In dialogue with the founder family Fritsch: be open to change - a story about tradition and the future
The Fritsch family has been in the jewelry industry for 28 years, and the 2 older children have recently joined the family business
Jewelry creations with a sense of craftsmanship and fine materials. Sustainable luxury production from the family-run jewelry manufacturer Capolavoro in Bavaria. Founders Gerhard and Andrea Fritsch and daughter Theresa talk about values, visions and change.
Tell us a little bit about your family history, how did you get into the jewelry industry and what motivated you to found Capolavoro?
Gerhard Fritsch: Where should I start?
Theresa Fritsch: As a founding father, I think you should start from scratch.
Gerhard Fritsch: After graduating from high school, I did an apprenticeship in a bank, then completed a business degree. Selling has always been a lot of fun - I worked at the Munich men's fashion house Hirmer while studying.
The weakness for beautiful things I had received from my parents in the cradle. My father worked as a sales representative, initially for cosmetics - later for jewelry. My dream has always been to be self-employed. After completing my studies, I accepted a job as a sales representative at Schoeffel Perlen and set foot in the jewelry industry.
At Schoeffel, I learned a lot about our industry. Then, at the seemingly right time, I gathered my courage and founded the company - with the support of my wife but without financial support. One year later we got married and since then time has passed us by. We are lucky to have 1991 healthy children - the two elders are already working in the family business.
Theresa Fritsch: Capolavoro was founded in my younger brother's room. I can still remember exactly how we used to play with our cars in the cable mess when we were little children.
Gerhard Fritsch: Capolavoro has developed from a retailer with a small repair workshop to a recognized jewelry company that produces its products sustainably in its own factory in Inning am Ammersee and sells it in Germany and internationally.
What is special about your company?
Familypower, Italian frivolity and stylistic confidence clenched with German energy and business sense. In addition, the infinite attention to detail and an in-house factory, which is always in search of a new innovation and thinks outside the box.
What is 2nd-Life Cycle Gold, where do you source it from and what is the motivation to use it?
Gerhard Fritsch: 2-nd-Life Cycle Gold or recycled gold is the gold that is obtained through a complex precious metal recycling process. This is where old gold is made reusable - in short, about a continuous material cycle. In other words, no new gold is extracted or siphoned off, no finite resources are wasted - instead, existing gold is used.
This ensures that the raw material needs of future generations can be ensured. Precious metal recycling is therefore closely linked with environmental protection. We procure the processed gold from the renowned Scheideanstalt C.Hafner from Pforzheim.
Andrea Fritsch: We did not choose “Recycled Gold”, for us it was the only option from the start. Everyone can do something to protect our environment - this is our contribution to it.
Now, a breath of fresh air comes through the new generation, namely your children enter the business. What new impulses do you expect from this?
Gerhard & Andrea Fritsch: We are currently experiencing a concentrated breath of fresh air. That is super important and a good thing. A lot is questioned and processes are analyzed. On a small scale, you could even say that we are in the process of reinventing ourselves.
In addition, our children bring specific know-how with them that we have not even dared to think about before. It is a digital age that the boys have in their blood and that we elders should receive with open arms and approval.
Second Generation, children of the Fritsch family
How do you manage the balancing act between the well-tried and the new?
Gerhard Fritsch: For me it's not a balancing act between one and the other. Rather, it is a matter of attitude. The magic word here is: "be open to change".
What is your favorite personal jewel and why?
Theresa Fritsch: My favorite piece of jewelry is our Espressivo Highlight Collier. I love these many small, elaborate details, the delicate rose-colored design and the combination of colored stones (rose quartz, topaz sky blue, topaz London blue, amethyst, diamonds).
Gerhard Fritsch: My favorite piece of jewelry is our Dream Snow Globe Lucky Stars. Our dream snow globes are a real technological masterpiece full of technical sophistication and show all the skills and self-image of our manufactory and contain our fantasies, dreams and longings.
Andrea Fritsch: My favorite piece of jewelry is a pendant from our Cielo line. A real hand flatterer, made of rose gold with a total of 255 diamonds 0,90CT.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Theresa Fritsch: The upheaval in the jewelry industry could not have been more dramatic in recent years.
The biggest challenge we've ever faced at Capolavoro has been, or still is, bridging the gap between a very traditional industry - which sees "digitization" as the biggest enemy - and on the other hand to face our competitors by digitally positioning ourselves with the resources we have at our disposal - which are very limited.
Try to turn a medium-sized sailboat in full speed and let it go against the wind - that costs a lot of power. Some people go overboard in the whirl, others need to acquire new skills.
How important is transparency and sustainability for you and how do you implement this?
Gerhard Fritsch: Looking back, it can be said that we have always been sustainable, but until recently we did not declare it as such - it was more of a subconscious act that has always been there. We only buy stones from fair sources and process recycled so-called 2nd-Life Cycle Gold. Our manufacturing building is a wooden house, we get all of our energy from solar panels that we have attached to the roof.
Transparency is important to everyone at Capolavoro. I do not want to give away too much, but we are now considering how we can make the entire value chain or production chain more transparent for our customers.
How do you see the future of the jewelery industry, and how should it change to become more sustainable?
Theresa Fritsch: In my opinion there will always be wealthy people who have the urge to buy something unique, luxurious and valuable. In other words, the luxury jewelery market will not get any smaller; there will definitely be changes in our customers' purchasing behavior, or the focus will be on other markets.
Jewelery turns into little smart wearables - it should offer its wearers added value. Each manufactory is eager to create a masterpiece that stands out from the crowd and speaks for itself - that captivates the customer immediately and is unique.
We were looking for such a piece of jewelry for almost a decade. Now we have ours in September Billion Dreams Collection launched. Limited special editions and dream snow globes, which touch each and every person emotionally. They are small technological and innovative masterpieces.
And one last question: what does luxury mean to you?
Theresa Fritsch: For me, luxury means: spending time with my loved ones - preferably in a hut high up in the mountains, where it's very quiet and the freezing cold rises up your nose - and knowing that my whole family is healthy is.
Gerhard Fritsch: Enjoying time with my family - over a nice dinner with all the children, grandparents and with my loved ones.
Andrea Fritsch: We agree on that! It's great that we have already passed on our most important values to the children - roots and wings.
Thank you very much for the interview.