During the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition (DJWE) 2022, OHLALA sat with Sophie Doireau, Cartier’s CEO for the Middle East, India and Africa, and learned more about the brand’s relationship with the region and its remarkable values.
“We are Cartier, and we sell creations, creativity and incredible stones. And on top of that, we are a citizen of the world. And, for me, this is really what stands out in terms of value.”Sophie Doireau
OHLALA – The DJWE is an excellent platform for jewellers and watchmakers to showcase their creations in Qatar. How essential is Cartier’s presence in this event?
Sophie Doireau – It’s very important, a moment that we cherish dearly. We’ve been present at DJWE for the past decade; being part of this fair is very important for Qataris, and we acknowledge that. This is a rendezvous that we are delighted to restart after two years because of Covid-19. For us, this is a high jewellery moment where we have a beautiful stock of incredible pieces coming directly from Paris, and we know that our Qatari clients will love these creations. And for me, coming back after these two years and especially in my new function, I became the CEO a few months before the pandemic started, so I’m pleased to come back to Qatar in this position.
OHLALA – As Cartier’s CEO of the Middle East, India and Africa, how do you see the strong relationship people in this region have with Cartier?
Sophie – Cartier has had strong bonds with the region for around a century. The relationship dates back to 1912, when Jacques Cartier, one of the grandsons of the brand’s founder, came to the region because he heard that the most refined pearl in the world was from the Middle East, so he went to Bahrain, Oman and Dubai. And, for me, this is the starting point of the connection between the Maison Cartier and the region, which is beautiful and still, to this day, a great source of inspiration. There are many things in common between Cartier and the Middle Eastern people. And to illustrate that, I like to talk about the Panthère de Cartier collection that brings this iconic animal so beloved and appreciated by our customers here. Panthère is a beautiful ambassador of the brand, and it embodies the values that we have of elegance and power without losing our humbleness. This quality perfectly translates the relationship people in this region have with their precious jewellery and watches.
OHLALA – Cartier uses its status for something more significant than the label. Can you tell us more about Cartier Women’s Initiative? How important was it to bring it to the region?
Sophie – We are Cartier, and we sell creations, creativity and incredible stones. And on top of that, we are a citizen of the world. And, for me, this is really what stands out in terms of value. We need to fight for causes that are dear to us. Women’s empowerment has been a significant topic at Cartier for decades. The Cartier Women’s Initiative is a fantastic programme that promotes women entrepreneurs around the world. We recently celebrated its 15 year anniversary in Dubai, which coincided with our closing ceremony of the Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, another incredible project dedicated to women’s empowerment. During the exhibition, we noticed that, in the countries of the Gulf, many incredible women are at the forefront of society. I was pleased to meet them and hear their voices.
OHLALA – Ali Bin Ali is one of the biggest names linked to high-end jewellery and watches in Doha. How do you see this partnership and how important is it to have such a professional and prestigious name behind Cartier in Qatar?
Sophie – It’s been 17 years now that we’ve been together with Ali Bin Ali; we know each other very well and work together as one team. It is a beautiful partnership that we want to continue in the coming years. Especially because we want to bring the experience that our clients deserve in their own country, wherever it is. The Cartier experience in Doha has to be the same as the one they have in Paris. I think what’s important is that more and more our clients realise that they can buy locally and have the Cartier experience in their own country. Whereas in their mindset before, they had to travel to Paris to purchase high jewellery. Now, we have fabulous boutiques that perfectly translate and give the exact same feel here in Doha, for example, through a stunning ambiance, having the best sales associate and the best stock. We also organise incredible events differently in each country, running at a local level to truly connect with its people and reach our customers’ expectations.
OHLALA – Cartier has many iconic collections and the brand keeps revisiting them and making them even more relevant to the present day. Do you have any preferred one? Is there any specific piece that talks directly to you?
Sophie – My favourite creation has to be Panthère de Cartier. Specifically, Panthère Graphique, which is a stunning necklace. I see it as super powerful, and you can see that there is a panther, but at the same time, you don’t see it, so I love that. I think Panthère defines me because I feel Cartier so much in me. I feel like a Panthère woman. I’m passionate about this brand, and I also love the Middle East, so we go back to the relation of this collection with the region as well.