Jonathan Stanley spent 20 years working internationally with luxury brands, including Rolls Royce cars and Wally yachts, before joining Caesarstone to help establish its sixth global subsidiary in the UK
Q: The luxury industry – is it all glamour?
A: Most people assume that working in the luxury industry is one long champagne lunch. The truth is that it’s hard work, depending on what sector you’re working in and with which brands. Budgets are generally much lower than one might think and this requires significant creativity in order to achieve high standards and meet the expectations of investors and end consumers alike.
If you’re entertaining on events, then you’re the last one standing in the evening and the first one up in the morning, checking every detail as you go, often surviving on four or five hours’ sleep a night for weeks on end. I’ve lost count of the number of times that me and my teams were jet-washing cars or boats ourselves moments before a quick change in to a suit to front a VIP presentation.
Nonetheless, I’ve been very lucky, travelling the world, meeting great people and enjoying some amazing experiences.
Q: So is working in the KBB sector completely different?
A: I knew Caesarstone prior to joining the company and part of the appeal was to work with a brand at the top of its game. I see Caesarstone as a continuation of my career with premium and luxury brands.
Given the quality of our products, it also means that we are working with studios that sit at the higher price points and that are luxury brands themselves. You can see the quality in these companies, the care and the attention to detail in everything that they do. It’s magnificent.
However, it’s not all about price. A flawless service is a luxury too and quality stems from craftsmanship and skill, not just big budgets. Caesarstone works with studios across many price points and I have seen kitchen installations over the past year where, despite modest budgets, the skill of the designer, a considered choice of material and expert installation have produced stunning results.
Q: What lessons from the luxury industry can be applied to the KBB sector?
A: The luxury industry taught me where value really lies and it is in authenticity, peerless service and the consumer experience, not gimmicks and artificially inflated prices. The brands that endure deliver tangible value consistently over time. It is no accident that Rolls-Royce has maintained its position as maker of the world’s best cars for more than 100 years. Do the simple things better than everyone else. While Caesarstone’s heritage may be a little shy of a century, the company approach is exactly the same as Rolls-Royce, and I like that a lot.