Trollbeads sets its sights on extending inflight and cruise business

Danish jewellery brand Trollbeads is extending its footprint in travel retail. Its mission is to increase brand awareness and to have travel retail accounting for at least 15% of turnover by 2025.

Following the formation of a Copenhagen-based global travel retail department last year, Trollbeads appointed Marianne Jensen as Travel Retail Manager in May 2018. The brand was a first-time exhibitor at the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition in May and the interchangeable jewellery specialist will make its debut at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes this year.

‘Every story has a bead’: Trollbeads wants to write its own tale in travel retail

“All channels within travel retail are of great interest to Trollbeads,” Jensen said. The jewellery brand’s products are already available on selected MSC ships and inflight with selected airlines; inclusion in airport stores is, therefore, one of the brand’s priorities.

“Our strategy is only to go for airports where we already have a strong local presence as we need to tie into local knowhow,” Jensen added.

Trollbeads, which has an ‘Every story has a bead’ tagline, started life in 1976 in a small jeweller’s store in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The concept is based on interchangeable jewellery pieces. At the heart of the collection are the beads with designs inspired by mythology, astrology, fairy tales, fauna, spirituality, cultural diversity and everyday living.

The Trollbeads products include bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and accessories. The jewellery is made from 18ct gold, sterling silver, Italian glass, freshwater pearls, amber and precious stones; each glass bead is handmade from red-hot glass in the open flame and no two Trollbeads are the same.

Trollbeads Founder and Owner Lise Aagaard heads the design team, with family members still creating a large part of the collection. The Aagaard family was behind the development of the Trollbeads’ ‘Uniques’ concept, which began as a charity project, providing self-sustainable workshops for exiled people in Asia. Over the years, the Tibetan designers developed their own styles, incorporating their cultural heritage into the Uniques collection, which is now supported through four crafting centres, three in India and one in Lithuania.

Trollbead’s focus for 2020 will be to strengthen its existing cruise and airline network. “Inflight is very important to Trollbeads as it increases the brand awareness globally,” Jensen said.

“The next two years will be all about growing our presence in strategic selected markets. Our largest markets today are Italy and the US. Therefore, the cruise business in Southern Europe and in the Caribbean has a huge potential for our jewellery collection, because it is perfect to create travel memories and personal stories.

“Ideally in three to seven years, we will have 360-degree coverage, meaning that our products will be available in high streets, in the air, at sea and in airports on a global scale.”

Inspired by nature: Trollbeads’ Golden Nightfall range which will be featured at the upcoming TFWA World Exhibition

Jensen said travel retail accounts for 2-3% of Trollbeads’ turnover. “We expect double-digit growth by year 2021 and travel retail to account for at least 15% of our total turnover by 2025,” she added.

On the domestic market, the brand is focusing this year on expansion in Poland and Spain, two countries which, Jensen said, offer much potential. Trollbeads will soon be available in three malls in Dubai and opportunities in South America and Asia are also targeted.

“Trollbeads is already well established in several Asian markets, hence it is only natural for us to pursue growth within travel retail. Our first focus is on the airlines based out of countries where we already do have a strong local presence, for example, China and Taiwan.”

Every piece a storyteller: Attention to detail is part of the Trollbeads DNA

Jensen noted Trollbeads’ strength in the cruise market through its collaboration with MSC Cruises, which includes an MSC-exclusive bead, the Tattoo. The MSC Tattoo is designed by Louise Rimpler, who is a regular contributor to the development of new Trollbeads designs.

Jensen said the brand does not have other travel retail-exclusive lines but is open to suggestions from existing or new partners.

Glass beads are made and finished by hand

Is there a ceiling to the Trollbeads beads concept? According to Jensen the correct answer is both yes and no.

“We want to keep the collection in a size that leaves room for lots of creativity, but still is not too overwhelming,” she said. “Also, we want the collection to be fresh and modern. Therefore, new beads are added to the collection every year, and this makes it only natural that we also retire some beads from time to time.

“Of course, we keep the bestsellers and the most beloved beads in the collection, and also beads that we feel are very important to our DNA. For instance, the very first Trollbead, Faces, from 1976, is still a part of the collection.”

Trollbeads’ Faces remains a bestseller in the sterling silver bead line-up

Trollbeads’ latest Golden Nightfall collection will be highlighted in Cannes (Green, J43). The range is inspired by nature and includes a Fantasy necklace and earrings and flower wreath. Golden Nightfall combines sterling silver with black and red onyx, amethyst and tiger eye and presents 12 new glass beads.

The collection will be available in stores and online from 6 September.

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