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Helen Nonini

  • Brand Consultant
  • Ambassador for Milan, Italy
Helen Nonini Ambassador for Milan, Italy
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Pioneering social change

Helen Nonini, also known as H., is founder & CEO of Schwa, a brand consultancy firm that supports companies’ strategic development leveraging on diversity, equity and inclusion. Schwa is the latest business evolution of H.edge, a brand strategy and experience advisory platform that Helen founded in 2015. Starting off in the fast-paced financial world, H. moved onto fundraising and no-profit sectors, hence landing in the luxury world. She built her reputation as Head of Operations manager for Quintessentially, the most important luxury concierge service, and as the go-to PR for renowned companies worldwide. She published a book, Professione Problem Solver in 2011, and worked with economist Robin Lent on the Italian edition of Selling Luxury.

What does craftsmanship signify to you?

Craftsmanship is synonymous with rarity and respect. Something rare is something beautiful, and to make something beautiful one must respect the timings of its manufacturing process, the raw materials and the expertise of the people who have worked in a specific field for years.

How does it feature in your work and life?

It is a fundamental aspect of my life, I’ve always been drawn to beauty, and inevitably I’m always looking for new stories. Artisans are not necessarily an integral part of my work, but they are an incredible source of learning, wonder and inspiration.

Do you work with craftspeople and how?

For each chef that had been nominated as an ambassador of the Madame Clicquot Prize, we made a hatbox which contained a headdress, muffs and a necklace: we worked meticulously with Atelier Altalen. For Dedar's 40th anniversary, I combined the work of Italian designer Martino Gamper, who collaborates with artisans from the Alto Adige region, with the photography of Brigitte Niedermair.

How would you define excellence?

Excellence is the ability to always question yourself. If you do what you do with great passion, you will embark on a journey, which should never end. Excellence also means being extremely competent in doing a specific thing, and to be able to do something rapidly one must have done it slowly for many years.

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