Putting the Charm in Charm City
Scott Burger, B.S. ’95
Fifty years ago, a charm bracelet was the accessory of choice for teens wearing saddle shoes and bobby socks and for young women in full-skirted day dresses. Crafted of gold or silver links, the bracelets jingled with dangling trinkets that typically commemorated special events in the wearer’s life.
“We call that the era of the ‘person, place or thing’ charm,” says Scott Burger, B.S. ʼ95, president of the Americas for jewelry company Pandora. He mentioned a graduation cap, Santa Claus and a baby as examples of the types of charms women would wear.
“It’s very satisfying to provide a product that allows people to express those emotional connections.”
Charm bracelets fell out of fashion in the second half of the 20th century, but in his role at Pandora, Burger is helping to usher in their renaissance. And, he says, the newer charms—many of which slide onto narrow bracelets—touch consumers on a different level.
“Now we see women use the bracelets to express aspects of their personality,” he explains. Among current Pandora charms are “things” such as an espresso machine, but other options include intricately crafted, crystal-studded pieces with names like Inner Radiance, Inspiration Within and Heart of the Family.
One Pandora devotee told Burger about a 50th birthday celebration for which the honoree’s friends each chose a charm that reflected a characteristic they saw in her. “It’s very satisfying to provide a product that allows people to express those emotional connections,” he says.
A Baltimore native, Burger grew up in Bel Air, Maryland, and attended Harford Community College before enrolling at UB. “I was putting myself through school and really appreciated [UB’s] emphasis on real-world applications of learning,” he says.
Burger began his business career at financial institution Alex. Brown & Sons and completed an MBA at Loyola University Maryland during his time there. He moved on to positions with FILA and Giant Food, among others, enhancing his skills in areas such as product distribution, finance and operations. Following his job as chief financial officer at Dormia, a mattress company, he began his career at Pandora in 2007.
From Pandora’s American headquarters in Baltimore, Burger currently oversees operations that account for about 45 percent of the company’s $2.5 billion in yearly sales. He’s also helping to spearhead Pandora’s expansion through new product lines.
Burger is busy at home as well; his family includes six children ages 12 and under. Is the household well supplied with Pandora jewelry? “Well, my wife and daughters have quite a few pieces,” Burger confirms. “And now my oldest son wants to give it to the girls in his class, so that’s a whole new generation of customers.”