Buccellati is an Italian family enterprise that has been creating exclusive jewelry, silver and watches since 1919. Buccellati is recognizable by its craftsmanship: the rich texture, the lace-like designs, the precise engravings, the atypical gemstones, all set in harmonic ensembles.
After becoming one of the most important designing companies in Europe, in 1952, Buccellati opened the first Italian jewelry shop on Fifth Avenue.
Today, Alberto Carlo Milani is the CEO of Buccellati Americas, rated “the 2011 most exclusive jewelry company in the US” by the Luxury Institute.
Alberto, when did you decide to become a businessman?
After an initial approach to the study of law, I felt that I had a gift of relating to people and therefore I dedicated my energy to challenges that require frequent interaction and teamwork.
When did you start working for Buccellati?
I started working for Buccellati in 2001 as VP of Sales, after 6 years on the senior management of Bulgari.
What is the most challenging part about running a jewelry business in North America?
Adapting European core values to a very sophisticated elite audience
Is there any difference between the European market and the North American market regarding design?
North America has a mature luxury market and the majority of our clients travel worldwide. Design becomes international if it's unique.
What is your typical workday like?
An early start to communicate with Europe and a late end to do business with our offices on the West Coast. I try to make a point of not losing the human touch in technology. Sometimes either a business lunch or a phone call works magic.
Can you tell us about the best business decisions you ever made, and the worst?
The best: embracing innovation any time it's possible. The worst: always seeking excellence affects life balance.
What is the company approach toward marketing, internet and social media?
I'm a Procter & Gamble kid, marketing is part of my soul. The digital frontier gave and will give us direction in uncharted territories.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to work in a global luxury brand like Buccellati?
Luxury is a state of mind born in only a few selected people. In my opinion, it's a gift and is unrelated to asset and money. The advice is: connect fully to bring out your best and the best in others.
Do you have any advice for young Italian jewelry designers?
Wherever you are, concentrate on the present, but also focus fully on the next step in front of you. Uniqueness is the demand of the market and it could only be achieved with an enormous amount of passion and determination.
A few questions about Italy: was it hard to leave it? Are you planning to go back? And how often do you visit?
I've always studied and traveled from an early age outside of Italy. Our Corporate Office is in Milan, my hometown, and I visit it quite often. It's enough for me to keep the European touch and enjoy long weekends at the right time of the year.
Do you consider yourself an Italian-American?
Yes, the last twenty years of my life were spent in the US. My children, Allegra and Andreas, were both born and raised in Greenwich, CT. I consider it a luxury being able to give them a bit of European influence, which is needed to stay connected to their family's heritage.
December 8, 2012