GORAN SVILAR & ALI SAMLI ON CONSEPT
THE STORE WHICH BOASTS KYLIE MINOGUE, AMAL CLOONEY AND KATE MOSS AS CLIENTS
ConSept is like Dover Street Market, but painted in gold. While Dover Street Market caters to the uber-cool, ConSept caters to the uber-rich. The new concept store on London’s King’s Road boasts Kylie Minogue as a client and both Kate Moss and Amal Clooney have been spotted wearing items that are exclusively available at ConSept. With a brand roster that includes Hermès, Versace, Baccarat, St. Luis and Vistosi, it’s no wonder the well-heeled of the world are flocking to it. We caught up with owners, Goran Svilar and Ali Samli to see how they’re building a success story on the King’s Road, which apparently is just one more string on their bow when it comes to luxury entrepreneurship.
To shop at ConSept, you have to have a fairly robust salary. What made you want to launch what is arguably the world’s most luxurious concept store?
“ConSept caters for almost any salary and pocket. In store you can find pieces for as low as £25, but equally as high as £50,000. I agree that the ones in the £25 range are mostly gift items or home accessories, but still available to almost any salary. What is not available on the shop floor, we can supply via clients’ private orders through the shop or our concierge service. I think what differentiates us, is not prices, but our selection of items where we do make sure to cater for our varied levels of clientele. Everyone has to leave the store with a smile on their face. That’s our rule. Most of the concept stores around a world focus on the usual, famous, expensive brands and forget about new, upcoming designers who can provide exciting and equally quality-driven products, but with less chance to see them at other stores. This is where we come in. We will choose expensive stuff. Well-known stuff. But we’ll equally focus on bringing young designers in.”
Aside from ConSept, you have a whole portfolio of other luxury businesses. Can you tell us about them, briefly?
“As briefly mentioned, the closest connection is our concierge company, S2 Concierge, which takes care of everyday needs of our regular clients who came to us exclusively through recommendation. S2 Concierge can find anything a client needs. Well, almost anything. We know where to find the rare Hermès Birkin that a client needs tomorrow, or a mini Kelly, the art piece that has been hidden in someone’s vault for decades or ‘number one’ of a limited edition collection of watches that of course is already owned by someone else. That’s what we specialize in, the seemingly unattainable. Building on from the concierge service, we had to open another company dealing specifically with real estate and project developments. Our clients are relocating more and more to different parts of the world and we take care of their move, buying a new house and renovating the new house. In some cases it turns to even bigger tasks of serious acquisition assistance. S2 Design and Property grew organically from our clients’ needs. S2 Drinks has always been around as luxury drinks have always been a part of our clients’ parties.”
Top tips on what the guys should be buying themselves at ConSept?
“The guys have been slightly neglected so far, which is really surprising considering both of us are guys and totally not leaving the house unless we’re well-dressed. We are only starting with men’s lines this autumn, but hoping to present some fashion in summer 2016. So for the time being, men can take good care of their ladies, or their houses, or their bars. Our Imperial Collection Vodka range and the Fabergé collection is definitely on the top of the list - or Grand Brulot – 20 year old cognac distilled with coffee. We also have a range of our own t-shirts that feature Jessica Rabbit and an Alexander McQueen one that says, ‘God Save McQueen’ – we can’t keep them on the rails. They’re one of our best sellers for both guys and girls. We also offer personalised fragrances in partnership with Welton.”
We love your fashion china – the mug and plates. How did you come up with the idea to do it, as they are your own in-house products, correct?
“All the credit for this idea goes to Ali. I'll give him that 100%. Both of our backgrounds significantly come from dealings with porcelain and fine bone china. We have both been witnessing for many years people being into serious china patterns, and then less serious ones. We wanted to create something fun, in line with our connection to fashion and Ali came up with this brilliant idea. The concept was developed through Ali and our in-house illustrator. The collection is produced from fine bone China not too far from the shop, in Stoke on Trent, so we do follow a ‘Made in Britain’ philosophy.”
We’ve heard you’ll be celebrating your first anniversary soon. Any plans and will we be invited?
“Any friend of ConSept will be invited. Actually as long as you make us look good, you will be invited, definitely. We are coming up to one year already and I can only say that I somehow missed that part where you crawl like a baby, as it has been constant running, which is great. We always like to celebrate, get our clients together, thank them for their love, care and support and just get to know them better and get them to know each other better. It really is a great tool as a lot of our clients are residents in the area, but then again, a lot of them are only in London part time or relocating - so this gives them opportunity to meet interesting people, share experiences, their business cards and just widen their circles of friends.”
How would you describe your personal style?
“I have so much French in me (Goran Svilar), so it transfers to my style. I have to say, I like to look street - so, yeah, I call it French chic combined with London cool.”
“Sports and the gym is a big part of my life (Ali Samli), so it is reflected on my personal style. Designer trainers are my favorites and I like to combine a smart shirt or jacket with a hoodie or polo style t-shirt, but they are always fitted, almost like made-to-measure.”
Who are you favourite designers?
“I really wouldn't want to hurt anyone’s feelings (Goran Svilar) and particularly as I would choose anything from Ralph Lauren to Gucci, which by the way I can carry like no other can - Alexander Wang, Rick Owens, Valentino, then you'll find a Zara garment lying next to SL or Dior… just about anything is in my wardrobe, but I would have to say I'm more of a brandiac. I think Ali is more open minded when it comes to fashion.”
“Brands are important to me (Ali Samli) because I value the design and quality aspect. Having said that, I also love to wear new designers. They are more unique. When it comes to accessories such as watches, belts and wallets, I am very picky.”
Will you be adding menswear to the mix at ConSept anytime soon?
“Yes! As a matter of urgency. In fact, if you can recommend any cool, but well-made brands you think we simply MUST have, please send them our way. We are very happy to look at options.”