Jean-Christophe Babin has a mission: to make the world a more beautiful place. The Global CEO of Bulgari and his luxury goods company align themselves with Save the Children, a non-profit that seeks to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children. For the past seven years, Bulgari has donated the profits of its ‘Save the Children’ collection, yielding over $50 million to date—the largest donation of all time by a luxury brand. It has also embarked on a three-year partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, including sponsoring its annual Oscar night viewing party. Here, Bulgari’s CEO discusses the brand’s philanthropic partnerships, why giving back is so important, and what it takes to keep a business that’s existed for 132 years relevant in today’s fluctuating economic climate.
Why is giving back so important to Bulgari?
We are always surrounded by beauty and this is an incredible privilege. I feel it is our duty to give back to our community, in Rome, and also to do something right with a significant amplification in the rest of the world.
Talk to us about your partnership with Save the Children.
We are particularly active in three types of programs: education, emergency response and youth empowerment. In areas affected by disasters, our spaces allow children to resume a scheduled routine. We have just started a new youth empowerment program in Albania, Bolivia, Nepal and Uganda, where we will empower 20,000 deprived youth by enhancing their soft skills, building their capacity and improving their economic conditions.
Bulgari created a Save the Children collection. How do the pieces reflect your partnership?
The Bulgari Save the Children collection is made of sterling silver and black ceramic. It is elegantly sober and rather minimalistic. It says, ‘I care about doing good and looking good.’
Tell us about the new #RaiseYourHand initiative.
Raise Your Hand talks about courage—the courage to stand out, speak [out] and do what is right. Buying a ring can provide a life-changing opportunity to the most vulnerable beings in the world.
What’s the best part about working with the EJAF?
The Elton John AIDS Foundation [is] an organization we respect for its high level of integrity and ethics. We believe that it is possible to end AIDS during our lifetime; the science already exists and now we are proud to take a stand with Elton, David and the rest of the EJAF community to say no to stigma, yes to health, equality and to the end of AIDS.
What are the challenges in keeping a luxury brand relevant?
Bulgari mixes tradition and innovation. We have the ability to create ne jewelry pieces and, at the same time, be innovative in creating watches with complicated and surprising mechanisms. We always keep in mind that the consistency of the past is the essence of the future.
Is there a celebrity or celebrities who embody the Bulgari brand?
Lily Aldridge, our new brand ambassador, embodies the sun-kissed Mediterranean Renaissance beauty, while conveying the audacity and allure that render her Bulgari’s ultimate modern muse.
Photo Credit: Bvlgari