Today, if I continue, it's because I enjoy being with a team and I try to keep that group spirit. Even if there are rules to respect, there's always a good atmosphere and it's not a chore to come along.

National success

We opened our Paris boutique in 2004, located on the Cour Vendôme, even though the address is 7 place Vendôme. This store has brought us a wide, eclectic and above all international clientele. As at trade fairs, our window displays stand out from those of other jewellers in the area. In fact, what often happens is that people come to enquire about a piece of jewelry, then say they want to have a look around to see what others are doing, but they very often end up coming back.
When we opened in Lyon, then in Paris, we saw a lot more people coming to the Montbrison boutique. This gave us more credibility, we had become a real brand in the eyes of the public and our image was naturally legitimized. Word-of-mouth also worked in Paris. We had a Parisian clientele who were natives of Montbrison or the Loire, and it was mainly these people who talked about us. There's also the fact that my creations stand out, so people are intrigued and want to know more. Last but not least, we are one of the few Maisons to offer jewelry repairs on the Place Vendôme. Some people only repair their own jewelry, and that's not always the case!

Today, I have a real reputation as an artisan-creator, and people come to me for expertise they can't find elsewhere. Last year, a lady came from Paris to show me a stone. She had bought a rather expensive ruby and had gone to the jewellers at Place Vendôme to have it authenticated.

Several of them told her it was a fake stone, so they advised her: "Go and see Tournaire ". As soon as I saw the ruby, I was convinced it was real, so I took it apart and had it authenticated by a laboratory. The tests confirmed that the stone was real, and the lady who finally had a certificate was delighted. I have this expertise because I look at things for their beauty and subtle details, not for their value. And it's still word-of-mouth that has made me known, but that's something that's acquired over years and years.
In 2003, there was the partnership with Lacroix, which was a major event for us because the media were very interested in this collaboration and we benefited from the aura of this top-of-the-range ski brand. Laurent Masocro, from the communications department, and Bertrand Roy, President and CEO of Lacroix skis, approached us with the idea of doing something special: a ski-Jewellery. What I wanted was creative freedom; we were in an era of " Jewellery d'étal" where the more the merrier. I've never followed this logic, where beauty is measured by quantity. I like to draw a parallel between this fashion and painting: before, the more representative the canvas was of reality, the more valuable it was. Then came photography, the perfection of representation, and painters looked for new ways to express themselves, with the arrival of the Impressionists, Pointillists and so on. The difference between painting and Jewellery is that painting has evolved, Jewellery very little.

International outlook

At some point in 2005-2006, I felt that we were reaching the limits of our development, and there were the three boutiques to manage. I had my family to take care of, and the company was already leaving me almost no time for creation. I had become an entrepreneur. So I decided to team up with someone to manage and breathe new life into our company. I went to a recruitment agency to look for a sales manager. That's where I came across Frédéric Saint-Romain, who had just returned from Miami and was looking to develop a luxury goods business in France. I knew our partnership would work out, because we're so different that we complement each other. I remember the day we met, I'd arranged to meet him in the Super U parking lot in Savigneux, and I saw this guy arrive, wearing sunglasses and a convertible. I took him to the boutique on Rue Tupinerie, showed him our techniques and collections, and then he asked me: "If anything happens to you, how are things going? We were standing in front of the drawer containing over 2,000 historic molds, and I said to him: "With someone with a bit of taste and ideas, there's work to be done for years to come". We agreed, and after an accounting study, we got "engaged" for two years before joining forces to create a group that would include a foundry, so as to have complete control over the manufacturing chain for my creations. I was convinced that it was better to own fewer shares in a company that was doing well than 100% of a business that was going to die. I was 55 years old and, despite everything, it was tiring to run a company, I was doing a lot of management and it wasn't my job. I'm sure that if I hadn't become a partner, all the good people would have left. Because it's no fun finding yourself in a company where the boss is approaching sixty; if there are no prospects for development, there's no point. Fred has brought us new energy and an international outlook. But also partnerships, like with S.T.Dupont for example, with whom we are developing "S.T.Dupont by Tournaire " models, which can be found all over the world. The team loves novelty and challenges, and we enjoy ourselves because there are challenges to be met.
As soon as Fred and I joined forces, we immediately set our sights on international development. There were opportunities in the USA and China, and a lot of travelling, meeting new people and finding new customers...

The reason I'm still doing this today is because I enjoy being part of a team, and I try to keep this group spirit alive. Even if there are rules to respect, there's always a good atmosphere and it's not a chore to come along. I've never tried to separate the workshop part from the administrative part. Even if for technical reasons they don't work in the same place, the teams stay in the same building. Everyone knows each other, they play soccer together, we have parties where everyone gets together...


I was recently made a Knight of the Legion of Honor. This distinction is recognition of all the work I've accomplished. I didn't ask for this award; it was the Prefect of the Loire, Fabienne Buccio, who requested it after visiting our workshops at Jewellery . When I received the letter, I was really surprised because I wasn't expecting it, so I organized a ceremony at our premises so that Ms. Buccio could present me with the award. It was also an opportunity for me to learn a little more about this decoration. It remains a great honor to have been named Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.

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