INTERVIEW WITH PARHAM

Describe your early life and education…

Okay, so, when I finished high school, I took a year off and worked. I have always been driven by the desire to work. Work for me says a lot about a person’s character. I opened my very first company at the age of 17, finding the investors and getting the whole business started.

I then worked for a year in the promotional industry (for example, designing campaigns for leading car companies, working with various electronic brands). That was my first taste of the world of design. At that stage though, I still didn’t know 100% what I wanted to do, so I decided to return to my studies.

I initially studied psychology, which, although rather fascinating and illuminating was not quite right for me. I then studied audio engineering – I guess because of a fascination with all kinds of engineering, including the nuances and subtleties of doing incredible things with sound. However, ultimately, the academic world was not really for me. I still had that restless kind of hunger to actually do something! So, I went back to work.

What kind of businesses were you involved in?

I really just threw myself into as many challenges as I could find! From the property world, buying and selling to interior design. I was stimulated by the way things worked. Design and engineering were not two separate things to me, even at this early stage. So, I became involved with interior design for hotels and food and beverage concepts as part of my role as a hotel trainee. After only a year and a half, in my early twenties, I was a General Manager.

Where did the inspiration for jewellery come from?

I suppose it was a combination of things. I was very often in Milan and Italy, always travelling and being in that city and that country kind of seeps into your DNA! It really influences you in so many imperceptible ways. Other influences would be my father, who was a watch and jewellery distributor – so, I really always had watches and jewellery around me during my formative years.

Another inspiration would have to be my mother’s passion for jewellery – watching her take care of her pieces and polish it… the intricate details, the way the stones were set. This was really the time I started to learn more and more about jewels and the way they interacted with the way a piece was hand crafted and made.

And I suppose I was really always a true watch enthusiast. Watches always inspired me – the way they worked and the way they looked. The mechanisms, etc. the combination of that with my passion for design and building things set me on the path to what ultimately became the Parham Ramezani brand and the launch of the Legacy Collection. I guess you could call it entrepreneurial inspiration.

And where did the Parham Ramezani brand go from there?

It was really about me taking that kind of restless spirit I’d had when I initially left school and giving it a purpose. Wanting to be able to build something long-term. But I thought that normal jewellery was boring – everyone did it the same way. No one was really rethinking the idea of jewellery. I wanted to do something different, and rethink the idea of jewellery from scratch. Not being part of ‘traditional’ jewellery making. And so, the Parham Ramezani brand was born.

Would you describe yourself as a jeweller?

Absolutely not! I would actually say that I am probably 60% entrepreneur, 40% designer. To be described as a ‘jeweller’ is much too specific – and it doesn’t allow my team to express ourselves in other ways. The bottom line is, the future for our brand is extremely exciting – and it will move far beyond jewellery in the years ahead.

What influenced the products you design?

Really the fact that there aren’t so many adornments for men, in terms of the kind of jewellery items they might wear. The choice was pretty small – either a small, elegant bracelet, or a chunky piece of jewellery. So, we began to work to occupy that niche space between these two choices. But the key thing was to always seek to be unlike anything or anyone else; because if you want to create something new, you are unlikely to achieve success by adhering to established rules.

Do you design only for men?

No. Initially we had an idea to release a collection for men. But after showing people what we have designed and created, we realized that women are interested in what we are doing too! So really, I would say that we are a unisex brand. Creating elegant, stylish, niche and, above all, gorgeous pieces for both men and women.

Why is the Legacy Collection so named? What is the connection with La Scala in Milan?

By visiting the world-famous opera house located in the heart of Milan, you cannot fail to notice the design, the décor, the architecture… It is incredible and it is bold and it makes a real impression on you. I often visited the opera house when I lived in Milan, so it was a place that had a huge influence on me, especially at the time when I began to design the Legacy Collection.

And this, of course, influenced the names of the pieces… Symphony, Orchestra and Maestro. As we say in our product brochure, these pieces are influenced by the majesty, spectacle and artistry of La Scala in Milan. From Rossini to Verdi, Puccini to Vivaldi. The spirit soaring, as the musicians come together as one. It is the perfect symmetry of pitch and precision, passion and purpose.

Did you design the Legacy Collection yourself?

It is true to say that I had the initial inspiration for the collection, but it’s important to point out that, as with every element of our brand, it is very much a team effort. Collaboration is key behind everything we do and seek to achieve, and as a team it is really exciting to imagine the possibilities of where we are as a brand – and where we are going to go next.

How would you describe your lifestyle? Do you have time for hobbies?

In a word, no! My business and my designs are my main focus. They are the things that drive me on. I travel extensively, several times a month, at least… around Europe, the Middle East, North America, Russia, etc. I read a lot when I can and, when I have any spare time (which is rare) I enjoy sports and activities that give me a buzz, so things like motorsport and even skydiving! I suppose, for me, it is about that adrenaline rush. It is part of my constant restlessness and need to be in continual motion, I suppose!

Was the recent brand launch on the Cote d’Azur important?

Extremely important. Monaco really embodies that whole luxurious lifestyle, so it was a key location to launch our brand – particularly at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix. In terms of that association with elegance, luxury and sophistication, we were thrilled to announce former F1 World Champion Jenson Button as our global brand ambassador. Jenson stands for everything our brand is about and he will allow us to generate huge interest in what we are doing. We look forward to working with him in 2017 and beyond.

Do you have any other business interests apart from the Parham Ramezani brand?

I am currently involved in trading, property and the interior design market – but the Parham Ramezani brand – and particularly the Legacy Collection – fills most of my time.

What is an average working day like?

Every morning I make sure I hit the gym before I catch up with all the news on my to work. I like to get to work early, usually by 7am. I like to be there before everyone else, as that’s my own time. That is important time because, like at the very end of the working day, that is time I can have to myself – the most creative time.

We then have the morning briefing, making plans for that day and that week. We work in a shared work space and I think that is extremely important. Nothing is closed off. Everything is open – because I want to encourage that sharing of ideas. We work on ideas and thoughts for new designs and, although of course my input is always there, I don’t like to micro manage the whole thing. It is extremely important that all my team feels like they can contribute and be free to express their own thoughts, ideas and opinions.

In the afternoon we have meetings, with various business partners and prospective partners, then in the evening we have time for brainstorming and discussing the team’s ideas and thinking. But for me there is no real distinction between ‘home’ and ‘work’. I am always working, really. It drives me on. So, I will work in the evening and weekends too.

Where can Parham Ramezani products be purchased?

At the moment, the best place to buy our products is on our website at www.parhamramezani.com – although we plan to open our own boutiques around the world in the future. We also have distributors in key locations around the world, including London, Paris, Miami and Singapore.

What message do you want to convey to consumers?

The key message is that Parham Ramezani pieces are very much for everyone, but not on a global, mass scale. That is what will keep our brand so unique, I think. They are prestigious pieces for both men and women to wear, to share with others, but they are limited in the number that is produced too. So, they are truly special, different and exclusive. In fact, they are as individual as the people that wear them.

What are your long-term aims for the brand?

We want to build a brand that, with every single item we make, is both unique and contemporary. We don’t want to go to mass production. We want to remain niche, but extremely desirable. We want people to hear about us, to know about us, but to also retain that sense of mystery and intrigue. That, I think, adds to our brand’s desirability and allure. And really, we want to continue to bring innovative new pieces to the world.

What do the jewellery pieces represent for you personally?

Uniqueness and elegance. They are heavy pieces and, as such, you know when you are wearing them – and other people know too! They represent a pride in my team, in my company and in what we have created and brought to the world. And what we have achieved in such a short time is incredible… how we’ve delivered this brand and how we are already challenging convention and the market.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I hope to still be part of this company and part of this brand, part of this incredible team of people designing, producing and manufacturing these incredible pieces. But I also want to encourage others to follow in my footsteps, giving young designers the opportunity that I have had. If I could achieve that, that would be the perfect legacy.

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