2014 Forecast: Matthew Ryan, Matthew Stephens

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The Irish retailer on his plans and aspirations for the year ahead.

As part of Professional Jeweller’s February 2014 issue, we asked leading businesspersons, designers and retailers about their expectations of the year ahead. Limerick retailer Matthew Stephens talks fashion jewellery, advertising and shop renovation.

Professional Jeweller: How do you expect your business to develop in 2014?
Matthew Ryan: We have two main projects to work on in 2014. The first is to finish our renovations on Matthew Stephens luxury three-level store in order to attract some of the world’s biggest brands. We have been in discussions with many of them and are hoping to open new accounts with in-store environments in 2014. Unfortunately I can’t disclose anything about our second project. We are in the middle of planning something very special; the best is most definitely yet to come.

PJ: How will you market Matthew Stephens in 2014?
MR: In terms of strategy, we’ll continue with our five year plan. We have been working very hard in recent years in building an aspirational brand in Ireland. We wanted to become a destination store for the mid-west region, working very hard on building the Matthew Stephens: The Diamond Specialists brand. In terms of marketing we have some great things planned. Our new adverts for national glossy magazines look amazing and really stand out from the crowd. We are so lucky to have a very young, enthusiastic and clever team here and we are also working on new and innovative visuals and interactive movie-clips and cinema advertising.

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PJ: How do you think metal prices will affect your business?
MR: With prices falling in recent months, I think that it can only be good for the gold jewellery market and platinum bridal market, so hopefully we will see growth in this area.

PJ: Will fashion trends influence how your range in 2014?
MR: Yes, and we are now in a world of celebrity influencing designer trends. In Ireland, more so than the UK, the rose gold look has suddenly taken off. This is unusual as normally we are six to 12 months behind the UK. It seems to be huge with the age group of 18- to 35-year-olds, which makes me wonder if this will affect engagement and wedding band trends in years to come. The only certainty is uncertainty, and with things going viral worldwide so quickly, I’m sure the future is going to be full of trends that shock us all. For us, Mi Moneda is now blowing every other jewellery brand out of the water after one year of us stocking it.

This Q&A was taken from the February 2014 issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.
 

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