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Interview: Federico Elia - Swarovski

Interview with Federico Elia, head of the Maintenance Department in Swarovski for Italy, Spain and Portugal, by Optima Retail.

Federico, tell us a little about your career and your functions in Swarovski.

Since I was in university I understood that true training is acquired in the labor field.

My career began with a wide variety of responsibilities, from the first traces in architectural plans to the direction of projects.

Interview with Federico Elia, head of the maintenance department at Swarovski for Italy, Spain and Portugal, by Optima Retail.
Federico Elia - Swarovski

My experience went through a highlight with my participation in the projects related to the Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006, where I was involved in a specialized architecture studio. I worked on various sports facilities projects for about five years.

Then I jumped into a new opportunity in a construction company doing mostly architectural and railway infrastructure works at railway stations.

In this role I assumed responsibility for overseeing works, managing material resources and leading teams.

During this stage of my career I gained valuable experience and developed key skills in project and personnel management.

Later I joined a construction company that was being created from scratch; it was a good experience in bureaucracy.

After a year in Italy came the crisis of the building of 2011, which greatly affected the company and I had to change jobs again and I started working as an export salesman until I started in Tiger, now called Flying Tiger Copenhagen.

In Tiger I was offered to manage the architecture department in store openings and practical maintenance from scratch, and in northern Italy and I was working there as Facility Manager with a team, which, in the end, managed to be 4 people. During my work we opened a little more than 30 stores so the experience was very rewarding.

I was very comfortable working at Tiger, I consider it to be a very good company because there they take care of the staff as people rather than as workers. Important aspect considering that in Italy everything is always "full": on Sundays the shops are also open, so somehow you always have to be connected and working if necessary.

One day they called me from Swarovski and offered me the job in Barcelona, and when they explained to me how managing maintenance was like a dream, but in a big way: my same ideas that I launched in Tiger, but on a higher level.

Finally, with the arrival of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, I joined Swarovski as head of maintenance and cleaning, where I manage a team of suppliers, store teams and myself, ensuring all stores are in top condition.

One of our biggest challenges is to maintain consistency and quality in all our shops, especially considering the different realities of each location.

I believe that Spain is better off than my part of Italy. I have the feeling that rest and "recharging" is more taken into account in Spain if I compare it with Italy, where I thought it never stopped. Although you can stay connected here on holiday, it’s another level.

I find that in Swarovski it is very easy to carry out new ideas, because, apart from maintenance management, my role is also to develop new strategies and having my superior in the same office makes everything very easy. At any time we talk about new projects, maybe having a coffee we comment and share the projects that with great enthusiasm we take to test.

It is always crucial to develop ideas at a global level to ensure consistency and brand identity everywhere. With franchisees it is equally important to maintain control over aspects such as appearance, furniture and ensure everything is in perfect condition.

The biggest challenge of these global projects is to address them by considering different cultures and ways of working, whether in Germany, South America, China or elsewhere. Adapting to these diversities and finding a common way to manage work is critical to maintaining the relevance and consistency of our global internal processes.

We value Optima Retail's ability to understand our specific needs and provide tailored solutions. Their collaborative approach and commitment to operational excellence have been highlights of our partnership.
Head of the maintenance department at Swarovski for Italy, Spain and Portugal.

The main challenge lies in the management of the sales team, since each store presents a unique reality. I find that being aware of every detail in each center helps me a lot to carry out my work successfully and build trust.

I like to be called by my name and feel that I am present for them, as well as remember the name of each of those who call me because it demonstrates my commitment to the team and the importance I give to each person.

What motivated you to take up this post in Swarovski?

What really attracted me to take up this position at Swarovski was the opportunity to level up and immerse myself in continuous and challenging learning. Managing maintenance in a world-renowned company like Swarovski represents an exciting and rewarding challenge for me.

In addition, the international aspect of the company and the possibility of working in a diverse environment added an additional attraction. Of course, the fact that my ex-partner and mother of my 2 children was from Barcelona also facilitated my decision, which makes this opportunity an even more meaningful experience for me.

What are the main challenges that Swarovski encounters on a daily basis?

One of our biggest challenges is maintaining consistency and quality in all our stores, especially considering the different realities of each location.

Optima Retail has helped us improve operational efficiency through agile solutions and effective communication. Their collaborative approach and ability to find innovative solutions have been instrumental in overcoming everyday obstacles.

We value Optima Retail's ability to understand our specific needs and provide tailored solutions. Their collaborative approach and commitment to operational excellence have been highlights of our partnership.
Swarovski since 1895

How has the operational efficiency of Swarovski stores improved thanks to the implementation of Optima Retail solutions?

Before working with Optima Retail, we had communication problems with our previous supplier, which affected the execution of many interventions thus generating a sense of distrust in the maintenance department by stores.

However, since we started working with Optima Retail we have experienced excellent communication, greater agility in implementing solutions and a return to trust in our maintenance team.

Optima Retail’s ability to find problems that others have not detected has pleasantly surprised us and has significantly improved our operational efficiency.

Could you share some memorable anecdote or experience related to the work done with Optima Retail?

I remember once that Optima Retail identified a problem with a water leak in one of our stores, which with the old supplier we had been trying to solve for some time. Optima Retail’s ability to find solutions where others can’t highlighted its experience and commitment to our success.

What are Swarovski’s future plans in terms of geographic expansion and growth of its market presence, and how does Optima Retail support these goals?

We are in a period of transformation towards a more luxury-oriented approach in our product offering and also with a new store concept.

Swarovski has a rich history of innovation and quality, and we are working to elevate this tradition to the luxury market. Optima Retail supports our goals by providing solutions that ensure consistency and quality in all our stores, which is fundamental to our success in this new market.

What aspects does Swarovski value as a brand in Optima Retail?

We value the ability of Optima Retail to understand our specific needs and provide tailored solutions. Their collaborative approach and commitment to operational excellence have been highlights of our collaboration.

Do you think that good store maintenance influences the customer’s shopping experience? Could you give us some examples?

Absolutely. Proper store maintenance is essential to ensure a positive shopping experience for our customers. Although we, as a maintenance team, do not directly influence sales, our job is to ensure that everything runs smoothly, that the store is in optimal condition to receive customers and that sales teams can focus only on customers, trusting that maintenance incidents will be managed quickly by the team.

Would you recommend Optima Retail?

No doubt. Optima Retail has been a valuable partner for Swarovski, providing effective solutions and demonstrating an exceptional commitment to our success.

We value feedback and transparency in our relationship with Optima Retail.

Thank you Federico for sharing your time and experiences, we wish you many more successes.



Optima Retail


Why should you be eager to have a good maintenance plan?

Because predictive maintenance not only helps you keep your equipment running smoothly, it also helps you save time and money. Who doesn’t want that, right?

With predictive maintenance, you can monitor the status of your equipment in real time and anticipate potential failures before they occur. This means less downtime, less maintenance costs and more efficient production. It’s like having a superpower for retail!

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