Small Business

Entrepreneurs 101, day 11 – digging for business gems

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Stefano Canturi is a name that makes Australian women swoon and while Canturi has a certain appeal in his own right, it’s what he makes that can excite the lovers of fine jewellery.

“I loved miniature sculpture as a child, and I was fortunate to discover the ultimate way to fulfill my passion through jewellery design and creation at the age of 17,” Canturi recalls.

And it all began when an Italian Master Jeweller named Alfreio Anania showed Canturi “the light” and offered to mentor him.

“I instantly left school and pursued my dream,” he says.

He opened his first business, Stefano Designer Jeweller in Sydney in 1986, but his reputation has grown with his jewellery now seen in Hollywood blockbusters.

“After working on Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, a lot of attention was drawn to my work internationally and I am approached by different costume designers to work with them on films,” he explains.

International expansion

With this global recognition has come international expansion such that he opened his Las Vegas store at the Palazzo in February 2008 and then another in New York on 66th and Madison which threw open its doors in July 2009. This showed entrepreneurial guts considering the GFC’s hit to the US economy.

Given his big play to take on New York, I asked Canturi if the GFC created some challenges.

“Certainly!” he responds. “My outlook is a positive one though. A downturn ensures that we pay extra attention to the detail of our business, and the core of what we do. We are working smarter than ever and staying true to the values that are important to our clients to ensure we exceed their expectations.”

Trying to understand what motivates a business builder like Canturi, his passion is hard to ignore. 

“I am motivated by the amazing women and men who really enjoy my work,” he confesses. “I also am invigorated by the energy from visiting the different cities where our jewellery salons are – the thrill of entering a new market along with my business partner and wife Patricia who is just as motivated and inspiring.” 

Outside the square

While all great business performers think outside the square and allow their unique creativity to give them their competitive edge, it is even more discernible for someone like Canturi.

How he gets his inspiration for his designs underlines this uniqueness.

“It is very much about a mood for me,” he reveals. “When I designed my Cubism collection it was very much about capturing the exciting, innovative mood of that period which left Realism behind and invigorated the art world like nothing else previously.  
“My collection ‘Regina’ (that’s ‘Queen’ in Italian) I created as my personal interpretation of today’s modern Royal,” he says. “For me it’s about the modern royal I find in so many of the confident, successful women who I find inspiring. The designs I created for Regina are all reflective of that mood, and the spirit of those women who are at the top of their game, whether it’s in the boardroom or raising a family, they are the Queens in today's terms.”

The art of business

But it’s not all design – there is also the art of business. And this is what he says he would love to give to aspiring entrepreneurs.

“Whatever business you are starting, it's all about people,” he insists. “No matter how many degrees you have or don't have, it doesn't really matter if you don't understand people. If you are going to make your dream of a successful business a reality, you need to be able to connect with people in a genuine and meaningful way.”

And for everyone who has aspiration he counsels: “Stay true to the dream which you know is at the core of your being.  When you get lost along the way, refer back to that original dream.”

It’s little wonder that Stefano Canturi creates a thing of beauty that lasts forever!

Published on: Thursday, January 06, 2011

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