Look at almost any list of the world’s most coveted luxury jewelry brands, and among the list including Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Tiffany, Harry Winston, Bvlgari and others, you will find David Yurman.
Founded by sculptor David and artist Sybil Yurman just 42 years ago, the David Yurman brand has risen from local arts and crafts festivals to the top of the global fine jewelry market.
Now energized by second-generation leadership, under new chairman Evan Yurman – the 40-year-old son of David and Sybil – David Yurman has just opened his first flagship store in Paris. It is located at 245 rue Saint-Honoré in the historic district of Paris and the luxury center of the city around Place Vendôme.
The Paris flagship store expresses the evolution of the brand, led by Evan, who apprenticed in the business for 20 years. During this time, he guided the development of his men’s jewelry business, which now accounts for over 25% of total sales, and served as Creative Director, a title he still holds.
“Paris is a place of inspiration. This is where creative dialogues take place in poetry, art and culture,” Evan shared with me. “We are honored to bring our American sensibility of openness and inclusion to Paris, where luxury is more about exclusivity. We embody a consumer-centric philosophy and that’s what we’ve built for the company.
Unlike so many major luxury jewelry brands, David Yurman is and remains a family business. Evan’s parents remain active in the business and are co-CEOs with David as lead designer and Sybil as brand manager.
In his expanded role, Evan takes the lead in leading the company into its next phase of growth.
Ready for global growth
After opening its first retail store on Madison Avenue in New York in 1999, David Yurman today operates some 50 branded stores, so far all in North America, and is currently supported by nearly 300 wholesale accounts. , including international retailers.
Although the company’s finances remain private, Evan shared that by the end of 2022 the company is on track to double its revenue from 2019, with physical retail completed. by a strong presence in e-commerce, which will grow by 150% on 2019 levels.
“These first months of the pandemic in 2020 forced us to push deeper into the digital market and it paid off, giving us a strong explosion in our business. We were able to equip our factories while other brands were still waiting,” he said.
But that’s just the beginning, as Evan sees huge potential for the brand as it enters the global stage.
“Over the next three years, we expect a strong acceleration in growth. We are at a starting point for the business, having an extremely strong base and brand recognition in the US market. And we see a lot of room for growth in the global market to reach our potential,” he continues.
Family owned and operated
Evan grew practically above the store. His school bus dropped him off at the original store on Madison Avenue where he spent time with his parents and the staff of the company that became his extended family. After attending NYU for a few years, he decided to go into the family business full-time. He has never worked anywhere else.
“My parents taught me what I needed to know. My dad used to say, “If you have an idea, draw it, then make it, and then you have to sell it. So I went to trade shows, created sales and marketing packages, learned about sourcing and manufacturing, and all about gross margins and profitability,” he said. .
“There is a delicate balance between being part of a family business and running a business. But in a small business, being a family business gives a competitive edge,” he added.
When it comes to maintaining that balance between business and family, the scales will tip towards family, as evidenced by the culture that David and Sybil have built and that Evan will continue. He proudly points out that the company has never received funds from outside investors, having started its activities at every stage of the process.
“I have visions and goals for the business, but I can’t accomplish anything without our people. I want to marry our people with our organization and our strategy. You can’t be a customer-centric business without also being employee-centric,” he explained.
To help Evan build a best-in-class people organization, Emily Yueh has just joined the company as Chief People and Strategy Officer. Yueh worked for over a decade at McKinsey, becoming a partner and leading its executive education practice under the McKinsey Academy.
“We want to be a destination employer to attract the kind of talent we will need to achieve our vision and mission,” says Evan, adding that the company will grow its current number of employees from 845 to over 1,000. by the end of 2022.
Building a heritage luxury brand
“We are building a brand for longevity. It is our heritage. And legacy brands are built on trust and consistency,” he said. “A brand that your name is attached to comes with a lot of responsibility. We have a design-driven art philosophy that goes beyond mere marketing and brand building. We offer customers truly wearable works of art. .
Looking around David Yurman’s neighborhood on 57th Street and nearby Fifth Avenue, Evan observed that the streets are filled with global luxury leaders.
“These brands are doing an incredible job of leading the luxury market and whatever is good for the luxury market is good for us. But most of these brands are owned by conglomerates. Very few are private. And we’re the only private American family business in the area.
“It’s an incredible achievement to have built this kind of customer affection and loyalty towards the David Yurman brand. It all comes from the family. It’s a true legacy that everyone in the business can be proud of. “, he concluded.
Note: Michael Gabellini did not design the David Yurman Paris boutique as originally shown. Updated May 25 at 1:00 p.m.