December 4, 2020

The gateway to luxury

It is not just luxury goods; it is true lifestyle that can be found in the exclusive Grieder stores.

The gateway to luxury

It is hard to resist the radiance of the elegant buildings – whether it is at Place du Molard in Geneva, at Place St-Francois in Lausanne, at Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich or at Eisengasse in Basel.

The exclusive house not only owns 15 luxury boutiques in prime locations but also stages first-class experiences in their online shop. Its history dates back to 1891 – a time when clothes were made according to traditional rules of tailoring and craftsmanship which ensured the clothes to be high quality and that they could be passed down from generation to generation.

Since 2017, Grieder Stores have been managed by Director Paolo Pitton, a tall, distinctive and versatile future developer in the luxury segment, who also has the role of General Merchandise Manager at Bongénie-Grieder, Brunschwig Group since 1 September 2020. The sense of beauty was put into his cradle: Paolo Pitton grew up as the son of a fashion entrepreneur. Even as a child, he wrote his homework in his mother’s boutiques at Lake Como, surrounded by Italian charm and the aura of luxury. For his studies in business administration, he moved to the University of Bocconi in Milan. Today, he is back in the fashion and luxury business –  more than ever.

And what is his connection to zai? During the winter season 2017/18, zai presented their ski collection in the Grieder stores. The business contact in the luxury segment soon became more.  A viable relationship between the Director of the Grieder stores and the CEO of zai. A friendship between Paolo Pitton and Benedikt Germanier. Is this the real luxury?

Benedikt Germanier in conversation with Paolo Pitton, General Merchandise Manager at Grieder, about the world of luxury

What magic will surround someone entering the Grieder world today?

It is the magic of beauty, the feeling of rewarding oneself. This feeling does not come from the products alone. Service is key. We show our customers what is currently the best – a new trend, a new combination… it is our task to make the best choice for our customers.

Thinking of luxury clothing, one thinks of Grieder – and vice versa. How do you become the address of choice?

If you want to be a leader in your segment, you have to tailor products, service and business to what people expect from you. You have to be consistent in your appearance, deliver on your promises, stay true to your status and customer experience. There are no shortcuts to this, and we are aware of this.

Grieder is also regarded as a lighthouse among luxury experts. How did the family-run company achieve this status?

Grieder is a company with 129 years of tradition. From the tailor-made clothing of the 19th century to prêt-à-porter collections, Grieder has reinvented itself again and again. This requires the right products with the right services, which are provided by the right employees. This is the case in every top segment. Let us take universities as an example. What makes ETH or Harvard so unique? It’s not the books or information. It is the choice of material, it is the people who teach, and it is the culture of learning that contributes to this outstanding status.

A good keyword: what are the criteria for selecting your outstanding products?

Although we represent a wide range of categories and brands, one can still find a commonality: we choose products of distinctive, characteristic and unmistakable value. Whether in the quality of the material or the production, be it the innovation in style, shape, craftmanship or the combination of materials: we curate products that are unique and ensure the happiness of our customers.

What is the significance of craftsmanship in this context?

Craftsmanship is essentially the value-enhancing element in an industry. It’s a long way from the moment a designer designs a product until it’s actually presented to the public. All decisions, adaptations, prototypes are handmade by experienced professionals, repeatedly, until they reach perfection. Our high-end products are handmade by our suppliers in Europe without exception. Here, we still find the highest level of competence, experience and passion for sustainable beauty and attention to detail. Luxury retains its value for a long time – luxury is timeless.

How can the two forces – on the one hand, the fast-paced and ephemeral fashion world and, on the other hand, the timeless and long-lasting luxury – be reconciled under one roof?

The creation possibly replaces uniqueness. This is indeed a challenge. Our task is to ensure that we present the best product to our customer profile. Luxury companies invest in offering them just that – the best of every segment. This is also evolving – and by fine-tuning the products in the right way and at the right time, it is possible to unite the two forces.

"zai is an excellent example of this: why is zai unique? Because you are constantly gaining new insights, developing new materials and new compounds."

What distinguishes zai from other ski manufacturers is the innovative power. You invent and launch new products that no other manufacturer has ever realised before. That will be rewarded.

The business world is becoming more and more digital. Is Grieder in some way immune to these virtual developments?

We are not immune. Digitalisation is part of our present and future. At Bongénie-Grieder, we maintain close relationships with our customers. We want to be coherent, both in the stores and our online shop.

How can this end-to-end customer experience succeed?

By offering digital customers higher service standards, such as valuable suggestions, individually tailored to the customer. But also through excellent customer service, regardless of whether the customer wants online support for purchases in the store or, vice versa, uses service in the store for purchases that he has made online. We call it the “phy-gital” credo of Bongénie-Grieder!

What will your business look like in five years?

Different. Fashion has undergone so many changes. It is natural to change. Those who follow the needs of their customers can survive. In the future, for example, the need for private shopping experiences, individual appointments, perhaps also at home or in the form of further education, which serves the appreciation of beautiful things. As with good wine, you may know what you love and what not; a sommelier can also teach you to recognise the subtle difference. But we also learn from our customers every day! The international clientele recognises a good product – they were taught, just as with wine, music and etiquette. Customers from Rome, Lucca, Milan, St. Petersburg, Paris come to us with a high aesthetic understanding. We reflect the international flair of our visitors and suppliers. Appreciation, longevity and sustainability are the new luxury – as are good and stable relationships.

Visit our SKI collection

zai skis embrace piste, powder, and all-mountain ability. Together theyembody the purest expression of the zai philosophy: quality, innovation, andperformance.

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