Caroline and Serge Muller’s Mad Lords Has a Winning Retail Formula

Mad Lords is truly driven by a boundless passion for the world of jewellery

Husband-wife duo Serge and Caroline Muller founded the Paris-based artisanal store Mad Lords to meld their love of jewellery with a boho-chic lifestyle. With an extraordinary taste, they channel their unique “bohemian meets rock-and-roll point of view” and translate it across a carefully selected inventory. Located in the heart of Paris, on Rue Saint-Honoré, the loft-like space of their jewellery oasis is expertly curated with an assortment of wearables from designers such as Sevan Bıçakçı, Jacquie Aiche, Anita Ko and Spinelli Kilcollin. Interesting finds also include some of the coolest Parisian brands.

“We are surrounded by more than 30 collaborators, artists, and enthusiasts, all coming from the world of fashion and luxury, some experienced, others chosen to be the pioneers of a jewellery world in perpetual evolution. Together, we are constantly building an incomparable universe around three pillars: aesthetics, arts and spirituality,” explains Serge.

Caroline and Serge Muller, Founders of Mad Lords.

How do you unite a boho-chic vibe, love of music, jewels, and art across your stores?

Even though our stores have all been designed differently and based on distinct themes, they all remain cosy spaces. We have a particular affection for flea markets – and, thus, some of our furniture comes from flea markets all over the world, including decorative pieces such as unique objects and musical instruments collected during our trips. In addition to that, the music, the perfume and the books available are all inspired by us. Each store stays faithful to its atypical style.

Our first two stores in Paris include a secret spot hidden in the back of a courtyard where we present our jewellery curation and that turned out to be our Parisian flagship. It therefore is very different from a traditional boutique because we wanted to replicate some aspects of our own family house as that is where we express our lifestyle in a deeper way.

Ruby Cross white gold necklace by Fanny Blanchelande © Mad Lords

Next door, on the same street, there is a second store which is a high-end piercing studio offering Mad Lords own private collection, Mad Precious and Ethical, as well as some of the pieces from our core jewellery designers.

Our third location is in Deauville, closest to Paris on the seaside, and is a mix between our Flagship and our piercing studio. Here you can find some exclusively reserved collections for Deauville. This April we opened our most recent boutique in Saint-Tropez, a bohemian and lavish as well as authentic and luxurious place of celebrations. Inspired by the musical universe of the 70s, this new space is a jewellery store and a piercing shop-studio, where we welcome experienced tattoo artists, by appointment only, on certain weekends.

Flinking Whisper bracelet. © Mad Lords

How did the business fare during the lockdown?

The pandemic has strengthened the need to spend on nice things. People are looking to buy from new designers – and purchase new styles that they have just discovered instead of what they have already known or well-recognised ones. Moreover, they are now more focused on environmentally friendly aspects. We had suffered from a store business slowdown during the pandemic due to lockdown and the lack of foreign travellers. During this period, e-commerce partially compensated for the slowdown in business in the stores. Since January, things have been going back to normal.

How did you adapt your retail business in these challenging times?

Our digital approach definitely changed during the pandemic as we welcomed a team of digital marketers at Mad Lords in order to boost our online presence and sales. We expanded our digital team from one member to six members by the end of 2020. Thereafter, we drastically increased our digital communication spendings, which resulted in positive results.

Did your online sale see an increase compared to in-store sale?

Indeed. Our online sales are growing and represented more than 25% of our business during the past years affected by the pandemic. Since our stores offer such a unique shopping experience, the structural trend is to keep a majority of our sales in stores.

Pillars of light bangle by L’atelier Nawbar. © Mad Lords

How do you go about choosing brands for your stores?

We select a designer based on our common values and the relationship we have with them. It isn’t just a simple business relationship – it is founded on mutual respect. A long-term relationship is established when we feel on both sides a strong will to participate in a common venture. When a relationship only takes into account the business aspect and nothing else, it cannot be part of Mad Lords projects. We also develop very specific collections with some of the rarest people – artists that are also poets, gemmologists, gurus, etc. We have discovered those rare and unique people during our multiple trips around the world – Mexico, Israel and Lebanon, among other places.

Which are some of the independent as well as established names that you carry?

Our independent brands include designers such as Fanny Blanchelande, Atelier Nawbar and AWKN1. When it comes to bigger names, we have Jacquie Aiche, Shamballa Jewels, Sevan Bıçakçı, Maria Tash, Kismet by Milka, M Cohen, among others. We also have some in-house brands and create those based on our inspiration. The most successful one is the piercing jewellery line, Mad Precious and Ethical, with pieces exclusively made in ethical gold.

Pink tourmaline and diamond butterfly ring by Gem Palace. © Mad Lords

Which Indian brand have you embraced at Mad Lords?

We carry Gem Palace that has stood proud as one of India’s iconic jewellery houses for over a hundred years with a family history highly tied with the history of their country. We admire the fact that the Kasliwals – founders of the brand – are skilled jewellers and gem cutters that have passed an impressive craftsmanship, passion, and artistry from generation to generation.

Are you attending COUTURE 2022 to explore new works?

Due to the Saint-Tropez store opening, we unfortunately won’t be able to attend Couture this year. Most worldwide designers still come to see us – so, we will not lose any creative momentum despite this decision.

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