'It's amazing, like a shower for your insides' - Nadja Swarovski

MY LIFE/STYLE: Swarovski's global head of design talks trampolines, Warhol and cucumber smoothies.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 24 Feb 2015

Work

I sit with my children, Rigby (10), Thalia (eight) and Jasmine (six), at breakfast before sending them off to school. I have a kale, spinach and cucumber smoothie from my Vitamix blender. The kids don't. It's amazing, like a shower for your insides.

Business attire for me is casual and practical -Charlotte Olympia flats, black Joseph trousers and a Lanvin jacket. Most days, I take a taxi to our Piccadilly office for meetings with designers. I don't want to get stuck behind my desk, or I'll never get out and feel the pulse of the industry. I just went on a refresher course at Oxford's Said Business School, and regularly attend fairs and exhibitions like the London Design Festival. Sometimes it's a two-minute conversation at a cocktail party that establishes the next project. That to me is how business is done.

Personal

I found my passion in art. One of my favourite pieces is an Andy Warhol in our boardroom, Gems no A 189. I like art that has a positive impact on my life. It's the same with music - no heavy metal! My new favourite is Empire of the Sun, but I grew up listening to Abba and Boney M. I sometimes have to justify my wardrobe by saying I'm a collector of fashion too. Alexander McQueen and Nicholas Kirkwood shoes are works of art. Sometimes I buy them and don't wear them in case I ruin them, but my daughters wear them at home!

At weekends, we go to our house in rural Berkshire. It's great being with the kids, but I never have enough time with them. The first thing we bought was a trampoline. It makes you laugh and it's so good for your lymph system.

Travel

I travel on business once a week on average, to Paris, New York and of course Austria, where our factory is. I grew up in Tyrol, which has the most beautiful mountainous countryside, and that's always home to me.

I crave the outdoors. Last Christmas, we had a great vacation in the Galapagos. It's just so Jurassic. I fly Virgin Atlantic, because it's so customer-oriented. I always bring my This Works lavender pillow spray, Kashwere travel blanket and earplugs - you never know if someone will be taking out the trash at 4am! And of course my iPhone 6. I'm not disciplined enough to turn it off, but on the other hand we're running a big business. If I don't want to check my emails, I shouldn't be in the job.

Inspirations

When I was little, I went fishing with my father. I had to catch the fish, kill it, gut it and eat it. You go the whole nine yards, that's what he taught me. As a female I wasn't expected to go into the business. When I said I wanted to, there were initially lots of sympathetic nods, but I did it.

Recently, we took the lead out of our crystal, and set up the Swarovski Foundation. So far, it's restored the statue of San Giorgio de Maggiore in Venice and set up water schools in three continents to teach kids how to care for and handle clean water. We're also supporting education at the London Design Museum, which will be the biggest in the world.

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