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Zeville: The Epitome Of Luxury

Historically, luxury was not meant to be affordable nor easily attainable and that is what made it so special and dreamy. However, with the widespread of social media, what used to be in the hands of the few has become in the sight of all. A small number of brands have resisted the digital typhoon, and Zeville belongs to the classic minority.

Founded in 2010 by Saro Zeville, and all the way from the mystical German Black Forest, the luxury lifestyle brand is best known for its diamond crystal glasses and decanters.

While international labels hire celebrities for endorsements, Zeville lets its real clients do all the talking. For its selected buyers are a source of credibility and authority by all means. One high profile client that owns a Zeville work of art is none other than the most powerful man in the world, can you guess who?

We were yearning to learn more about this enigmatic brand that seemed like a membership-only club, and the only source was the mastermind behind it, Saro Zeville.

AM: Introduce us to yourself and the Zeville story
I am Croatian-born, my parents moved to Germany when I was very young. I feel German with a strong connection to Los Angeles.

I studied graphic design, but it was not the academia that initiated my passion, it was innate and came from within. At the very beginning I was a tennis player, and during my late teen years I started working in the nightlife business, as it was a booming industry in the 2000s. I did fashion events and renovated an old nightclub in my small town in Germany with an investor who encouraged me to employ all my creativity.

I then wanted something bigger, so I moved to Ibiza, and for me Ibiza has never been a party destination, it was spiritual, cool and hippie, at least at that time around. Along with my business partners, I managed big clubs in the summer and smaller ones in the winter.

Yet living on such a small island, the world feels small, so I came back to Germany looking for something new. I knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life working in the clubbing m├ętier. I had no clue what to do. I come from the black forest in Germany, a very spiritual region, and I am always fond of road trips to clear my mind. As I was driving down there one day I saw a crystal factory. At the time, I had no connaissance about the industry nor the material, so I went in for a visit. From the very first moment, I loved the reflectivity of the material and I envisioned a modern twist for it. I always felt that most crystal pieces seemed old-fashioned.

I founded Zeville, and it took me two years to bring it to life. The concept of Zeville is about taking a classic item and turning it into something innovative, there are simply no boundaries.

AM: Why the strong attachment to Los Angeles?
LA was always a dream, a goal, and I have a strong feeling that anything is possible there. So I finished my first collection, which consisted of two glasses that took a lot of technical work and finding the right team.

It was 2011, and I wanted a signature shop like Maxfield boutique on Melrose Avenue. The owner Tommy Perse was like a rock star and I really wanted to meet him. I first sent them a glass by post and awaited their feedback, then I took a leap of faith and booked a ticket to LA without any confirmation. Taking such a risk to make a dream come true was beyond worth it. The first time I went there all doors seemed to be closed, and I kept coming until one day I was standing there and Tommy Perse was present. He was in his 70s and exuded an incredible aura. I showed him the glasses; he liked them and complimented the craftsmanship and quality. But it just didn’t happen. I doubted myself a little, but here I was in LA in a completely new world and I new nothing about the game.

I returned back home, and waited, then I found out about another shop opening in LA called Just One Eye in West Hollywood. And this was the first store that took us to the city of angels. Eventually, Maxfield came back to me, and we presented our punching bags that sold in less than two hours. Another milestone was our collaboration with Mercedes-Benz.

AM: What is your product range?
First of all we have products that are priced from around 800 euros to 85,000 euros. All the material like our crystal glasses are handmade, and people don’t believe it because they look perfect. We never had any returns! The average order is 12 glasses, and they always come back for more to enlarge their collections.

We also have the punching bag in leather and exotic skins. People love it so much that they don’t use it and prefer to just stare at it.

AM: So tell us more about your clientele
Our first celebrity client was actress Gwyneth Paltrow who said our collection was so chic. We eventually started rolling with buyers from California and the San Francisco tech guys, not just fashion folks. Zeville was appreciated by clients you would never expect; people who have very classic tastes.

My strategy is to meet every one of my clients. We have a lot of billionaires form the United States and a lot of actors. But I don’t like naming my customers; I want to keep it intimate and private amongst them. We have the best clients in the world, and I don’t want to be at the center of attention, I want my products to speak for themselves. I really seek individuals who have the same brand values as mine. I love entrepreneurs, those who have built their empires from scratch. My best selling markets are the US, Switzerland and sometimes the Middle East.

AM: Why did you choose to erase your online presence?
A few years ago the general public became interested in everything street wear, which even took over the boutiques where Zeville was sold. So I bought back all my stock from LA, closed down the online store, and deleted all the social media content. I wanted to be different, anti the trend in a way.

And that’s how it is. Instead of investing in social media I want the word of mouth and the organic publicity to be my sole means of communication. The client just gives out my email and gets in touch.

AM: What is the most extravagant product you sold to this day?
It has to be a custom-made crystal statue that took us 1.5 years to create and was ordered by a Saudi Arabian client. You can’t imagine how challenging it is to do so. We did six molds to come up with the final result.

AM: In your opinion, what was they key to your success?
I am very pushy, I don’t sleep a lot, I am a hard worker and I can’t cope with a simple life. I am always planning and working on the next thing and a bigger project. I constantly have the feeling that I need to do something. I guess it comes from being a tennis player.

Obviously at the very beginning I didn’t know how to play the business game. It will never happen overnight; it takes years of preparation, the experience and knowledge of bringing a product to the market. And that is maybe why some individuals give up quickly. What I know for sure is that people are willing to invest a lot of money if they are offered an original product like no other.

For your special orders and inquires contact info@zeville.studio

Lady of the Star Glass
Diamond Crystal hand-cut from different angles. Over 8 hours of manual labor. 100% handmade in the German Black Forest.
Price: 825 euros a glass

Lady of the Star Decanter
Diamond Crystal with a polished silver stopper hand-cut from different angles. Made from 150 grams of silver by a master goldsmith. Over 3 days of manual labor. 100% handmade in the German Black Forest. Customizable with name.
Price: 8,100 euros

Black Crocodile Punching Bag
Crocodile leather. Handcrafted by a master saddler in Italy & Switzerland. Handcrafted chain available in gold or silver.
Price: 80,000 euros