From city banker to jewellery designer, Robert Tateossian founded his eponymous brand after finding a gap in the market for innovative and modern cufflinks, which has earned him the nickname ‘King of Cufflinks’.
Born in Kuwait, educated in Rome and fluent in seven languages, Robert decided to switch to the world of fashion after dedicating seven years to banking. His designs have no creative limits, with many of the signature Tateossian elements reflecting his appreciation of mechanism, aesthetics and the unconventional. We chat with Robert about his collections.
How did Tateossian begin?
“Tateossian was born in London in 1990. Even though I was an investment banker at the time, I identified a niche in the typically traditional field of cufflinks. I wanted to leave the corporate world and work in fashion as an entrepreneur, so I embarked on the journey of building Tateossian. Initially, I set up a small workshop in Birmingham and started the business with a capsule collection of cufflinks, which I them presented at trade shows around the world.”
What are your core brand values?
“At Tateossian we believe in mindfulness and sourcing ethically. We always look at our supplier chain and review them to insure they comply with all international standards for manufacturing. I like to recruit and promote internally so that an intern today could head up a team in several years. We have a strict design ethos to be unique, innovative and to always be at the forefront of designs - presenting fresh collections twice per year.”
"We have a strict design ethos to be unique, innovative and to always be at the forefront of designs"
Where do you source inspiration for your designs?
“Since I spend 80% of my time on the road, I draw inspiration from everything that I get exposed to during my travels. This could be furniture from the Salone del Mobile in Milan, the latest skyscraper in Beijing or an art exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery.”
How do you want someone to feel when they’re wearing your jewellery?
“Jewellery is about love, but it’s also about feeling good. For some, wearing jewellery provides a feeling of strength and power, but ultimately it reflects the mood you’re in. Wearing cufflinks is the finishing touch to any outfit, whether worn classically with a tie or with a blazer and jeans for a casual look.”
"I’m a strong believer that in life you should help whenever you can. We tend to support nearly every charity that approaches us."
Do you work with any charities?
“I’m a strong believer that in life you should help whenever you can. We tend to support nearly every charity that approaches us. However, we’ve had long term commitments of support with the Elton John Aids Foundation, with whom we developed a capsule collection for our 25-year anniversary - where 30% of retail proceeds were donated. Similarly, I’ve supported the Terrence Higgins Trust for over a decade and actively work with them on organising their annual auction at Christie’s. Our Boxes of Delight, which contains pieces of jewellery, helps raise more than £15,000 every year.”
"I wake up every morning excited about all the projects we are working on so I don’t mind working nearly 365 days a year.”
How do you ensure a good work/life balance?
“When you own your own business, work and private life are intertwined and difficult to separate. Luckily, I wake up every morning excited about all the projects we are working on so I don’t mind working nearly 365 days a year. No matter how busy a week is, or how many cities I have visited, I make sure to get some exercise, or have a walk through the park. Similarly, I like to finish my workday by sharing a nice meal with a friend, going to an art exhibition or the theatre. Just doing something different. In today’s world, when our phones are glued to our side, it is so important to make sure we disconnect completely at least for a few hours every day.”