Meet Benoit Laval, High Jewellery & Exceptional Creations Sales Manager at Piaget who moved from overseeing 200 people at La Réserve to just 6 at the Piaget Boutique in Geneva. Prioritising empathy, he has proved that the human dimension will always take precedence and that it's not what you know, but the time you spend with people listening.
My career journey
I help friends find what they're looking for. That's how I describe my role, and it's been my modus operandi since the beginning. Originally from Paris, and after having lived in France and Ukraine, I knew I wanted to move to Geneva with my family, so I dove head first at the opportunity to join La Réserve as Deputy General Manager in November 2014. It was there that I met the people that would open the door for me to the Group. Shifting from hospitality to retail was natural. I had the right attitude – the rest can be learned.
Piaget was looking for someone to direct their flagship boutique at the Rue de Rhone. The idea of moving into retail was very exciting to me. On paper it looked like a step back, because at La Réserve I was overseeing 200 people, versus six at Piaget, but the challenge was amazing. I was lucky because the team at Piaget had been there many years. We worked a lot on how we welcome people and bring the sunny side of life into the boutique. I also loved the expectation of going outside to hunt new clients. To consider that building relationships outside the boutique was as important as the boutique itself was new to me. The brand manager for the Swiss market empowered me to do it and thanks to him, I’m here today. “When you start from scratch and you want to try new things, you have to be in a milieu of confidence, you have to feel that you are being supported – and I did.”
People think every day at a boutique is the same, you open, you close, you see some clients, but the fact is that every day is different. One of the highlights was the day I met Mr. Rupert. He came into the boutique in December, to buy jewellery for his daughter. He was very cool. We talked about the Chinese restaurant at The Réserve, which he likes very much. And he said, we need guys like you from hospitality because you have empathy. It's proof that the human dimension takes precedence. It's not what you know, but the time you spend with people listening. Three years into the role, HR approached me to help build a new position that would act as a bridge between headquarters, the boutiques and our clients. That's how I landed where I am now.
“What I've learned is that you have to lose to know how to win. You have to try things. You can fail. But you are not allowed not to try anything. We are here. Try and try again and then you will figure out how to win.”
My biggest learning
I’ve been living for this magical Piaget spirit for a few years now, and I really do love this Maison. What I'm most grateful for is that the Group, and Piaget, lets me be myself. I was even pushed to express myself even more. The Benoit of today has changed, and his perspectives are much wider. What I've learned is that you have to lose to know how to win. You have to try things. You can fail. But you are not allowed not to try anything. We are here. Try and try again and then you will figure out how to win.
Some final words
If I look back, I'm amazed at how a scientist with a degree in molecular biology and genetics became director of a luxury boutique. There is one word that sums up the bridge between these two worlds. I am someone who can’t do anything alone. I need to share. I need to care. If hospitality and luxury found me, it's because of the clients and the people. I thrive on building relationships, enjoying the best part of everyone and making something with it, with my team and my clients. Everything is about exchanges with people. It helps me grow and helps others develop themselves as well.