Listen to this article now
Pandora’s story began as a small, local jewelry store built by a Danish goldsmith in 1982. In 2000 the brand’s first charm bracelet concept was launched; setting forth a whole new concept allowing women to create their own charm bracelets with personalization, choosing charms that represent milestones in their own life. Today Pandora is the largest jewelry company in the world. That’s no small feat. We sat down with Luciano Rodembusch, President of Pandora North America, to discuss the brand, post-pandemic growth, innovation, sustainability, and more.
How can a company like Pandora compete and stay successful in a challenging economic time like this? What is the consumer sentiment and how do you remain focused on not only gaining but retaining customers?
Currently, there is less money in the market, and Pandora is impacted by the economic situation just as any retailer. We do have a natural market advantage because we offer high-quality jewelry at affordable prices, and we focus a lot on celebrating important moments. Right now we have to work harder to create unique experiences for our clients. We excel at storytelling and aim to make sure that there is something new for our clients every time they come in – and we are meeting them where they want to shop. Our stores have seen clients put extra meaning behind each of the pieces that they are purchasing during this challenging economic time. We are also constantly innovating with new product offerings to delight current clients and also attract new clients that may not have considered us previously. We are actually seeing a lot of new clients come in, in North America, with our new lab-created diamond jewelry collection, Diamonds by Pandora.
Who is the Pandora customer?
We mostly operate in the middle of the market and affordability is important to our clients. We are committed to making high-quality, hand-finished jewelry for every day and for everyone. Inclusivity and accessibility are important to our core values for us. The majority of our customers globally are actually male gifters, followed by female self-purchasers. But we have also found that self-purchasers shop more frequently. Women are driving at least 75% of purchasing decisions.
How has the company bounced back post-pandemic?
The pandemic accelerated some of our plans around services like curbside pickup and buying online, and pick up in-store. We are always looking for new ways to create more convenience for our clients, staying nimble and supportive of their needs. The client experience is the biggest piece of our business that we can control. The pandemic and resulting consumer behavior reinforced e-commerce as the entry point for clients coming to Pandora even more. More than 80% of clients in North America start their shopping online. For a client to have a great experience no matter where they are shopping has become more important. We are rolling out a new Evoke store concept around the world which is designed with today’s omnichannel journey in mind. It seamlessly translates e-commerce shopping to the store and vice-versa and offers special experiences like interacting with our campaigns and on-site engraving.
How important is it for Pandora to create new products and lines?
We are listening to our clients. For example, our existing clients are interested in seeing more collaborations, including significant interest in the art category. This led to our recent launch of a Keith Haring x Pandora collaboration. Collaborations were 10% of our revenue in Q2 this year, up 34% from the same quarter last year, and sales from collaborations have tripled in the last five years. This is key for our growth, increasing our brand relevance and desirability. With collaborations and our new Diamonds by Pandora lab-created diamond collection, we want to create excitement and recruit new young Millennial and late Gen Z consumers.
There’s such an interest today in sustainability. How has Pandora addressed that and focused on sustainability as a company and its creations? Tell me about the new line of lab-grown diamonds.
Pandora is the world’s largest jewelry brand. We are determined to help set an example for the wider industry with our actions in sustainability and believe in the synergy of high-quality jewelry, superior business performance, and high ethical standards. Our sustainability strategy focuses on being a low-carbon business, circular innovation, and an inclusive, diverse, and fair culture. These pillars are simultaneously highly material and potential drivers of future growth for Pandora and we have announced long-term targets for each of them. We are also committed signatories of the United Nations Global Compact since 2011, and the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles as of this year, and we support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
We are proud of our accomplishments to date, for example, we have used 100% renewable energy at our crafting facilities since 2021. We will be carbon neutral in our own operations and we will craft all of our jewelry with 100% recycled silver and gold by 2025. Aligned with this work, we are proud of the new Diamonds by Pandora lab-created diamond collection. We did a small test in the UK in 2021 and rolled out the collection in the UK, U.S. and Canada this fall. This is the first-ever collection for Pandora that is crafted with 100% recycled gold and silver, ahead of our 2025 target. The lab-created diamonds are also grown in the U.S. using 100% renewable energy. It’s an expression of our sustainability ambitions at the retail level. We want to make beautiful, low carbon, diamond jewelry more accessible for more consumers and for more purchasing occasions. Lab-created diamonds are about one-third of the cost of a natural diamond and our starting price point is $300 for a sterling silver bracelet with a 0.15-carat lab-created diamond.