THE TALK: Annamaria Cammilli. A Question of Shape
Annamaria Cammilli has been synonymous of 100% Made-in-Italy style and excellence for almost 40 years. In a panorama of upside-down logic, how can the “founder’s” vision and values be kept alive?
In this particular historical moment, we have focused even more greatly on our values. If, on the one hand, the absence of trade show events has certainly made our life more complicated, on the other, it has led to an advantage. We have made good use of the time, consolidating our values and giving ourselves the chance to ‘reflect more on’ our collections. Items have stayed longer with us and this has allowed us to ‘think about’ them and improve them. A time revolution that has played in our favor, especially in terms of the product’s aesthetic quality.
Our advantage is having Annamaria Cammilli, a founder and designer who is simultaneously a guide and reference point for all the brand’s creative aspect. An all-round artist who, instead of watching television, creates sculptures, paints…. An important creative asset that, aided by having more time on her hands, has led us to a different mode of expression.
In almost 40 years of activity, what has changed in the jewelry business?
1983 marked the beginning of the Cammilli era. My mother, Annamaria Cammilli, who, up until then had been working in my father’s jewelry business in Florence (Renai, ed.), decided to start producing jewelry under her own name. A 40-year-old picture that I would sum up as follows: we are like an artist who starts painting at home and then decides to go out and sell his works. That was how the Annamaria Cammilli brand originated. In 40 years of business, I can say that the scenario has undergone a radical change. Nowadays, we work on intuitions, in what we think today’s woman might buy. We work with coherence, which is still our aim, in the hope that the jewelry made today is better than that of the past. Our style stands out in the jewelry business. While it may be true that everything has changed in this world, it is also true that we have never betrayed ourselves.
Let’s talk about creativity. How much “weight” does it carry in your business?
The first thing to underline is that Cammilli does not assemble stones. We create shapes made of gold. We operate in high-goldsmithing and the gold finish is the focus. We work on the shapes rather than deal with mounting stones, which is, in some respects, much riskier. High-range jewelry making like ours is a rare specialty.
We are lucky to be able to exaggerate with volumes and lines, although it is also easy to make mistakes. The Cammilli shape is different in itself which means that we can also dare with the colors of gold (Annamaria Cammilli creations typically come in 8 shades of gold, ed.) and only use diamonds for shine.
In September 2020, you spoke to me about a project linked to a school for training sales staff. How important is internal training at the moment?
One of the main reasons that urged us to set up the school was our remarkable story. Being so different to other companies within the industry, we deemed it important to create an ad hoc school to “industrialize” our storytelling and educate storekeepers and sellers throughout the world. Considering how much the way we live has changed, our customers are no longer the same and it is therefore necessary to renew the way jewelry’s story is told. While it used to be the seller who told the story, customers now arrive with all the necessary information. We therefore decided to launch our own school to train the seller to play a more “advisory” role enriched by all those notions regarding both the Cammilli world and those of a more general and fundamental nature, that would help him when selling a jewelry item. An ambitious project that is also strategic in protecting our clientele. The guarantee of the trustworthy jeweler has become obsolete. The customer is already an expert and we are ready with a well-trained seller.
Digitization is the keyword in these Covid times. How are you dealing with that?
Digitization has radically changed the way we communicate. We can and want to speak directly with the final public by posting all the necessary, customer-oriented information on our website. With access to physical stores being uncertain, the web was the only window available for strengthening our presence on the market.
Future projects and new ideas?
Entitled "Vela", this project, which will be presented in 2021, is something we have been working on for more than a year. It is a new concept of collection, a kind of platform that will include several collections. We are innovating the volumes so that they don’t use too much gold and will involve various types of jewelry. A new Cammilli line, the fourth, and a concept that will encompass the very best of all our experience.
As an entrepreneur, I am optimistic about the future. Time is a great ally, when taken good advantage of, since creative artists have always come up with wonderful things when they have had more time.
The balance at the end of 2020?
To be honest, it was, and is, an interesting moment for us. We were growing considerably and we were still able to achieve good results even in 2020. Now we are ready to go forward even stronger than before throughout Europe but especially in the North. We haven’t felt the effect of a drop in sales and our e-shop, which is a work in progress, has kept us well afloat. We are, however, looking forward to getting back to trade shows, which still play an extremely important part for us.
Federica Frosini, Editor in Chief VO+