Paris is abuzz with fashion week runways shows and other events though the first week of October, while by appointment only show rooms are exhibiting high luxury baubles, bangles and other jewels to retailers and members of the press. This writer caught up via email with Darren Hildrow, founder of London-based NouvelleBox and Valery Demure, a shareholder in the company who works alongside Hildrow, to learn how it has morphed from an online 24-7 virtual showroom serving independent jewelry designers, retailers and the media into a superb showcase for luxury jewels every September and March Fashion Week.
A few reasons why NouvelleBox is an increasingly influential showroom/brand consultancy/jewelry media source and trendsetter: its stands for independent luxury jewelry designers and goldsmiths, it stands for the preservation of artisanal jewelry craft heritage, and it stands to serve jewelry lovers the world over. Between the two of them, Demure and Hildrow have 50 years of experience in championing, launching and publicizing independent designers and small but influential brands. Both Hildrow and Demure live and work for those designers, goldsmiths and brands that create original silhouettes, new jewelry concepts and of course, new jewelry design trends.
In addition to the multi-modal labors of industry veterans Demure and Hildrow, the renowned Parisian P.R. agency Myrène de Prémonville will be staging a NouvelleBox Press Day during Paris Fashion Week. What’s more, Fernando Arriero, formerly of the Parisian boutique Colette, is also working with Valery Demure Showroom during this Paris Fashion Week. Herewith an abridged version of our email conversation:
RODERICK: Please describe the NouvelleBox (NB) showroom vibe and its business advantages.
NB: Our showrooms are highly selective, curated and presented with the greatest care. We are not a trade show and we never will be. We offer a confidential space where retailers’ needs and expectations are discussed. For our designers, we aim to create mutually beneficial relationships between them and the world’s retailers, luxury hotels, personal shoppers and members of the press.
RODERICK: Let’s hear some vital details about your offering for this Paris Fashion Week.
NB: For starters, NouvelleBox has expanded into two luxurious, beautifully lit and airy showroom spaces, both of which are located in the 8th arrondissement. They are within a three-minute walk of one another and are accessed by appointment only. We are presenting 44 brands across these two showroom spaces, many more than we’re presented before. We are quite excited to be presenting such a diverse array of independent designers. We are happy to say that both spaces cater to visitors with coffee, tea and fresh pastries. At the Avenue Hoche location, there will be a cocktail evening for buyers and press, and in the Alfred de Vigny space, there will be a a daily happy hour serving fabulous natural wines by Canetta. To arrange an appointment time, interested parties can email: [email protected]
RODERICK: Who are some of the designers you are presenting?
NB: Aaltas, Akillis, Amrapali London, Ina Beissner, Clara Chehab, Dries Criel, Tomasz Donocik, HUM, Kloto, Mindi Mond, Eden Presley, Sally Skoufis, a wonderful new brand called Yara Sophia, Christina Soubli and State Property, which is showing in Europe for the very first time.
RODERICK: Can you outline what it is you do for your designer clients to set up and run these Paris Fashion Week showrooms?
NB: We organize everything for them. We prepare a beautiful space with luxury jewelry cabinets, branding, lighting, plus catering. In addition, we open our address books to invite the top retailers, jewelry writers and editors from around the globe. This September and October season, we are partnering with the Parisian PR agency Myrène de Prémonville Communications to organize a Press Day during the show. This initiative allows international brands and jewelry editors to meet and see the latest collections in person.
RODERICK: What are some other decisive differences that characterize the Paris Fashion Week set-up?
NB: Unlike other haute luxe jewelry showrooms, NouvelleBox warmly welcomes other showrooms and sales agents to show with them. While Darren Hildrow is managing the Avenue Hoche NouvelleBox space, he is joined there by 125 Miles, directed by Raluca Safta and The Stoned Collective, headed by David Unich. The Alfred de Vigny NouvelleBox location presents Valery Demure Showroom headed by Valery Demure plus Paragon Jewel Strategy headed by John Massad.
RODERICK: Can you outline the overarching goals of NouvelleBox?
NB: First and foremost, NouvelleBox supports established and new independent jewelry designers. Having launched and worked for multiple jewelry brands, we and our associates know the essential services, goods, etc. that are necessary for running a successful small to medium-sized business. We keep the fees for our digital subscription and Paris showroom costs affordable. With our zero commission model, we give brands the opportunity to keep the revenue they make so they can reinvest it in vital areas such as press budgets, public relations and social media to help grow their businesses.
RODERICK: Let’s say I’m an independent designer, a small luxury brand with great designs but few retail partners. Why should I sign with NouvelleBox?
NB: We aim to give the brands access to the best stores and finest jewelry writers and editors on Earth so that they can maximize their opportunities for growth.
RODERICK: How do the two NouvelleBox spacess differ in terms of stylistic tendencies and artisanship?
NB: We offer a solid, varied and high quality curation of jewellery. Some of the designers are more established than others, and some are even just starting out. One showroom may present designers that are quite different from the other in terms of aesthetics but the NouvelleBox spaces are united by the shared motto: “Quality in design, craft and presentation.” We aim to become the primary destination for retail jewelry buyers and media during Paris market weeks every March and September.
RODERICK; In broad strokes, how and why has NouvelleBox grown exponentially over the last few years? You originated the business online during the pandemic and now you are operating two showrooms during Paris Fashion Week. How to explain such growth?
NB: The main reason why NouvelleBox has seen an increase in the number of brands reaching out to partner with us is due to word-of-mouth recommendations. We aim to be fair and honest with our brands while offering services that are mutually beneficial. The jewelry world is a small community and people share information with each other freely. If the service is poor everyone knows, and if it is good, the demand increases.
RODERICK: How is NouvelleBox contributing to the evolution of independent luxury jewelry?
NB: We are contributing by increasing opportunities for independent jewelry brands to form business connections and present their work to fashion and jewelry editors that will lead them towards successful growth and exposure to the jewelry buying, jewelry loving public.