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To Diggers! Starting a Luxury Business in 1876

To Diggers! Starting a Luxury Business in 1876

Dig, create, market, or count – excel in one of these specialties and you’re a great technician. Orchestrate them and you can build a great business. Even a global billion dollar luxury brand business like DeBeers.  

Orchestrating our business is akin to building a consumer business engine, fueling and driving it. 135 years ago, one of my ancestors Anton Dunkelsbuhler orchestrated and built a global diamond business that became the foundation for the venerable DeBeers Diamond Company, a luxury brand today owned by LVMH (as in Louis Vuitton, Moet Hennessy, Dom Perignon, you get the idea).

I'm told my great-great grand uncle Anton was a gregarious and respected cigar chomping Bavarian Jew. As a young man in 1860 he journeyed to New York with his brother (my great-great grandfather Sigmund). Together they made their fortune in America. Both returned to Europe with apparent success. Sigmund had earned the right to proudly stamp his books "Vice-Consul of the U.S. of America".

Anton settled in London to broker diamonds, then set up shop in the diamond fields of South Africa to 'buy direct'. In his sixties, he hired his young nephew Ernest Oppenheimer from Germany. Ernst was a clever apprentice, evolving as employee of Dunkelsbuhler & Co to run and own what then became DeBeers (sadly, I appear to have no legal claim to the DeBeers fortune - then again, would I be working half as hard and learning half as much if I did?). I’m fascinated by the simplicity of the beginning of the story, as told in this newspaper ad (left). Would there be DeBeers Diamonds today, had Anton not coordinated all efforts, from designers to distributors “To Diggers!”?

Which challenges are you orchestrating, and what is your business call to action? If (re)ALIGN took out a newspaper ad in 1876, it might say:


Mr. Benno Duenkelsbuehler

Intending to visit family for the Christmas Holiday, is prepared to help previous to his departure and upon his return,

TO BUILD AND SHARPEN YOUR BUSINESS: Develop a new business, sharpen your exisiting business, serve as advisor or interim executive to add significantly to your EBITDA”  Contact Benno by telegraph, or click here.





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