I would like to thank Avi for agreeing to this interview. Avi Vieria has taken on one heck of a challenge becoming the face of Renato. She seems to be up to the task of improving the reputation of the brand and to prove that Renato is headed in the right direction. Renato and Avi just recently launched a TTV on ShopNBC and if the success of that TTV is any indication of things to come, I would bet that Avi and Renato have a bright future ahead of them. You just can’t say enough positive things about Avi and I hope you all enjoy this edition of “About ten questions with..”
Question: How did it all start for you? What got you started representing XO on ShopNBC?
Answer: I began as a jewelry and gemstone host at Jewelry Television. In 2007, JTV purchased ShopAtHome. With that acquisition came a successful watch program and Tim Temple to head it up. I often joke with Tim about the first time we spoke. I told him, “No offense, but I think watches are kind of dumb. I don’t really get it.” Determined to prove just how “pointless” it all was, I tuned in to see a Watch Show with Tim Temple. I was enamored from the first moment I saw a skeletonized timepiece. Something about seeing the inner workings and watching the exposed heartbeat of a watch changed me forever. I quickly became immersed in learning everything I could about watches. Tim was incredibly patient with me (even as I asked, “Who is Ronda?”) and I will be forever grateful to him because of it. I decided to leave JTV a few years later, at which time I was approached with several offers. I chose to work with XOSkeleton because I have always believed in the brand.
Question: I think it has been a few months now since Renato has announced that you would be taking over the ShopNBC duties as Brand Ambassador. You have a few shows under your belt now representing Renato, how do you feel it is going so far?
Answer: So far so good– although I have to say, it has been challenging. Having worked with XO for so many years, I was able to slowly learn the brand over time. I came to know the product as well as I know my own family. With Renato, I stepped into an already established brand with many previous designs and collections. I have therefore been working diligently to get up to speed in order to provide the same level of knowledge I have with the XO brand. I spend a lot of time studying Renato’s former collections, and I also travel to New York frequently to work on new designs with the Renato Team.
Question: Now that you have your new role with Renato, we will be seeing you representing XO in the future as well?
Answer: Absolutely. We have been working on both Renato and XO designs, and both are progressing quite nicely. Being that Renato and XO are under the same umbrella company, I can represent both brands on ShopNBC without a problem.
Question: I guess we should probably address the “Elephant” in room. Most of us are aware of the issues with Renato Collezioni Watch Company and I am very sure that only a few people really know what happen with the situation leading up to the hiatus from on-air ShopNBC shows. Of course I am not going to ask you to go into any details of the whole ordeal. My question is; due to the history of the brand were you apprehensive in accepting the role representing Renato? Ultimately, due to being the on-air representative you become the face of the company to many in the public eye.
Answer: Who wouldn’t be at least somewhat apprehensive? Obviously, there have been several issues in the past which were concerning. I voiced these concerns with MZ Berger, and they assured me that this was a new era for the Renato brand. They also assured me of their confidence in Daniel Mink’s creative contributions. I agreed to meet Daniel and discuss things further. After spending several days in New York with him and the rest of the Renato Team, I felt confident in the future of the company. Our goal is simple: onward and upward– with extraordinary customer service at the heart of it all. I truly feel that we will be able to make Renato better than it has ever been.
Question: I have read comments such as “the diva of horology”, “the princess of time pieces”, “the watch goddess” do these comments bother you or does it come with being a female in a male dominated industry? It does seem that the aside from the hosts, the guest spots on ShopNBC have become a “boys club” over the last year and a half.
Answer: The short answer is, no. I won’t allow myself to be bothered by such things. As Isaac Watts once wrote:
“I’ll not willingly offend,
Nor be easily offended;
What’s amiss I’ll strive to mend,
And endure what can’t be mended”
Male or female, everyone faces challenges professionally or personally at some point. The fact that I am a female in a male dominated industry– if anything– pushes me to work harder.
Question: Are we going to be seeing more of you and Renato on ShopNBC in the near future?
Answer: Yes. Definitely. We are currently in production and have discussed more shows in July, if not sooner.
Question: Do you consider yourself to be a watch collector? If so, what would we find hanging out in your watch box?
Answer: I would consider myself to be more of a lover of watches than a collector. (Namely, because I end up giving away most of the watches I own!) What I currently have in my collection is: Android, Citizen, Croton, Fossil, Gevril, Haurex, Renato, XOSkeleton, and I just recently purchased my first Invicta. I enjoy the aesthetics of watches just as much (and sometimes more so) than the complication itself, so colorful brands like Nooka and Swatch also find their way into my home.
Question: Regardless of the brand, what would you say is your favorite time piece?
Answer: My favorite watch company of all time is Breguet. I am astounded at the craftsmanship and quality they offer. The Tradition I recently tried on at Tourneau is without a doubt my favorite watch ever. So just as soon as I have an extra $25,000…
Brand aside, however, I love just about any skeletonized mechanical watch. To me, they are pure horological bliss.
Question: So what is SMOMOtv? I understand you are a host there?
Answer: SMOMOtv (short for Smoky Mountain Television) is a new online-based network which features everything regarding entertainment and recreation in the Great Smoky Mountain region. I host two shows: The Hub, and “Avi’s All Access.” The Hub–in addition to being broadcast online– currently airs in 25 locations in the Great Smoky Mountains. It serves as a “go-to-guide” for recreation and entertainment in the Great Smokies. “Avi’s All Access” is slowly coming together, as I have very little “off” time to work on it. The idea, however, is to take viewers behind the scenes at events and attractions– giving them the chance to experience what they would otherwise never see. SMOMOtv is fun and lighthearted, and I look forward to helping the company grow.
Question: What do you feel is going to be the next big trend in time pieces? I have been seeing a lot more digital watches being offered by higher end companies, do you think this might be it?
Answer: I think the next big trend will be ambiguity in timepieces. What I mean by that is we have seen the line between men and women’s timepieces blurred for quite a number of years. I therefore feel that more companies will start to sell watches based on size, and not on sex. Rather than labeling the watch as “men’s” “women’s” or “unisex”– I think you will begin to see descriptions which refer only to the case size and other specifications.
Question: I have to ask what is Zumba?
Answer: I thought this was called “Ten Questions With Avi Vieira”. This is question number 11 Haha.
Zumba Fitness began 11 years ago, and it is a Latin based, hip-hop infused cardio workout that has truly swept the globe. I am a Certified Zumba Fitness Instructor; although lately I have been traveling too much to teach. It’s basically exercise in disguise. Imagine a dance club with better music and no alcohol– and that’s Zumba Fitness. We samba, belly dance, salsa, and so much more! It’s fun, fast-paced, and it’s the ONLY way I will agree do a cardio workout!