Maurice Leonard

Maurice Leonard

Founder & CEO of Gold & Wood

Retail / Luxembourg

“Many Hollywood stars, politicians and business leaders wear our glasses”

Gold & Wood was incorporated in Luxembourg 22 years ago, back when it was a pioneer in the woodwork and eyewear field, and has since achieved international recognition, so much so that eminent personalities such as Jean-Claude Juncker, Tim Cook or Sylvester Stallone all wear glasses from the brand. Maurice Leonard, founder of Gold & Wood, tells us more about the company’s incredible journey.

To what do you owe the success of your brand?
Our brand identity is built around noble materials, all crafted in Luxembourg. Our aim is to produce the nicest frame there is in the world. For that, we don’t measure the time spent on the manufacturing of our products; we would rather select the best materials there are in the market (be that metals, buffalo horns, silk, exclusive and rare woods, precious stones or more) in order to ensure that the handmade eyewear made by our master optician craftsmen is unique and of the highest quality. Today, our main challenge is to promote our brand to new markets.

How are you planning to develop your brand globally?
Our eyewear products bear no logo, as we are focused on the product, its comfort and its quality before anything else. Our target is to reach high net-worth consumers who have the financial power and a taste for beautiful things, art and quality. We are very discreet in our marketing and intend not to show off. We are betting more on word-to-mouth, and prefer to target customer by customer. We are at the opposite of mass market; that’s why it’s difficult for us to engage into traditional marketing activities, as we are highly focused and targeted. Our products are not easy to sell, nor are they easy to present, but when they land into the hands of the end-consumer, that is generally enough for them to understand and feel the quality and uniqueness of what they have purchased.

To what extent do you think that Gold & Wood glasses could serve as an Ambassador for Luxembourg?
The Luxembourg government did a study to assess their notoriety internationally. The company that did this study came across our name and was surprised to hear about us. They contacted us as they found we could act as a good promoted as a ‘brand of Luxembourg’ all over the world. We are the only one who produces handmade products in Luxembourg, and we have already made our mark: Many Hollywood stars, politicians and business leaders wear our glasses, including Tim Cook, for instance. These people are highly demanding, and that says a lot about the quality of “Made in Luxembourg” products.

How do you explain the traction and interest that you generate on the US market?
The US was one of the first foreign markets where we started to sell our products because we felt that our eyewear would have a lot of success there. Our first distributor in the US did invest a large chunk of his budget in advertising our products in the first year, which helped build our reputation. This led to a great demand, and from there we grew very quickly and started to sell directly. Today, the US is where we experience the biggest growth.

How would you summarize your experience as a foreign entrepreneur in Luxembourg?
Luxembourg has been a very good host country for our company, and part of our success lies in the fact that we are established here. As a foreign entrepreneur from Belgium, I believe that Luxembourg is the place to be.