Gabriel Suárez: «Our jewels are like a tattoo because they always represent a special moment»

Gabriel Suárez: «Our jewels are like a tattoo because they always represent a special moment»

ADRIANA DEL VAL RUIZ Santander

What memory comes to mind when you think of that ring from your mother, from your grandmother? Or in a more specific jewel that you now wear, but that has been in your family for generations? For me it means a world, I feel that I carry part of the history of my roots in my hand. It is a difficult feeling to explain, but one that, at least for me, comforts me, makes me feel sheltered. The importance of a jewel often goes beyond its economic value.

And, if I ask you about a Spanish jewelry store, which one comes to mind? For me it is clear, Suárez. And not only because in my house it is a tradition to buy in their stores, but also because one always hears this name when talking about great jewelry, spectacular pieces...

This wonderful jewelry house, now in its third generation, lands in Santander at the hands of El Corte Inglés. For this reason, I have had the great pleasure of chatting for a while with its creative director, Gabriel Suárez. Grandson of the Bilbao founder Emiliano Suárez Faffián.

Gallery. Image of the Suárez boutique of El Corte Inglés in Santander, which is on the ground floor along with other jewelry firms. /The English Court

What I liked the most during our conversation is the love that Gabriel transmits for his family, for the legacy that he now has, together with his brother, in his hands. The care with which he describes the past and present of the company, the complicity he has with his father... they only show that the great success of Suárez is the passion and the stories behind the work that each one hides of his jewelry. I leave you a little of him, through his words:

-You arrive in Santander from the hand of El Corte Inglés. What does it mean to have an ally like this great shopping center and open in our city?

-Opening in Santander has been something logical. Our expansion to the North has gone very well, perhaps because of our origins in Bilbao. In Oviedo we are doing very well, in La Coruña too and, of course, it is a very natural step to open in Santander. From the hand of the English Court it was the same because we trust them a lot and in the alliance we have. We are sure that our jewels will be very well received by the people of the city.

- Talk about expansion. How and when did it start?

-About eight years ago we started working with El Corte Inglés and opened about nine stores in the most powerful centers: Seville, Zaragoza, some in Madrid... The result was super positive, not only financially, but also, but because of the leap we managed to make to democratize the brand.

-How have they achieved it?

-Seeing us at El Corte Inglés, many new customers realized how competitive our brand is, which until then had not been so obvious. We must bear in mind that sometimes walking through the door of a jewelry store is imposing, and now, with a more open concept like that of El Corte Inglés, people feel more comfortable and open to getting to know us. Especially among young people. For the brand, of course, it has been a before and after.

-He talks about the importance of "breaking the barrier" with the client, and that the latter dares more and more to trust jewelry. How do you manage to transfer this to the online world?

-More and more people are daring to buy jewelry products online. Not perhaps as it happens with other products, because the purchase of a jewel involves emotion and feeling, but there are more and more customers who buy on the web. In addition, there are more and more women who give themselves jewelry and buy it online, or men who, due to distance or lack of time, cannot go directly to a physical store.

-But the magic is lost...

-That is clear, since in a physical store you interact with a person who advises you with all confidence and becomes the 'expert friend'. That is why on our website we have only one person dedicated to online customer service. This professional was already part of our team and has worked in a physical store, so she knows every detail of the brand perfectly. She knows how to put the necessary care and dedication so that each client feels unique. And we give them all the facilities so that, wherever the customer is, they buy with all the level of attention that they would have in one of our stores.

Gallery. In the center, Benito Suárez flanked by his sons Juan and Gabriel (right)./dm

-The history of the Suárez family and jewelry is wonderful... What has growing up in such an environment given you both personally and professionally?

-My grandfather founded the company and it was my father and my uncle who developed the business, because my grandfather died very young. At that time we only had one store in Bilbao, but due to socio-economic issues and the desire to grow, they decided to move to Madrid and open there. It was the year 82. That change transformed our lives. We would be very different if we had only grown up in Bilbao. It was certainly a wonderful and great change for the brand and for us as people.

-How do you remember your childhood?

-I remember coming to the jewelry store as a child and seeing my father creating, choosing stones, sapphires or diamonds for a piece... It was something normal, day to day, and we grew up without any pressure of being part of the company. My incorporation has been totally natural, in fact, I studied Journalism. When I finished my degree, I didn't see myself one hundred percent working as a journalist, so later I studied Gemology in London.

-Journalism is very vocational. What was the turning point to get fully involved in Suárez?

I wanted to have the opportunity to decide. I really liked writing and I chose to study Journalism. If I didn't work with my family, I saw myself fully in that career. I worked at La Razón, for example, and today I still write an article or for the Communication department of my company. As we have sucked the profession since we were little, the jump was very logical and natural. In addition, both my brother and I are closely linked to the product part, which is the one we know best. We surround ourselves with great professionals for everything else, but the product is part of us. We work, in what is for me, the soul of the company: the most creative part.

-As a creative director, what should a jewel have for you?

-On his day my father told me to sit down with him to get to know the creative part. Before, I had gone through almost all the departments to get to know the company well and we were very clear that our most traditional part, the one that my grandfather defended so much, was the answer to why we are leaders in Spain. Despite the changes in society, my grandfather insisted that we could not have intermediaries, that we should always have our own workshops and design 'in house'. Today we continue to take care of these details and, despite the fact that we develop many more jewels, we continue to treat each one with great care, regardless of its value. That is the key of Suárez.

-And yet Suárez has always been a modern and avant-garde firm...

-We have been expanding our most innovative part by making jewelry that no one was making anywhere. We have created jewelry that becomes amulets, that tell a story that reaches the customer. Collections such as 'Romeo and Juliet' or 'Amulets of Frida', inspired by the Day of the Dead in Mexico, tell stories that have moved us and that we have captured through a jewel.

-I've heard you say that buying a jewel is like getting a tattoo, is that right?

-Totally. One usually gets a tattoo for very specific and special reasons. For example, I have two very important moments in my life. Buying our jewelery is a bit like this: to remember an engagement, the birth of a child, a beautiful friendship... In the end, something that marks your life in some way and a jewel will always remind you of it.

The boutique will have five exhibition tables. / The English Court

68 square meters in El Corte Inglés de Santander

The Santander boutique, adapted to the Bruno Moinard concept, is located inside El Corte Inglés de Santander (Nueva Montaña, s/n, 39011 Santander). With a commercial area of ​​68 square meters, the boutique will have five exhibition tables, a showcase and a sales table.

Leather, raffia or iron are part of the chosen materials. Its multifaceted glass showcases favor accessibility and allow the value and beauty of each of the exhibits to be perceived. Its spaciousness will lead us into a cozy and intimate space, and an elegant atmosphere that welcomes us.

El Corte Ingles, Bilbao, Cantabria DFashion, FashionTrends