In Kuwait for the launch of the Alchemist pen at Alma boutique, we had the pleasure to talk to Charles Nahhas, Managing Director of Montegrappa Middle East, in this exclusive one-on-one.
Montegrappa is a brand with a long history and heritage. What has made the brand so special?
The company survived two World Wars, but the success of Montegrappa started really more recently than that, the company owners are the Aquila family and they have owned it for three generations now. They sold it for Richemont, and the third generation of the family Giuseppe Aquila bought it again with his father in 2009. Since then, he is running the business and worked in a very exclusive area, through the concept of the limited editions and the themed products.
He integrated a very dynamic energy in the company through his work in pursuing those themes and licensing, and we tend to look for themes that complement the DNA and philosophy of the brand.
How much of a focus have limited editions been for Montegrappa?
It’s a huge focus for us. We do a lot of work for our business in regular collections but limited editions are the most successful in our company for the recent years.
The display and locations are very important; the way we present our products will determine our sales. Our sphere of success is the handcrafted work we do on the pieces of our limited editions; the limitation for the Alchemist pen is of 33 pieces only. Our Gibran Khalil Gibran limited edition was a huge success, and what is nice about Montegrappa is that when you suggest new themes whether regional or international we simply respond beautifully to make it happen with extensive research and a lot of engagement in order to bring the best out of the theme and include it to our pieces. We are now going in the direction of very limited editions, which will add for Montegrappa a very important value, and it’s the bespoke editions.
What took you so long to launch the Alchemist pen in Kuwait knowing that it has been launched globally in 2012?
When we come to those limited pieces we like to take them on global tours, and until now we didn’t have the right environment for our products. We have been thinking over the last two years to open our boutique in Kuwait just like the ones in Dubai and Doha; we are still growing our retail in the region and until now our presence in Kuwait was limited and to bring out the high value piece like this we needed the right display and environment. We are now discussing with Paolo Coelho a new project; he recently was in correspondence with Sheikh Mohammed in Dubai about the importance of reading and we are sponsoring the writing competition of “Emirates Airline Festival of Literature” and we have been doing it for seven years now and it was a splendid collaboration we discovered a lot of authors and we are very proud of that.
How would you describe your relationship with your partners in Kuwait; Trafalgar?
Trafalgar people are wonderful. Our relationship started quite personal and we love them. They are very professional in retail, in the Middle East there are very few retailers who are head and shoulders above the rest and one of those is Trafalgar, in terms of class, quality and the way they present the pieces – so we are so happy to work with them.