Power Players: Cristian Schwarzwelder
A conversation with Cristian Schwarzwelder, Head of Sales at Turquoise Yachts
After achieving a B.S. in Product and Yacht Design in Los Angeles and finishing a Master Business Management degree in Rome, Cristian went straight into the marine industry with Versilcraft. Following a brief period back in the U.S. with Sparkman & Stephens as a designer, then marketing manager, he returned to Europe with stints at Benetti in Viareggio, masterminding the construction of their London office, and Blohm+Voss in Hamburg as vice president of sales, responsible for both new build yachts and refits. Moving to Monaco in 2013 to yacht consultants Yactco, Cristian was involved in the refit and project management programs of yachts from 75m to 130m. Since 2015, he has headed up the sales office for Turquoise Yachts in Monaco.
What is unique about your company’s service or product?
We are a full-custom yacht builder and service shipyard based in Turkey that has recently gained in value by belonging to the same owners as a well-known Dutch shipyard, which has not only enhanced our excellent reputation, but has also opened up new supply channels from engineering to subcontractors.
What sets your business model apart from the competition?
Because we have a range of tried and tested hulls at various lengths, we start with the construction of our yacht projects ahead of the client’s commitment to purchase them. The advantage to the client is a shortened delivery time since the lengthy engineering and preparation work will be well advanced by the time he/she decides to purchase an almost ready and brand new yacht that can, time permitting, be personalized. Only a few shipyards do this on a large scale like we do, both in yacht size and numbers.
What is the current state of production at your yard?
We have five yachts under construction with two more due to start. This year we will be completing a 47m, next year a 77m, followed a year later with an 80m. To ensure that our clients have a choice of new yachts already in the build stage, we are about to start a 52m and a 66m. To keep pace with our development plans we have doubled our shed capacity and launched a new floating dock. All our projects are being developed in close collaboration with renowned yacht designers (Winch, Nuvolari Lenard, H2, Vetruvius, to name a few) to assure contemporary and top quality design that will last in time and give additional value to our yachts.
What is your personal philosophy on customer service?
Mainly availability and responsiveness, backed by a knowledgeable after-sales team, including technicians and staff that are dedicated to this very important part of our business.
What do you see as your greatest business (or personal) accomplishment to date?
After I stopped working for Blohm + Voss, I launched my own consulting business in Monaco. That was probably one of my greatest business challenges at the time. Leaving a world famous, secure company to set up my own shop from nothing was a scary thought, but it had to be done.
What has been your greatest business (or personal) challenge to date, and how did you overcome it?
Probably my greatest personal and business challenge was when we (my wife and 4 year old daughter) moved from New York to Italy without a job waiting for me, based on my dream to build yachts and work for a shipyard. The goal at the time was to work for Perini Navi, however, I ended up working four years at Benetti instead. My former colleagues from Sparkman & Stephens in New York told me that I had moved to the dark side (meaning from sailboats to motoryachts) just because I loved the Italian food so much.
For more information or to contact Turquoise Yachts, visit their website at turquoiseyachts.com or CLICK HERE.
ABOUT POWER PLAYERS
Achieving sustained success in the yachting industry is a great accomplishment. These entrepreneurs and executives and the companies they represent have thrived in the face of great challenges. The ways they approach their businesses and their reflections on customers, innovation and service should inspire anyone seeking to be the best of the best in a highly competitive environment.