Inclusion, empowerment are key to success, says Pomellato's Sabina Belli
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Inclusion, empowerment are key to success, says Pomellato’s Sabina Belli

Inclusion, empowerment are key to success, says Pomellato’s Sabina Belli

The group CEO of global jewellery brand, Pomellato, says cultivating a shared vision and fostering a culture of empowerment have been paramount to the company’s success

Neesha Salian
Pomellato group CEO Sabina Belli

Elegance, individuality and empowerment – these are the values that each piece of jewellery from Pomellato embodies.

Set in Milan, the Italian maison has a rich heritage of superior craftsmanship and innovative design. Its goldsmiths meticulously blend traditional techniques with contemporary flair to create iconic collections, including Nudo, Tango, Capri and Sabbia.

But Pomellato is more than just exquisite jewellery; it’s a movement for change, encouraging women to embrace their authenticity and express their style with confidence and grace. Every Pomellato jewel and advertising campaign reflects the spirit of sisterhood, supporting women in many forms, from anti-violence projects to inclusivity awareness.

Sabina Belli, the group CEO of the brand since 2015, is the force driving this movement.

One among the only 5 per cent of female CEOs in the world, Belli is a powerful voice for women’s emancipation. She spearheads initiatives such as PomellatoForWomen, a powerful platform amplifying the voices of diverse women across the globe. From launching inclusive campaigns to penning a heartfelt memoir, Belli’s dedication to fostering female leadership is well-known in the industry.

Gulf Business caught up with Belli when she was in Dubai to speak on a panel sponsored by the brand focusing on women in leadership and highlighting the achievements and contributions of women in different fields.

Belli said on the occasion, “A common thread between women who lead is first our ability for making things happen and to make a difference, to each have the will to make dreams a realisation, to turn a constraint into an opportunity to look at the positive side and not to take ‘no’ for an answer. It’s important to discuss these topics and share our experiences as women to keep it as a conversation for now and for the next generation, including all the women in this region, where entrepreneurship and leadership is a powerful reality.”

Here, she shares her insights on empowerment, craftsmanship, and the legacy of Pomellato.

You joined the Kering Group and took over as group CEO of Pomellato in 2015. Tell us more about it.

I’ve been given a remarkable opportunity to lead the company through a transformative journey since 2015. It marked a significant shift in my career, transitioning from roles in large corporations to taking the helm of an Italian family-owned jewellery brand with the mission of elevating it into a global player.

Early on, I recognised that beyond achieving business growth, Pomellato required a profound cultural transformation. Founded on the visionary insight of Pino Rabolini in 1967, Pomellato was crafted for the evolving needs of women, setting it apart from traditional jewellery brands. However, to propel the company forward, we needed to evolve in every aspect, from retail to innovation, to resonate with modern consumers while honouring our heritage.

Over nearly a decade, the most challenging aspect hasn’t been the business aspect but rather the cultural shift. Cultivating a shared vision and fostering a culture of empowerment have been paramount to the company’s success.

What is the key to ensuring success in business?

As a business leader, the primary responsibility is to bring value to the company, focusing on profits and value for the shareholders. This requires a critical competency: having a strong grasp of business and financial acumen. Understanding the financial aspects of the business is essential because that’s what the shareholders and the management are looking for, regardless of gender.

While discussions about female leadership often emphasise additional qualities like empathy, the foundation must always be a solid financial understanding.

Once this is established, it’s possible to incorporate other elements that foster a positive work environment. For me, the well-being of employees is paramount. I want people to be happy to wake up in the morning and come to the office.

When work becomes a burden, it reflects a dual problem: dissatisfaction within the company and personal misalignment with one’s role. It’s important to continuously assess one’s place within the company and what the company offers in return. If this mutual benefit no longer exists, it might be time to move on.

Additionally, I am driven by achievement and tangible results. Seeing a visible change and celebrating those successes with the team is incredibly gratifying. This is what motivates me: accomplishing tasks, seeing improvements, and sharing those moments of success with the team. It’s important to enjoy the journey and the quick wins that come with our work, making the process both satisfying and fun.

In essence, while financial acumen lays the groundwork for effective leadership, fostering a supportive and enjoyable work environment and focusing on achievements and visible results are crucial for driving a successful and motivated team.

Effective leadership, I’ve learned, starts with clear communication and instilling a collective desire to pursue a common goal. Despite the technicalities of running a company, the human factor remains the most complex, requiring attention to cultural, personal, and motivational dynamics.

Empowering women and overcoming fear have been central themes in this journey, reflecting the broader significance of embracing diversity and inclusion
in leadership.

How have you retained the values of the brand and its original vision?

Our values and vision have always been deeply rooted in a higher purpose beyond jewellery-making. Since our inception, our founder envisioned a brand that empowered women to express themselves freely and confidently in a rapidly changing society. This creative intention, to provide women with personalised and empowering jewellery, remains at the core of our identity.

Over the years, our commitment to this purpose has evolved to match the evolving needs of women in today’s world. While our primary focus remains on creating exquisite jewellery, we recognise the importance of using our platform to advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Through our campaigns, advertising, and social media channels, we strive to address relevant issues such as work-life balance, equal opportunities in the workplace, and gender-based violence.

We want to articulate in a much more concrete and straightforward way to women that “we hear you, we see you, and we are here to help you reach your goals”. Our mission is not only to provide beautiful jewellery but also to support and uplift women in their journey towards empowerment and self-expression. In doing so, we honour the vision of our founder while embracing a more inclusive and progressive approach to luxury.

What sets Pomellato apart from other jewellery brands?

What sets us apart and makes each piece we create stand out are three fundamental pillars. Firstly, our unwavering commitment to artisanal craftsmanship distinguishes us. Every single Pomellato piece is meticulously handmade by our master goldsmiths, a tradition we’ve upheld for decades. With over 100 skilled artisans crafting each creation, we ensure that every piece exudes a sense of uniqueness and unparalleled quality. This dedication to craftsmanship is not just a tradition but also a signature of our brand.

Secondly, our design philosophy is deeply rooted in the rich artistic heritage of Milan, where Pomellato was born. Inspired by the city’s vibrant creativity and influenced by renowned industrial designers, architects, and artists, our pieces embody the essence of Italian style. Each design reflects a harmonious blend of elegance, innovation, and contemporary flair, making Pomellato jewellery instantly recognisable.

Lastly, Pomellato embraces the idea that jewellery should be worn and cherished every day, not just for special occasions. Our pieces are designed to be versatile and effortlessly stylish, allowing individuals to express their unique personalities and celebrate their achievements, big or small.

This inclusive approach to jewellery resonates with our customers, 86 per cent of whom purchase Pomellato pieces for themselves as a form of self-expression and self-reward.

This emotional connection between our customers and our brand creates a bond that transcends mere ownership, turning each piece into a cherished symbol of personal empowerment and individuality.

In your opinion, how has the concept of luxury changed since the pandemic?

Initially, right after the pandemic, I thought there would be a significant shift in how people perceived luxury. My behaviour and the global sentiment at the time suggested a move towards more sensible spending and a focus on essential values. However, two years later, I realised that the fundamental nature of luxury remains unchanged.

Luxury continues to captivate people by offering an extraordinary and mesmerising world where everything is unique and of pristine quality. It’s about beautiful creativity, aesthetics, and compelling storytelling. These elements create an emotional connection that elevates the luxury experience. The essence of luxury lies in its ability to make people dream and aspire towards something greater, a trait inherent in human nature.

Human history is a testament to our desire to create and appreciate beauty, from the pyramids to the Taj Mahal and Versailles. This drive to achieve the extraordinary and leave behind remarkable legacies underscores the enduring appeal of luxury. As long as luxury brands uphold their commitment to exceptional quality and creativity, there will always be a place for luxury in the market.

It fulfils a deep-seated human aspiration to reach for the unattainable and believe in a world more magnificent than our own.

What would you be doing if you weren’t helming Pomellato?

If I was not leading Pomellato, I’d likely pursue a path focused on improving lives, perhaps through humanitarian work, a childhood dream that still resonates deeply with me.

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