HOT 100 2011: Charles & Brygida Bourne

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When they’re not talking jewellery this couple love a round of golf.

Just who has made it into the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers and supported by gold partner Ti Sento won’t be unveiled until September 4, so until then we are looking back to the leading lights of the jewellery industry who made it into the Hot 100 2011. Today we meet Charles and Brygida Bourne the husband and wife team behind retailer and distributor Urban Armour.

Charles and Brygida Bourne run successful jewellery store Urban Armour in the charming town of Burnham Market, Norfolk, and last year the husband-and-wife team celebrated an especially fruitful 12 months as they recorded a sales jump of 50% year-on-year.

They also opened a second boutique in Norfolk at Easter, so 2011 was full of highs for the Bournes.

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The year also had its challenges, however, as the Bournes closed down three concessions that they ran in Selfridges, London, for brands Pandora and Monica Vinader. “It was not easy to close our three counters in Selfridges and coping with the loss of income and cash flow,” says Charles. “We had to release 17 staff but all of them found alternative employment within four weeks of leaving.”

However, the Bournes are taking the closures in their stride and are planning to develop their second shop in Norfolk and have plans to open two or three more shops within the next 18 months, although it has no firm ideas about where. It also intends to launch an e-commerce website and grow its wholesale business – Charles is the UK distributor for Spanish silver brand Luxenter.

Charles and Brygida say they feel blessed to live in the Norfolk area and take advantage of the local amenities such as the beach at Brancaster, golf, tennis and watersports in the creeks on the coast. Despite all of the achievements the business has had, Charles, in his typically happy-go-lucky way, picks a rather interesting overall coup.

“Highlight of the last 12 months was the visit of Steve Wager to open our exhibition of British Silver Week when he took a silver ingot and made it into a spoon in 20 minutes,” laughs Charles.

 

 

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