HOT 100 2011: Wes and Steff Suter

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Father and son team storm ahead to be Ti Sento Retail Stars.

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 is the turn of Wes and Steff Suter of Northampton retailer Steffans who won a place as Ti Sento Retail Stars for the second year running. 

Returning to the Hot 100 for a second year, Wes and Steff Suter, the father and son duo behind Northampton independent retailer Steffans, have certainly got lots to celebrate.

With an even bigger store – the biggest independent jewellery retailer outside of London – a prize at the UK Jewellery Awards, and a special meeting with music legend Elton John, 2011 certainly won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

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While Steff has been busy championing new brands such as Bjorg and Carat*, Wes focuses on the in-store and online developments that have kept the business moving forward.

“This year we’ve seen a lot of change,” says Wes. “We’ve seen the avenues to market our products change. We now have a store on Facebook, we continue to use email marketing and hope to continue awarding our customers for shopping with us.”

By that Wes means that come Christmas, the store will repeat the initiative it launched last year, giving away more than £10,000 in branded jewellery items to customers. All shoppers have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to place an order through Steffans’ online shop.

And it’s not just online sales that have grown for the Northampton retailer this year, its bricks-and-mortar business is also in rude health. “We’ve made our store even bigger, it’s now 4,000sq ft, accommodating shop-in-shop features for brands including Thomas Sabo, Hot Diamonds and Links of London.”

While it has been knuckling down to create a strong business, the retailer has also continued to have fun. Wes and Steff share a passion for cricket – as you can probably tell from their Hot 100 photo – and so Steffans has sponsored the local Northampton County Cricket ground, and also sponsored a recent Elton John concert held at the grounds.

“We gave out vouchers offering money off in store,” says Wes. “It got us lots of coverage and raised our profile.”

But he says the best part was meeting the man himself. “We met Elton John that night; it was definitely a highlight of my year,” says Wes. “That and meeting Nico Rosberg through a Thomas Sabo day out.”

While the retailer has racked up considerable growth this year, it is still planning on further increasing its stake in the UK jewellery market. “We’ve got a lot in the pot in regards to expansion for the website,” says Wes. “There will be a new look sister site to Steffans, so watch this space.”

And when the pair aren’t powering through sales or cheering on Northampton, they have their own lives to lead, which Wes says helps on the shop floor. “I love going home and seeing my two kids, they’re my way of relaxing.” Steff, like last year’s picture showed, is most likely walking his weimaraner dog.

 


This interview was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2011. This year’s list and photographs will be unveiled at an exclusive invite-only party at The Freemason’s Hall in London on September 4. To find out how you can get tickets email event director andrew.martyniuk@itp.com.

 

 

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