EXCLUSIVE: Brighton independent’s store closure ‘is business decision’

The interior of House of Hoye

Brighton-based independent jewellery retailer, House of Hoye, has called in liquidators and has announced that it will close its shop. But founder Jeremy Hoye insists the decision was made as part of his wider business strategy for growth.

The business has been operating in Brighton for 22 years but has decided to adapt and move online after footfall dropped for city retailers and recent train strikes plighted local businesses.

Speaking to Professional Jeweller, Hoye revealed that he has been working on his plan to move from bricks and mortar into online and commissioning for the last year.

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“Running up to last year we have been seeing footfall drop. I have got a really big customer base and all my work is commission work now,” commented Hoye.

“We’ve dropped out overheads to a tenth of what I was spending before”

“We’re going more into online commissions and much more bespoke. I wanted to go back to the old way of working because I don’t want to be just another brand. As a business we grew big – we had 25 staff at one point but I wasn’t happy.”

“A lot of jewellers need to look at moving with the times. If you are doing something bespoke you don’t have to be in the shop every day. The industry is definitely moving towards bespoke and that’s what pushes the jewellery industry. We’ve dropped out overheads to a tenth of what I was spending before. The customer experience is so much better this way because they get to meet the person making their jewellery.”

Hoye’s business is also making strong use of social media to reach new and existing customers. Instagram is particularly successful for the firm. Hoye told Professional Jeweller last year: “We use Instagram because it’s visual. The same with Facebook and Twitter, it makes what we do more personal and real. Customers can see I design and make the jewellery here.”

In 2011 Jeremy Hoye went into business with Buxton and Avon, owned by Gary Hamblyn. However, Jeremy Hoye parted ways with Buxton and Avon, leaving his original business, and reopening the flagship Ship Street store under the name House of Hoye.

Mr Hamblyn’s firm Buxton and Avon went into liquidation in 2014. Hamblyn then set up Jeremy Hoye Jewellery Ltd, based in Eastbourne in 2016. This company is still very much up and running.

Head of communications at Jeremy Hoye Jewellery Ltd, Simon Skinner, explained to Professional Jeweller: “It’s important to underline the fact that Mr Hoye no longer has an association with Jeremy Hoye Jewellery Ltd. Whilst we still work with some of the original designers and producers of the iconic Jeremy Hoye products, Mr Hoye has not designed any product for Jeremy Hoye Jewellery Ltd for a number of years.

“In light of the news of Mr Hoye’s most recent liquidation, I would like to announce that Jeremy Hoye Jewellery Ltd is currently undertaking a complete rebrand with the building of a new e-commerce platform and we are also some way into producing new ranges with some exciting designers, retail partners and with a significant media campaign scheduled for Q4. Updates on all of these activities will be shared with Professional Jeweller as we roll out these exciting developments.”

Reports filed with companies house showed House of Hoye owed debts of £75,000 to HM Revnue and Customs and £4,000 to Brighton and Hove City Council.

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