At APM Monaco, a corporate culture defined by transparency and technology

APM Monaco was launched in Monaco in 1982 by mother-son duo Ariane and Philippe Prette, as a manufacturer of gold, diamonds and precious stones.

Thirty years later, Philippe Prette – now CEO of the company – has made APM Monaco a brand with his wife Kika Prette as creative director. The brand seeks to combine the strengths of manufacturing and fashion. In one year, they opened their first boutique in Cannes before expanding worldwide.

With 2,300 employees spread over 6 production sites and 380 stores, to date, all APM collections are created in-house. The brand produces 12 collections a year, harnessing a fast-paced creative environment in a vertically integrated business model – over 2.5 million pieces of jewelry were made in 2021, with around 1 million stones set daily.

All company operations are driven by real-time information gathered and shared by the IT and data team, supporting seamless interaction between creative, manufacturing, supply chain and sales teams to reduce delays and waste.

As APM Monaco celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, BoF speaks with Philippe and Kika Prette, CEO and Chief Creative Officer respectively, to find out how the company’s culture and employee development strategy have supported its impressive growth trajectory.

How are the values ​​of APM Monaco reflected in your corporate culture?

pc: Our team is the core value of the brand and it is important to us that they believe in what they do, whether in retail, offices or in our production sites.

In many large companies, there are a lot of fixed boxes in terms of career progression, and employees have to fight to get into the next box. We’ve never faced this at APM – as we grow rapidly, we give our employees the opportunity to explore their potential.

For example, on my creative team, I have people who came in as interns and now oversee entire departments. We give opportunities and guide people to grow – and we have a strong referral program, with approximately 50% of our hires based on referrals.

How do you incorporate more sustainable workflows and production processes?

pc: The elephant in the room these days is overconsumption, overproduction, waste and all that that entails. Addressing this issue has always been part of the concept of APM, but nowadays others are using it as a marketing tool.

When our brand was created 10 years ago, the concept was a drop system, with a different collection each month inspired by the fashion industry model. The downside of a drop model is often massive production, but we’ve thought about that – because our business operates vertically, we may introduce new collections 12 times a year, but produce just enough to supply stores and respond quickly to demand when we need it.

Our team is the core value of the brand and it’s important to us that they believe in what they do.

Because everything is digitally tracked and connected in real time, we know what’s selling, where and when. If a collection is not performing well, it will disappear. If it works, it will stay and become part of the base collection. In 2021, we launched the Wonderland program which offers: a 2-year warranty; a lifetime repair option; and a recycling program. If you don’t love something anymore, you can take it back, we’ll recycle it – the silver and zirconia will melt – and you’ll get 15% off the original price.

PP: This is the secret: the internal and vertical system that we have, offering zero time between logistics, transport, production, and everything depends on our IT system.

Why is technology such an important aspect of business operations?

PP: We have an IT system that connects everything in the company and a big data system operated by a team of about 70 people – a separate team from the website. We rely on technology, even if all jewelry is set by hand. It enables seamless interplay of logistics and production. We update and improve the system constantly to optimize inventory management in each store, and we do not miss anything.

Due to our advanced technology, we are actually classified as a technology enterprise in China, even though we are in production. The way we apply technology to production, especially in restocking, is what allows us to launch one collection a month and sell everything – we never have discounts, sales or anything like that .

Designer working on an APM Monaco necklace design.

What learning and development opportunities do you offer?

pc: Learning and development happen daily. One of our strengths is to be vertical, as we go from concept to design, from production to retail. By keeping everything together, each team has the power to see who is where and to learn internally.

PP: Employee performance is also measured on various factors. The results of the retail team, for example, are not based solely on sales, but on customer satisfaction. For me, a written customer survey is the most important competency indicator, and it provides key information to evaluate the employee. If they fall short of the criteria, we know their area of ​​weakness and we can help them with training to catch the weakness.

How do you encourage collaboration at APM?

pc: In Hong Kong and Monaco, where we have offices, we have created open spaces for increased collaboration and communication between teams. It is important for employees to understand what others are doing and to be closer to the people they work with.

On all of our production sites, we have restaurants, cafeterias and a games area with table football. There is a priority program for family members of employees, through which we offer internships to the children of our production workers, who can be in the offices or stores as well as in the production sites.