Much like Nereids, the sea nymphs in Greek mythology, from which it got its name, French luxury costume jewelry brand Les Nereides swims to the Philippine shores to open its first store at Greenbelt 3 in Makati.
Friends and business partners Peejay and Anne Yambao, Arthur and Martha King, Kristine Dee, Ninoy Roco, and Paul Syjuco thought it would be a good idea to bring the brand to the country where sales of costume, more affordable jewelry overtakes that of fine jewelry.
“According to the news, the pawnshop business has lost revenue by 70 percent versus the past decade; they’re basically saying no one is pawning fine jewelry anymore, which means people are not purchasing as much fine jewelry as before,” Peejay, the president of a consumer goods distributor company, shared with Manila Standard.
But to bring just about any costume jewelry brand was out of the picture, it had to be something they believe in and love. Peejay’s wife, Anne, is a big fan of Les Nereides, so much so that she always go to their stores abroad to buy a piece or two.
Anne shared, “I’ve loved the brand since I bought from their shop in Santorini. The pieces are eye-catching, the designs are well thought-out, and the craftsmanship is undeniable.”
“Les Nereides is an inspiration from my wife,” related Peejay. “Recently, in all travels we went to, she always went where Les Nereides is.”
And it was those visits in the stores abroad where Peejay saw a business opportunity. “I observed the people coming and going, and [saw that] everyone who came in actually went out with a bag.”
Peejay, despite having no prior experience in jewelry or accessories business, got in touch with the executives of Les Nereides last year.
“I emailed them about a product inquiry and somehow got into a discussion about bringing the brand to Manila. They liked the trajectory and principles of my company which enabled us to win their business,” he shared.
Like a fine jewelry
Despite the tag, “costume” does not mean shabby for Les Nereides. Founders Pascale and Enzo Amaddeo built the company in 1980 by producing pieces using techniques employed by fine jewelry makers.
Designed in France, each piece is meticulously handmade by artisans. The malleable brass is gilded with 14k fine gold and the enameling is delicately done.
The pieces live up to the whimsicality of the brand’s name, as each is finely wrought to depict detailed images of enchanted forests, colorful flower gardens, coral gardens, animals such as snakes and rabbits and birds, and ballerina dancers. There are also refined pieces made of hand carved glass stones, perfect as formal wear accents.
Taking care of Les Nereides items is quite easy, according to Peejay. Don’t expose them to water, alcohol or acid; clean them using dry, soft cloth; store them in their original packaging or protective pouch.
Exclusive, not expensive
For its inaugural collection, the local team brought in 350 unique designs from Les Nereides portfolio. Each design only comes in two to three pieces in order to give their clients exclusivity.
The diminutive pieces start at P2,000, while the big pieces range from P20,000 to P30,000.
The Philippine distributors divulged their plan to open five more stores in the next two years. Currently, Les Néréides has around 100 stores and 300 point-of-sales in 40 countries around the world.
Les Néréides Manila is located at the ground level of Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Makati City. For inquiries, follow and contact @LesNereidesManila on Facebook or Instagram.
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