in 1995, one century after her great-great- grandfather, Daniel Swarovski, founded the company.
Swarovski now sits on the executive board, which she joined in 2011, alongside four cousins. She is the only female executive.
Being such a valuable part of the Swarovski business, she doesn’t have that much time for anything else. To her, time is a priceless luxury. Thankfully, Huffington Post managed to interview this lovely lady. Here is how it went down:
Did you always know that you were going to join the family business?
I always had a strong affinity as a child to join the business but I never really knew I was going to be part of it.
I worked in both the arts and fashion sector before joining the business including at Sotheby’s, Gagosian Gallery, Eleanor Lambert Ltd. and Marilyn Evans.
The “aha!” moment came when I was working for Marilyn Evans (fashion PR) in New York City, where I was also representing clients such as Valentino, Trussardi and Missoni who are European family-owned companies.
I thought to myself: “Well we also have our own business based in Europe, that actually has its roots in fashion. So why shouldn’t I use my time, effort and energy promoting that family business?”
I started to look at Swarovski New York initially and then I moved to Hong Kong for 18 months, where I worked within every division of Swarovski.
I travelled a lot in Asia for work, visiting the jewellery manufacturing plants in China. And eventually found myself back in New York City, opening a Swarovski showroom.
You’ve been credited with being instrumental in changing the direction of Swarovski in 1995, what did you do?
Well, part of my mission was to bring Swarovski back to the forefront of fashion.
I grew up with my grandfather telling me stories about meeting with Coco Chanel and Christian Dior and when I joined Swarovski I was like: “Oh my gosh there are no relationships with the fashion industry.” That then became my mission and my vision – to work more closely with fashion designers.
The equivalent of my grandfather working with Dior, in my generation, was when we worked with Alexander McQueen.
He was one of the first fashion designers that we supported. He was a young artist that needed financial support so we gave him that, but we also gave him this very glamorous material called crystal.
And it was then that Alexander McQueen was able to demonstrate such a beautiful use of crystal within fashion that had a tremendous impact on the rest of the fashion industry. People wanted to copy him.
Do you think businesses benefit more from having women in them?
Yes, totally. Women can be competitive. But what women also bring to the table is the sixth sense, this extra dimension, the engine of caring.
It also helps if you can actually relate to the product that you’re creating and selling.
When you’re really busy, how do you manage to find balance in your life? Do you think that it is important?
Yes it is important to have that balance in your life, I think what’s very important for any individual to understand is how to charge our batteries. For me, that means to calm down, stay quiet and mentally digest what is going on in the business.
Also it’s important to restore the body. Sleeping is great, again that has to be timed into one’s schedule and arranged accordingly. If you want to have energy, you have to have sleep.
But it’s also good to energise the body through the right nutrition and exercise. I think exercise and actually being out in nature, to me, is one of the greatest things.
Spending time with the children is also really important. It’s a great reality check and having a family really puts any kind of critical business issue into perspective.
Tell us more about Women for Women International – what inspired you to join and what do you hope to get out of it?
The original founder Zainab inspired me to join as she has an amazing life story and lived with a motto that is truly inspiring.
The way they inspire the women that they support to see themselves not as victims but as survivors is incredible.
The fact that they enable affected women to rebuild their lives is so formidable.
The positive impact that a small amount of support can have is incredible and it is such a honour to be a part of this organisation that’s doing such good in the world.
Source: Huffington Post