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LET IT GLOW; BACCARAT AND UNICEF RELATIONSHIP CONTINUES TO LIGHT UP THE INDUSTRY.

Byline: Carla Webb

NEW YORK-The lightings last month of the snowflake here and the chandelier display in Beverly Hills, Calif., were merely sparks in an ongoing relationship between Baccarat Crystal and UNICEF.

According to Victor Luis, Baccarat's president and chief executive officer, other Baccarat-sponsored events to benefit UNICEF, such as an Adopt a Baccarat Crystal campaign and a spring auction, are already in the works.

Luis announced the Adopt a Baccarat Crystal campaign during the lighting ceremony for the 16-foot snowflake, which graced the intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan during the holidays.

As part of the campaign, each of the 12,000 crystals that make up the snowflake can be adopted for $500 a piece. Those who adopt a crystal will receive a replica of the crystal engraved with the UNICEF logo and his or her name. Once all of the crystals are adopted, Baccarat will construct another snowflake with the 12,000 engraved crystals.

The campaign kicks off in January, and Baccarat's aim is to raise $6 million for UNICEF by June. "I've already received an incredible response to this campaign after announcing it last month," Luis said. "This will forever tie the snowflake to the New Yorkers and the groups who adopt it."

Luis hopes to also tie the snowflake to other parts of the world and has plans to take it and the Adopt a Snowflake campaign to Beverly Hills in 2005 and to Tokyo in 2006. "I want to make it an international campaign," he explained.

Baccarat already took its relationship with UNICEF to Beverly Hills last month with its chandelier display on Rodeo Drive. The company created the display, which featured 20 Baccarat crystal chandeliers -- a total estimated value of more than $1 million -- to hang at the intersection of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard during the holiday season.

After the lighting ceremony, Baccarat held a private auction to raise funds for UNICEF. With the help of auction house Christie's, the company auctioned a one-of-a-kind Diamants Biseaux crystal chandelier, as well as other luxury lots. According to Luis, the auction raised a "substantial amount of money" for the charity.

Another auction to benefit UNICEF will be held in the spring. This time, the item is one of two remaining candelabras that Baccarat was commissioned to create for Czar Nicholas II in the early 1900s. (The other will remain in the Baccarat museum in Paris.)

The company, which began working with UNICEF earlier last year, is hoping to make its connection with the charity a long-term, year-round and personal project.

"This is an international organization, and we are an international company," Luis said. "This is without a doubt a long-term relationship, and we have made a point of getting our internal team involved as well. We're targeting the whole company. Everyone in the company knows what we are doing with UNICEF, and it provides a great source of pride."

In addition to Baccarat's other plans for UNICEF, the company intends to merchandise a snowflake ornament every year, with a portion of the proceeds to go directly to charity. And Luis hopes to someday partake in a UNICEF mission to see first-hand how his company's efforts are benefitting the world.

"I've been working in luxury goods for 15 years, and luxury goods is about selling things to people that they do not need. This is different," Luis said. "I have never felt so good about any other program that we've done. I want to take our light to the darkest corners of the globe."

Caption(s): Baccarat's chandelier display on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills sparked the spirit of giving and called attention to the company's partnership with UNICEF. / The Adopt a Baccarat Crystal campaign, proceeds of which will benefit UNICEF, was born from the company's crystal snowflake that hung in New York City.
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Title Annotation:Baccarat Crystal's donations
Author:Webb, Carla
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 3, 2005
Words:641
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