Elite Traveler November-December 2017


Nicolas Bos on bringing fairy tales to life

Holding the dual role of CEO and creative director of Van Cleef & Arpels, one of the world’s most respected jewelry and watch houses, is no easy feat, but as Roberta Naas discovers, Nicolas Bos does it with finesse

Incredibly passionate about jewelry, gemstones and craftsmanship, Nicolas Bos exudes the very essence of the luxury house he heads up. Of course, the 40-something executive has spent the past 17 years of his life with this brand, and even longer with its owner, the Richemont Group. A lover of art, books and culture, Bos brings a highly spirited sense of being to the brand and combines a rare creative vision with true business acumen. Effectively executing the roles of both creative director and CEO might seem a dichotomy for many — and has in fact failed at other brands — but for Bos and Van Cleef & Arpels, it is a natural fit. “In a product-driven, creative industry where excellent quality, innovative designs and commercial success really go hand in hand, you have to see this mixing of roles not as a contradiction, but as a necessity,” says Bos. “At the end of the day, when you try to disconnect them, this is usually when you fail or endanger the company. You have to be able to turn the craftsmanship and product into a long-term sustainable business, into a house that will outlive the original designer.” In fact, Bos says he thinks this management style is very close to the way Van Cleef & Arpels originally approached its business. The company was founded in 1906 by Estelle Arpels and her husband Alfred Van Cleef, who had a vision of what they could bring to the world in the way of creative art and business. Early on, in the first decades of the 20th century, the family not only created exquisite and exceptional jewelry, but also brought their collections to luxury resort destinations their clients lived in or frequented. “Opening stores was highly unusual for that time,” says Bos. “It demonstrates that they had the creative ideas to satisfy their customers and the business

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online