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Crest & Co: Preserving a Legacy of Craftsmanship
The world's best products sourced from history books rather than lookbooks
by Evan Orensten
on 11 June 2014
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While luxury is a word that gets thrown around casually, the just-launched private online shopping destination Crest & Co truly embodies it. With a focus more on quality, craftsmanship and identity than fashionable brands, the shop offers the best of the best, though you may not be familiar with many of the names that you see there. Many of the houses are purveyors to royal families around the world, and that is in fact how the site got its name. More than 60% of its products are exclusive to Crest & Co in the US or globally. Offering leather goods, homewares, jewelry, accessories and more, the destination was born out of a passion for the products and for telling the stories behind them.

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From the unwaveringly perfect Parisian bags by Atelier Renard to CH favorite innovative watchmakers MB&F to glassware fit for royalty from Austria's Lobmeyr, there's something to surprise even the most seasoned luxury shopper.

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"I wanted to cater to the intelligent customer who wants the best of the best from around the world, who is more interested in quality, craftsmanship, heritage or interesting brand stories than 'paying for a logo,'" says founder and CEO Nima Abbasi, himself an experienced storyteller in the luxury business. Each of the brands has a long history of producing quality products (many boast 500+ year histories), yet many have remained a secret or are known only to few. Abbasi's site is the first of its kind to bring these stalwarts of craftsmanship and style under one virtual roof. The combination of obscurity and luxury, finding these brands took a bit of investigating on Abbasi's part.

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"Instead of going to department stores, showrooms and trade shows (where you would see the same brands and products as everyone else) I went to history books," Abbasi explains. The idea of looking into royal purveyors came to Abbasi not because of a belief in following styles, but in the standards royal courts around the world set for their products. "I realized that royal families have been patrons of the arts and artisans over the past few hundred years," Abbasi says. "So if they bought leather goods or silver from a company, it was because that company was one of the best in that country—and that was the way for them to have the best but also support the best." In fact, many of these brands are the very foundation of what the "heritage brand" is built upon, with generation after generation taking over the family business in some capacity.

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One brand in the store's inventory that embodies these ideals is the Austrian glassmaker Lobmeyr. Founded in 1823, the brand was quickly recognized by Austrian royals for their commitment to quality and forward-thinking aesthetics. Now, six generations later, the company is still family-owned. Royal Courts across Europe would go on to adopt the wares along with the world's finest chefs from Brussels to Tokyo—all the while the brand maintained its commitment to quality above all else. "For us it’s important to not only appreciate the past, but also to look forward," Abbasi says of embracing both contemporary design and emerging artisans—and the same goes true for many of the brands. Lobmeyr—for example—has a strong history of commissioning leading designers and architects of the day to contribute designs for their collections.

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Browsing Crest & Co's products, it's evident that there is little competition in the marketplace. Differentiation is a key part of the store's strategy, according to Abbasi—and one look through the list of brands and it's clear they've succeeded. However, purchasing from Crest & Co is not simply buying yet another product. "The customer is investing in an asset that ages beautifully rather than paying for an item that falls apart or goes out of fashion in the next year," Abbasi says. More than just the goods, it's about maintaining traditions. "It’s about preserving a piece of our culture and the communities that depend on them," Abbasi says.

Visit Crest & Co to register for an account and start browsing.

Portrait by Nicholas Calcott, product images courtesy of their respective producer

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