Jesper Nielsen is the founder of Endless Jewelry and previously headed Pandora’s Central and Western Europe division. Here, he talks with JCK about his brand and the larger “affordable luxury” trend. —RB
JCK: You just opened a stand-alone store in Estonia. Do you plan any in the United States?
Nielsen: Within the next 12 months, we will open our first concept store in the United States. We have to find the right partners. We will never run the store ourselves. We are brand marketers. Retail is detail. We need professional jewelers to do it.
JCK: Is there still resistance among jewelers to selling affordable products?
Nielsen: Ten years ago, Pandora came out selling items for $30, $40. Now we have a jewelry brand that sells brass. That is not even fine jewelry, but it is what the customer wants. We have to adapt to what our end customer wants.
Some high-end stores should not touch brands like Pandora or Endless. They are just wasting their time selling a $30 or $40 brand when they can sell a product for $5,000. But there are less and less $5,000 customers out there.
When it comes to affordable luxury, the industry has room for names from more mega brands. We see there are three big global brands: Swarovski, Fossil, and Pandora. And then there are local phenomenons like Alex and Ani in America, Thomas Sabo in Germany, and Links of London in the United Kingdom. We want to be a global brand. We think Endless Jewelry founder Jesper Nielsen there is room for two or three more super brands. I hope Endless is one of them.
JCK: People who’ve been involved in Pandora compare it to winning the lottery. Can you win the lottery twice?
Nielsen: When I talk to my distributors, I say, “Easy, guys. We have to expect that things take time.” People think that Pandora’s success came overnight. I can assure you it didn’t. It was five or six years of hard work, and then suddenly it came.
I live in a beautiful house in Majorca [Spain] and I have five children. There has to be a balance. I don’t want to work as hard as I did when I built Pandora, but for now I am. Entrepreneurs always say we want to work less. I have tried many times. For now I have a full schedule.