Today if I continue, it is because I have fun to be with a team and I try to keep this group spirit. Even if there are rules to follow, there is always a good atmosphere and it is not the duty to come.
We opened the shop in Paris in 2004, it is located courtyard Vendôme even if the address is 7 place Vendôme. This store has brought us a wide, eclectic and above all international clientele. As on the salons, what one presents in showcase stands out from the lot compared to the other jewelers of the place. What often happens is that people come to inquire about a piece of jewelry and then say that they still want to go around the place to see what is done in others, but they end very often by returning.
When we opened in Lyon and then in Paris, we saw a lot more people coming to the store of Montbrison. This has given us more credibility, we have become a real brand in the eyes of the public and our image has naturally legitimized itself.
Word of mouth also walked in Paris. We had a Parisian clientele who was a native of Montbrison or the Loire, it was these people who spoke of us. There is also the fact that my creations are noticed, people are intrigued and they try to find out more. Finally we are one of the few Houses to propose the jewelry repair place Vendôme, some repair their jewelry rigorously and still this is not always the case! But above all models made to measure with the creator…
Today, I have a real reputation as a creative craftsman, people come to me to have an expertise that they do not find elsewhere. Last year, a lady came from Paris to show me a stone. She had bought a fairly expensive ruby and she had gone to see jewelers place Vendome for it to be authenticated. Several told him it was a fake stone, he was advised: "Go to see Tournaire". As soon as I saw this ruby, I was immediately convinced that it was true and I disassembled it to have it authenticated by a laboratory. The tests confirmed that the stone was true, the lady finally endowed with a certificate was delighted. I have this expertise because I look at things in relation to their beauty, their subtle details and not their value. And it is still word of mouth that has made me known, but it is something that is acquired over years and years.
In 2003 there was the partnership with Lacroix which was a big event for us because the media took a lot of interest in this collaboration and we benefited from the aura of this high-end ski brand. Laurent Masocro, from the communications department, and Bertrand Roy, President and CEO of the Lacroix skis, contacted us; They had the idea of doing something marking: a ski-jewelry. What I wanted was freedom of creation, we were in an era of "jealousy of stall" where the more there was more it was beautiful. I have never been in this logic, where beauty is measured by quantity. I like to compare this fashion with painting: before, the more the canvas was representative of reality, the more it had value. Then the picture, the perfection of the representation, has arrived; The painters have sought new ways of expressing themselves and we have seen the impressionists, pointillists, and so on. The difference between painting and jewelry is that painting has evolved, jewelry very little.
At one point, in 2005-2006 I felt we had reached our development limits and there were three stores to manage. I had my family, I had to dedicate time and the company left me almost no longer for the creation. I became an entrepreneur. So I made the decision to partner with someone to manage and give a new breath to the box. I went to a recruitment agency to find a sales manager. It was there that I came upon Frederic Saint-Romain as he was returning from Miami and was trying to develop a business in luxury in France. I knew that our association was going to work, we are so different that we are complementary. I remember the day we met, I had given him appointment in the parking lot of the Super U in Savigneux and I saw this guy arrive, sunglasses and convertible. I took him to the shop in the Rue Tupinerie, I introduced him to the techniques and the collections, and he asked me, "If something happens to you, how does it happen?". We were in front of the drawer where there were more than 2,000 historical molds and I said to him: "With someone who has a little taste and idea, there is work for years." We agreed and after an accounting study, we "got engaged" for two years before joining and creating a group that will integrate the foundry in order to have a complete control of the chain of manufacture of my creations
I was convinced that it was better to have fewer shares in a box that worked than 100% of a business that was going to die. I was 55 years old and despite everything, it tired of running a business, I did a lot of management and it was not my job. I'm sure that if I had not partnered, all the right people would have left. Because it is not funny to find yourself in a box where the boss is approaching his sixties; If there is no prospect of development, there is no interest. Fred has brought us new energy and openness on the international scene. But also partnerships as with S.T.Dupont for example with whom we develop models "S.T.Dupont by Tournaire", which are found all over the world. The team loves novelty and challenges, we are happy because there are challenges to be met.
As soon as I partnered with Fred, international development was immediately considered. The USA, China, there have been opportunities and quite a lot of travel, meetings, new customers…
I was recently appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honor, a reward that counts, a recognition for all the work accomplished. This distinction, I did not ask for, was the prefect of the Loire, Fabienne Buccio, who asked for it after visiting our workshops. When I received the mail, I was really surprised because I did not expect it. So I organized a ceremony at our premises so that Ms. Buccio would give me this award. Obtaining this distinction was also an opportunity for me to learn a little more about this decoration, but it remains a great honor to have been named Knight of the Legion of Honor.
Today if I continue, it is because I have fun to be with a team and I try to keep this group spirit. Even if there are rules to follow, there is always a good atmosphere and it is not the chore to come. I never tried to separate the workshop part from the administrative part. Even if for technical reasons they do not work in the same place, the teams stay in the same building. Everyone knows each other, they go to soccer together, they make parties where everyone gets together…