From City Financier to the "King of Cufflinks" and jewelry trendsetter; it seems a mighty leap for anyone to make- but for Robert Tateossian, a man whose international upbringing and love of travelling the world over has provided design inspiration, the transition was natural. Born in Kuwait and educated at French schools in Rome, Tateossian (who is fluent in seven languages) studied international finance at the prestigious Wharton School of Finance in Pennsylvania, before embarking on a successful career with Merrill Lynch on Wall Street and in the City of London.
Tuesday, 18th of March at the amazing Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara, I got the
privilege to chat and ask few questions to the great man himself behind the success of Tateossian, Robert Tateossian a.k.a "The King of Cufflinks"
What is story behind Tateossian London?
Basically, it is just a simple story, I was a banker for seven years and then after seven years of doing investment banking i decided to be in fashion and i wanted to have my own business, its a combination of those two factors that made me go out and experiment in the world of fashion, so we started by doing clothing and from that moved on to jewelry and accessories, so today we are hoping to be the number one men's wear brand in the world for cufflinks and mens accessories.
What made you decide to shift from being a banker into a business entrepreneur?
The desire to be independent not to be dependent on management for making decision and for making any type of strategic move or development, especially when you work for a big american bank, you constantly have to go back to head office to ask them can we do this can we do that, i really don't want to that anymore, i wanted to be more independent and i want to be creative which you will not be able to be when you are in a corporate structure.
Behind the success of the brand and still expanding, have you ever experience struggles running the business?
Well, I think, as you develop your brand you always have obstacles and this obstacles involve are financial or they are employee related and one of the biggest challenge when you have a business is to keep your employees, and you know if somebody resign for you it feel like a betrayal, which is part of the course of things, for example the first time somebody resigns it's like, Oh my God! my life will going to end, because you take it very personally. But then when time you realize that is inevitable that people are going to resign or find another jobs, so i think managing employees was always a challenge, thats the first thing and then financial in the sense that you constantly have to manage all the finances, your expenses, worth of money coming in, its like an open bank account, so that is a challenge.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the Umbrella Project?
The whole thing started, because i wanted to do something like I'm singing in the rain, and then have everybody singing outside the shop under the rain with the umbrella, because we are a english brand and its raining all the time in London, and then i thought it is going to be easy but apparently its super difficult because we have to get the permit from the local council and they didn't give it to us, and then we couldn't film, the people going by, it became very complicated. We decide to make the Umbrella Project we're we say let Tateossian Umbrella smile on you kind of thing, so that's how it evolve, and it's all about creating a small video which has something to about London, with umbrellas, with Tateossian and the rain, so that's the whole idea.
For your personal choice, Which is your favorite item?
I don't really have a favorite piece, because the collection is always evolving and there's always a favorite piece for each day and on occasion, rather than a always favorite piece. It really depends on the mood that day, depending on the occasion that you have requirements. It is basically depends on the mood you're in, like for this day your favorite bracelet is like this one because it matches with your cufflinks and the next day another style of bracelet you will going to wear and it will be your favorite that day, i don't really have a all time favorite. Especially for today, i am wearing a grey suit, i am wearing one of our newest cufflinks with the Geo stone with the positive and negative stone together, from our new collection.