Fashion

Charriol Heiress on Growing the Family Business

Coralie Charriol, vice president and creative director for jewelry and leather goods, reveals what it’s like working for her dad Philippe, her guilty pleasure, and how she plans to leave her mark in the company.
IMAGE COURTESY OF CHARRIOL/ STORES SPECIALISTS INC
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Coralie Charriol, vice president and creative director for jewelry and leather goods, reveals what it’s like working for her dad Philippe, her guilty pleasure, and how she plans to leave her mark in the company.

Did you enjoy being the face of Charriol?
It was a lot of fun! I had friends who’d take their photos beside my posters in different parts of the world and send them to me. They’d write, “Look who I’m with!” Because I’m into film, I was also involved behind the scenes, not just standing in front of the camera. I sort of directed myself. But now I am done with that. I’d rather use models now.

Your father Philippe made the cable wire design famous. What would be your personal stamp on the company?
I did a few a things, like the Kucha watch, brought in some other new designs. But at the end of the day, the cable is what’s the most important thing for sure. It is what makes us famous. I am going to keep it, I can not get away from it. It is what Charriol is. It will always be in the jewelry.

Would you say your dad was your mentor?
Absolutely.

Most important lesson he taught you?
Basically, he says, if you want something done, do it yourself. I remember coming to him with many ideas, and he just said, okay, but you have to do it yourself. I just wanted to design, not execute it. It was a tough way to learn about the business. The other thing he also likes is when people take initiative.

Do you still show him your designs before anyone else?
Not anymore. I’ve been given 100 percent discretion on what goes into a jewelry collection. I do what I want. It’s wonderful to have so much freedom. I hope that I can already stand on my own two feet.

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It’s been written that one of your greatest joys is seeing complete strangers wearing your brand.
Yes, one time I was at Starbucks, and I saw two people wearing Charriol cable bracelets. I went up to them and said ‘Hi, I’m Coralie Charriol. Thank you for wearing my jewelry.’ For a minute I think they didn’t believe me.

What’s it like working with your brother, Alexandre?
Honestly, it can be tough. We have different views sometimes. He’s got different eyes. That can be good, though, since he brings a fresh perspective. We argue, but I usually win!

Your family is spread out across the globe. Does that affect how you interact?
Thank God for technology. Dad is so-so on the computer, but at least he can text and e-mail now. It’s getting better. I like Twitter, it took me a couple of months before I got into it, while Pinterest I’m still so-so. Alex is very good on Facebook. I’m trying to blog, but I don’t have the time.

This story was originally published in the February 2013 issue of Town&Country.

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Pierre A. Calasanz
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