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Translated by
Roberta HERRERA
Published
Oct 21, 2022
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Thomas Sabo launches new Saboteur brand in Europe

Translated by
Roberta HERRERA
Published
Oct 21, 2022

With almost four decades of history under its belt, the German jewellery brand is taking its business a step further and diversifying its offering with the introduction of its new brand, Saboteur. Founded as a family project by Thomas Sabo, his wife Rita Sabo and his son Santiago Sabo, the new jewellery and watch brand has been in the making since 2019. However, the brand did not officially begin operating until November last year, in a more favourable post-pandemic context, with an online-only launch.


Rita Sabo, Thomas Sabo and Santiago Sabo - Saboteur


After opening its first physical stores in Austria and Germany, Saboteur has launched a store in Paris as part of a strategic international development plan. At the occasion of the brand's presentation in the city, FashionNetwork.com interviewed German entrepreneur Sabo, the mastermind behind a jewellery empire that is already present in 70 countries and employs 1,400 people.

"I see Saboteur as a unique, authentic and iconic concept. We wanted to build an exclusive universe and it was very important for our family to create a new project of our own," explained Sabo about creating his new brand alongside his son and his wife, Rita Sabo, who oversees the creative process and collection design. "We talked about our differences in terms of style and inspirations, about our lives. From these ideas, we discussed how these differences could allow us to create something new," said the entrepreneur, about the development of Saboteur, which is named after a play on words with his surname.

The result? 'Sacra' and 'Elemental', two high-end lines offering watches and jewellery made of 18-carat yellow and white gold or 925 sterling silver, as well as a sophisticated range of nose and ear piercings.

"We want to create genuine pieces that customers will be happy with 20 years from now," said Sabo about the "high quality and craftsmanship" of the jewellery, distinguished by its casual style and minimalist design.


Saboteur's space in Le Marais - Saboteur


In addition to online sales which, according to the entrepreneur, "are growing steadily every month", Saboteur's strategy is built around the physical retail channel.

"We believe that people should be able to see our products in shops, where it is possible to try them on, decide how to wear the pieces, etc. Physical contact is important when buying jewellery of a considerable price", continued Sabo, detailing that the new firm's objective is to "develop itself one step at a time, selectively and without the constraints that other new firms may have, which will allow for greater focus on developing the products."

Saboteur launched its first physical shop six months ago in Vienna, located at number 8 Spiegelgasse. This was followed by the opening of points of sale in various German cities such as Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin, Stuttgart and Cologne, as well as in Paris in October inside the Thomas Sabo boutique in Le Marais, located at 33 rue Vieille-du-Temple, where the firm also offers its piercing service. In France, the German brand also operates through an extensive retail network of department stores including Printemps and Galeries Lafayette

"Initially, we want to focus on the German, Austrian and Swiss markets. Subsequent expansion will take place in Paris and London," said the German entrepreneur, who is planning to open Saboteur alone in the French capital during the first half of 2022. The firm is also planning to open stores in Barcelona and Zurich in the near future.


Elemental Collection - Saboteur


"We hope to continue to grow, but we have a fairly conservative plan. Progress will depend on the opportunities that present themselves. We are not a large group, so it is important that we apply lessons learned during Covid-19. It is essential to take things step by step and to be cautious when it comes to retail investments," said the founder of the company based in Lauf an der Pegnitz, who expects Saboteur to achieve double-digit turnover within the next two years.

"Although it is an independent brand, it clearly has the same customers as Thomas Sabo. Therefore, in Germany, our strategy for launching the brand is to rely on our network of 40 shops in premium locations, where we can dedicate a space or entire floors to Saboteur," he explained.

Targeting a "very heterogeneous" public, Saboteur already has a retail team of 50 employees and a dozen professionals in its offices.

"When you start out, you create the projects that just spring out of you. Over time, as is the case with Saboteur, you try to use the experience you have gained," said Sabo on the differences between his two businesses' early stages.

"Experience doesn't always guarantee that you'll make the right decisions!," quipped the entrepreneur, underlining the importance of having open conversations with the teams and listening to the younger generation in order to implement the best strategies.

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