To mark its 40th Anniversary, APM, a contemporary fashion jewelry company founded in Monaco, wanted to create something that could truly resonate with everyone in the APM family. Kika, the creative director, says, “it had to be a teddy bear.” Not only was it the very first hallmark of the company, but to Kika, it was also something that summed up what the APM team is and represents — love, affection, childhood, and innocence.
Working with her design team, she created Collection Yummy, a playful assortment of rings, necklaces, and earrings all sporting handcrafted, bejeweled little bears in a multitude of colors with names like Wonderland, Mood, and Captain and Valentin. Collection Yummy is a perfect example of what APM Monaco does so well: design and produce and distribute timely collections at accessible price points for a chic, global clientele looking for something special between the hard luxury and costume jewelry space — a well-made, fashionable statement piece.
APM Monaco was established in 1982 by Ariane Prette and her son Philippe. It began as an Original Design Manufacturer (ODM), working in gold, diamonds and other precious stones for well-known jewelers and companies from around the world. The brand became synonymous with expert craftsmanship and quality. Then, in 2012, now backed by 30 years of navigating the competitive jewelry landscape, Philippe and his wife, Kika Prette, had a new idea for the company. They would create their own jewelry brand, combining the chicness of Monaco and the inviting lifestyle of the South of France.
But instead of gold and diamonds, and the high cost that comes with them, they would work with silver and cubic Zirconia diamonds. Each piece would be handcrafted and micro-set by the same highly skilled craftspeople that had worked at APM for decades now. Kika and Philippe both knew that starting something new — making such a drastic pivot — would come with a host of challenges. But they also knew there were opportunities to be had as well.
When they brought their first collection to the market, luxury multi-brand retailers refused to stock it. This should have been a massive roadblock — nowhere to sell their products — but instead, it forced the budding brand to reevaluate their business plan, which they did, and in doing so came up with what turned out to be the perfect business model: APM Monaco would become a direct-to-consumer business. Not only that, but they would also control every aspect, from creation, production, communication, and distribution.
This integrated business model — from brand to consumer — also allowed them to do something which was quite radical at the time: design, produce and distribute 12 entirely new collections per year. Again, this was years before the idea of “dropping” a new piece or collection via social media became all the rage. The first of each month, APM offers an entirely new collection, some 40 to 50 pieces (their most iconic collections include ROMA, MANA, MÉTÉORITES, and FESTIVAL), as well as simultaneously releasing a new campaign and a soundtrack tailored to the collection that becomes the soundtrack for all 400 global retail spaces. It’s an audacious plan, perfectly executed.
Having created a winning strategy, most companies would simply stay the course. But Kika felt something was amiss, especially today, as sustainability has become something much greater than an omnipresent buzzword. With that in mind, she came up with a unique way for APM Monaco to be part of the environmental change.“This year, we are launching our Wonderland Program. We started working on it to establish a connection based on trust, quality and longevity with our APM community.”
“The program was created around the idea of Reloving Your Jewelry,” she explains. “Instead of keeping your unused, preloved pieces — like that ring you haven’t worn in months — you will be able to recycle it and give it new life. Wonderland Program members will be credited 15 percent of the original value, which can be deducted on their new purchase at a maximum of 15 percent of the value of the purchase. The idea of ‘recycling’ a piece of jewelry, of helping your customer give something back while keeping them part of the brand, is one more fresh approach for APM Monaco to stay relevant in 2022 and beyond. Given this, Wonderland Program members will be offered an extended 2 year warranty, as well as a lifetime of repair and cleaning beyond the warranty.”
But what’s next after celebrating its 40th Anniversary, creating new monthly collections and campaigns, and rolling out their Wonderland Program? Will Kika and APM Monaco venture into the metaverse, or perhaps release an NFT collection? Kika’s keeping her cards close to her chest. But whatever it is, it’s sure to incorporate the driving forces that shape the brand’s unique identity: Chic, our DNA; Fashion, our industry, and Smile, our signature. Kika wouldn’t have it any other way.