Since the COVID-19 outbreak, luxury houses including Bvlgari have come together to join the fight against the pandemic. By utilising their know-how and production facilities during this crucial time, the Roman jeweller have made numerous contributions to support the scientific and medical community. A month ago, Bvlgari announced an important donation of a new state-of-the-art 3D high definition microscope and most recently the production of hand cleansing gel with sanitiser packaged in 75ml recyclable bottles. Jean-Christophe Babin who has served as CEO of Bvlgari since 2013 shares more about the brand’s digital strategy, its key role in fighting Covid-19 and what luxury will look like in a post-pandemic world.
As a luxury brand which has been heavily dependent on physical stores, will Bvlgari be ramping up efforts to focus on strengthening its digital presence globally?
Bvlgari obviously continues to be present on all digital and social channels both with our collections and with communications relating to what we are doing to support the Italian Government in this difficult moment. We are also maintaining a constant relationship with our customers. During these extraordinary times, the safety and well-being of our clients, employees and the greater community is of the utmost importance. We are offering suggestions to our clients on how to take care of their Bvlgari items at home such as tips on how to care for your jewellery, timepiece and accessories. At this moment, we prioritise strengthening our relationship with our customers.
In your view, how will the COVID-19 pandemic influence the way consumers approach and consume luxury?
This particular moment we are living in will certainly cause change. First in the way of life and above all in the sensitivity towards everything related to sustainability, greater knowledge and awareness of purchases. Luxury will not disappear, as it did not disappear at the end of many similar and even greater pandemics or crises. It is part of the rebirth, of the recovery of an economy that must start again as soon as possible.
As luxury markets are severely hit, what is Bvlgari’s strategy to cope with the slow growth in 2020?
We are working strategically to be ready at the moment of recovery. As soon as the government permits, we will reopen our factories in order to gradually restart production and we will do the same with our stores. In China, at the peak, we shut down 50 per cent of Bvlgari stores. Now the stores have all reopened except Wuhan’s. For us, China is also a fundamental example in this phase of recovery.
How do you view Bvlgari’s role as a key luxury player to help fight this pandemic?
In a difficult moment like this that we are experiencing, I believe it is the duty of large companies to be able to do their part by making their resources available. It is a sign of gratitude towards our country and of strong belonging. At the beginning of the pandemic in January, Bvlgari donated a very high definition 3D microscope to the Spallanzani hospital in Rome, made available to the team of researchers who first isolated the virus. Now we have started the production of the hand cleansing gel with sanitiser produced together with our ICR historic fragrance laboratories and which will be distributed through the Department of Civil Protection to all the most important hospitals that are fighting against the virus. Our intelligent hands become brave and are available to those who are containing the pandemic and treating thousands of people at the forefront.
How do you maintain a sense of optimism during these trying times?
I am an optimist and although I realistically understand the extent of the crisis we are going through, I want to continue to think positively. The important thing is not to forget that there are people who face the virus on a daily basis and for them we need to be strong and think about when we will get out of the problem.