Sabina Belli is fiercely passionate about the luxury industry and in particular the jewellery label she leads. With her mix of Italian heritage and French culture, this passion for the finer things in life is perhaps unsurprising.
“At Pomellato, it’s in our spirit to never go mainstream, to always be a creative, fine jewellery house,” she says. “Our vision is to be a global player in the market, to be rule-breakers, to stay true to our strong Italian roots and always be free and versatile in our ideas.”
Sabina has worked in the luxury industry for more than two decades, spending most of her career with LVMH in France before returning to Italy to join the Milan-based Pomellato Group for the CEO role in 2015. Since helming the brand, renowned for its use of colourful gems and innovative styles, Pomellato has seen a positive shift to steady, year-on-year growth.
“We believe what makes the difference is creativity and innovation, with a very high standard of quality,” she declares.
Sabina leads a team of 900, including around 100 goldsmiths who handcraft each Pomellato piece. “The will to be unconventional in the world of jewellery is a value that has remained strong throughout Pomellato’s 50-plus years of history,” she adds.
Here, Sabina shares how she leads the luxury jewellery house with a strong heritage to uphold, but a determination to be different.
Rule #1: Kindness first, always
I believe in kindness and in people as a starting point for everything. If one is to set out to do something, first and foremost, be kind. And I don’t mean being soft and gentle. I mean listen, be modest and humble, and believe that there are always people who know more than you and can guide you – that can be inspiring. This kind of leadership performs much better because it includes empathy.
Rule #2: There are no rules!
I prescribe to beliefs rather than rules. Beliefs open the door to new, inspiring possibilities.
Rule #3: Be genuine
When I joined the company I ran a questionnaire among our team to find out which values bound us together. The set of values that was shared can be summed up in one word: genuine. It covers the gamut of values, such as authenticity, ethics and honesty, and is the hallmark of people who are not superficial or pretentious. It’s something that really speaks to me.
Rule #4: Inspire those around you
I believe in providing my team with a lot of hope. Hope is what allows people to dream and to reach impossible goals, and that is what business is really about – it’s about trying to surpass ourselves. I aim to provide hope to people to be self-confident and have faith that they have the possibility to achieve their highest objectives.
Rule #5: Believe in yourself
You have the resources and strength to get to where you want to go. Don’t listen to anyone who may put you in doubt. I would tell my younger self to be more.
Rule #6: Never stop learning
What excites me about the future is that there is always something new to learn. I love the energy that the world is offering; it’s just a matter of grabbing the opportunity. Whether you are young or 90 years old, it’s up to you how you feed your brain.
Rule #7: Look inwards
To me, it’s important we have a bit of introspection, and make sure that when we’re gone we leave behind the memory of a decent person.
Rule #8: Share your goals
I run the company with clear communication. I believe that everybody should be absolutely aware and aligned with the scope of the company’s goals. It is about walking the talk all the time – to all teams, in every office – so that I can make sure everybody is motivated and willing to make things happen.
Rule #9: Be agile but stay true to your brand
The world these days is ruled by so many macro elements, from the new digital world to the global shifts in consumer behaviour. These bring new rules to the business game. You must be adaptable and opportunistic in order to keep up with constant change, but you must also be protective of the brand’s DNA, or risk losing your soul.
Rule #10: Create an emotional bond
Value creation is key in luxury – the creation of a strong emotional bond with the consumer. The notion of pleasure, beauty and excellence is behind every luxury product. I’ve always been fascinated by luxury and why we are attracted to it. I believe it is attached to how we as humans have a constant motivation to look for something better.