Interview

Photo: SCHOTT/A. Lechner
Jürgen Breier

A World of Creativity

Helmut Swarovski, Managing Partner of D. Swarovski & Co., on the poetry of crystal and his passion for precision tools.

solutions: To many people, Swarovski is a synonym for decorative crystal figures. What other areas of business is your Group involved in ?

Swarovski: We are an extremely diversified corporation and, therefore, active in a wide variety of different fields. We set creative trends in the fashion industry, interior design, lighting and in the area of optics, for example. At the same time, we create ground-breaking innovations with our products, in the area of grinding materials and industrial manufacturing, for instance.

solutions: The success of your company clearly demonstrates how people are fascinated by crystals. What is your explanation for this attraction ?

Swarovski: Even the founder of our company, my great-grandfather Daniel Swarovski, recognized the power of emotion that accompanies polished crystal. The unusual transparency and purity of the material, as well as the brilliance and power of illumination that are achieved using precision grinding allow the crystal to be brought to life. Poetically speaking, they allow for the creation of a true language of light.

solutions: Swarovski is owned solely by the family. How have you managed to retain your leadership position despite international competition from large corporations ?

Swarovski: We are proud that we’ve been able to retain our independence since the company was founded over 100 years ago. I am sure this will continue to be the case in the future, as well. We have committed and creative employees, a strong financial background and are both innovative and capable of reacting quickly. Take the area of precision tools, for example. From the very beginning, our Group strived to develop its own special tools in order to be able to ensure high quality work. By doing so, we help our customers solve their problems and see to it that they always receive the best possible solution. For me as a technical engineer, this is one of the most fascinating tasks.

solutions: SCHOTT and Swarovski have traditionally worked together rather well. Where do you still see potential

Swarovski: Yes, even my great-grandfather remained in contact with Otto SCHOTT. The business relationship between both companies has continued to develop over the years. In the future, we will spend more time discussing the strategic alignment, products and areas of core competence, the manufacturing technologies we use, as well as joint development topics that result from all of this.

solutions: What are the largest growth areas that you see for your company ? What will Swarovski look like ten years from now ?

Swarovski: We are well-positioned to master the challenges of the future. First of all, I see our strength in being able to combine traditional activities with future business activities. In the years to come, we will be working together with our customers towards driving individual projects, as well as application-specific developments. We will also strengthen our commitment to the Christmas and wedding business. In addition, I see good prospects for LED lighting components, synthetic diamonds and photovoltaics. During the next decade, Swarovski will continue to stand for sophisticated manufacturing, quality and creativity all over the world with a focus on the fashion and luxury goods industry.