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Coralie Charriol Paul on her father’s love for the Philippines, being a woman boss, saving the planet, and more

By MONIQUE TODA, The Philippine STAR Published Nov 09, 2022 5:00 am

The glimmer of the gold chains accessorizing Coralie Charriol Paul’s corporate look added an aura of softness. Feminine, but not too much. The necklaces were from Charriol’s iconic St-Tropez line, and she exuded pleasant, “girl boss” vibes. Her Forever bangles and bracelets told another story (I will get to that later) of saving animal sanctuaries and the ocean.

Coralie is the daughter of famed luxury watch and jewelry brand founder Philippe Charriol. She is currently the creative director, executive chairwoman, and CEO of Maison Charriol.

Pillar for the brand: Charriol’s iconic St-Tropez watch has been in existence for almost 40 years. Coralie Charriol Paul redesigned and updated the bestselling timepiece.

I find out that Coralie is a passionate environmentalist and supports women’s empowerment, which she attaches to the Charriol brand via various projects. It is refreshing to see this awareness and relevance in a product. Continuing her father’s legacy but moving forward to the maison’s second chapter, which is “Charriol 2.0,” she has been busy with redesigning its St-Tropez watch, releasing several jewelry collections and watch-dial animations, and launching a cable bracelet for the Apple Watch. She is also working on their ecommerce platform complementing its boutiques. What’s more, Coralie is gearing up for the brand’s 40th anniversary next year.

Charriol St-Tropez Mariner Shackle necklace and bracelet

With a spectacular view overlooking Manila Bay during her recent visit, we chatted about her father, the Charriol brand, causes that are close to her heart, and on being a woman at the top.

On her father, Philippe Charriol

THE PHILIPPINE STAR: Your father, (the late) Philippe Charriol, went to the Philippines numerous times. What were his memories of the country?

CORALIE CHARRIOL PAUL: He loved the Philippines. There was never an Asian tour for him without a stop in the country. It was not work for him. It was pleasure and being with friends that were like family. He loved the beauty of the Philippines, the people, the way of life, the values.

Being a woman at the top is not easy. We wear many hats. We take care of our children, husbands, families, career.

He was very close to the Tantoco family, especially to Nedy’s mother, Glecy Tantoco, who gave him the break. Then he became close to Ambassador Benny Tantoco. He would go to their family birthdays and weddings. The Tantocos would also attend our family’s special events. So business was always secondary when he visited, but business was also good and successful. The Tantoco family did an amazing job listening to my father, working with him, understanding his vision for the brand, and building it together. I think the success was because they were a really great team.

Philippe Charriol (1942-2019): Watchmaker with a vision 

How do you plan to impart the legacy of your father in your future collections?

My father was an incredible businessman and an expert in marketing. For the brand’s 40th anniversary in 2023, I have gone through our rich archives, taking all of the best details of different timepieces, and putting it together in a new watch line, to be launched next year. I can’t tell you more right now, but that will be our homage to my father.

On being a woman and at the helm of the company

You wear three hats in Charriol. How do you combine the responsibilities of each? Or how does each role complement each other?

I started with many jobs at Charriol. It’s been 20 years since. I did PR, marketing, sales, design, and learned many aspects of the business. My favorite is creation and design. I did handbags for 10 years and jewelry for almost 15 years. Now I am focused on watches. Creation and design excites me, and gets me up in the morning. But it’s not done every day. I am also the CEO who handles the business and numbers side. To balance both, when I am working on the business side, it is definitely not a day for creation. They don’t mix. During the week, it is broken up to three days for business and two days for creation.

Coralie Charriol Paul on a recent visit to Manila: She is the creative director, executive chairwoman and CEO of Maison Charriol.

Being a woman at the helm of a successful luxury brand, what do you think you bring to the table in terms of creativity, management, and vision?

I am my father’s daughter but I have my own vision. Also, the world has changed. The consumers have changed. The way people shop has changed. I’m very flexible and want to go where it’s best for Maison Charriol. Being a woman at the top is not easy. We wear many hats. We take care of our children, husbands, families, career. And we still have to look good. It’s a lot and some things fall through the cracks. I often tell my 13-year-old daughter, “brave, not perfect.” It is what matters.

On causes close to her and Maison Charriol’s heart

You have designed quite a few jewelry collections and items for your brand. What piece do you cherish for personal reasons?

The ones I like most are my Forever animal bangles because there is a collaboration with specific NGOs. Over the last decade, I would come out with animal bangles every few years. The very first one was with elephants. I love elephants. Aside from the bangle, we also included an elephant design on the dial of the Forever watch. We partnered with an organization called The Elephant Family, which protects elephant habitats in Asia. A portion of the sales of this line goes to that organization.

Proceeds from a portion of the sale of Forever Elephant bangles go to The Elephant Family, which protects elephant habitats in Asia.

After this, we designed the Forever Ocean bangle and watch dial collection. This led to the screening of The Story of Plastic, a documentary on the crisis of plastic pollution. This year we focused on the tiger. Each of these designs helps preserve a habitat for animals, or helps in fighting plastics dumped in the ocean. So in the end, it is my dedication to helping, as much as I can, to save the environment. That’s why it’s dear to me.

Charriol’s Forever Ocean collection was in line with the screening of The Story of Plastic, a documentary on the crisis of plastic pollution.

Do you feel that being relevant and promoting causes through your products gives a larger purpose or meaning to your brand?

Yes, it does, and it is authentic. It is who I am and how I was brought up. I am a bridge between the generation of my father and my children, who had and have different worthwhile causes. Charriol is focused on two, which are: saving the environment and women’s empowerment.

The Izadora bangle is named after Filipina actress Izadora “Iza” Calzado. Does she embody the Charriol brand?

We chose her because she is an international woman of substance. She is an actress, but also an activist. She is about to be a mother. She is a career woman. She’s trying to do it all, but is aware that women’s mental health is important. She is very much what I want the Charriol woman to be. A portion of the sales of the Izadora bangle goes to the Kinaiya Foundation, an organization that focuses on women’s mental health from low-income communities.

Charriol’s Izadora bangle was named after actress Iza Calzado: A portion of the sales of the item goes to Kinaiya Foundation, an organization that focuses on the mental health of women from low-income communities.

On Maison Charriol’s DNA and the business

What piece or collection best represents the heritage of the Charriol brand?

First and foremost, we are a Swiss watchmaking company. My father created incredible watches in the past, including the St-Tropez. Our DNA is the cable, the material we use, which is identifiable to Charriol. The cable is made by an atelier in Switzerland that has been making it for 40 years. It has a 24-step process to get the quality we have, and is handmade.

The “cable” is identified with the Charriol brand: It is handmade with a 24-step process in an atelier in Switzerland. Here it is in the St-Tropez Mariner Link Bangle.

In luxury brands, do you see a growth in sales in online platforms, or do your buyers still prefer to physically see and feel your products in a brick-and-mortar store?

It is definitely a mixture of both. We are focusing on an omni channel with brick and mortar, where one can have a full concept of Charriol. However, nowadays people are very much on their phones, and a lot of visuals and storytelling is digested in this medium. Ecommerce and boutiques complement each other. For instance, on weekends people tend to go out, which includes shopping. So a boutique experience is still needed. But when they come home, they go back to digital platforms.

During COVID, when people stayed home, online sales accelerated from 8 percent to 12 percent. There are certain markets that are leaders in digital sales, and some markets that are very much retail. Some countries still have a mall culture. The Philippine market is so unique because I think it is one of the most digitally connected in the world. Filipinos are the most up-to-date with messaging apps, and they influence each other. It’s a culture of recommendation.

What pieces or collections are the brand’s bestsellers?

Worldwide, there are three: there is the St-Tropez watch; then we have the Celtic and the Forever Collections. These three are considered the foundation, the core collections. It is amazing to us how these same pieces appeal to those from the Philippines, Taiwan, Kuwait, and so on. It just shows the global attraction of Charriol.

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In the Philippines, Charriol is exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc., and is located at Greenbelt 5, Power Plant Rockwell, TriNoma, Central Square Bonifacio High Street, Rustan’s Makati, Rustan’s Shangri-La Plaza, SM Mall of Asia, Alabang Town Center, The Podium, Newport Mall, Robinsons Place Manila, Robinsons Magnolia, Marquee Mall Pampanga, Rustan’s Ayala Cebu and Abreeza Davao. Now open at Glorietta 3 and Okada Manila. Also available online at Trunc.ph, Rustans.com and Zalora. Visit ssilife.com.ph and Facebook, subscribe to the SSI LIFE YouTube Channel, or follow @charriolph and @ssilifeph on Instagram for more information.