Hot 100 2013: Edward Ferris

Edward-Ferris.jpg

Driving the booming CZ brand Diamonfire into discerning UK retailers.

Ed Ferris has made a huge leap in the past year, from retailer to distributor. While Ed is still running the hugely successful six-store Swag chain alongside 17 Pandora shops, he took a leap of faith at BaselWorld last year when he and his team spotted CZ brand Diamonfire, which to him looked like affordable Tiffany or De Beers.

They were convinced they’d hit on a winner, and knew it would work in stores, but was there more here? Quickly the idea was mooted that if the company needed a UK distributor (and it did), perhaps they could do that too?

“Initially the idea was exciting and then we went away and picked holes in it,” says Ed. “But after we went to Holland and talked to the Dutch distributor, then visited the head office in Germany, well, the decision was easy.”

Soon, Ferris had packed his bags and set off on the road, banging on people’s doors. “I wanted to get a feel whether it was just a collection I liked, or whether there was a real business in it. Nine out of the first 10 I saw took it.” And the 10th has since relented. Then 35 of the next 40 took it on.

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“Initially I had considered not fronting it, and just backing it instead but the fact that we back it ourselves is a real positive and people really trust that. I wouldn’t sell it to people if I couldn’t look people in the eye and tell them I sell it myself.”

With a sales team now in place the number of stockists has tipped 290 and the repeat orders are starting to come in. This is a business with legs and Ed deserves the plaudits; a man who is a modest, down-to-earth type despite his somewhat unexpectedly flamboyant Hot 100 photo that shows him dazzling in Diamonfire.

And while it has been a focus for the year, he has still made time for Swag, which he says, is due for a whole new look. “There will be a big makeover of all the stores, including online.”

And with Diamonfire, the next year holds plans to get it better known with the consumers. “We’ve got the retail base now so it’s time to up the profile. We’ll start by promoting it in bridal mags and launching a UK website that will work in a profit partnership with our retailers, so that the nearest to a sale gets a slice of the profit.”

The best sort of distributor has to understand retailers’ needs. We can’t think of anyone better qualified.

Edward Ferris was selected as a CMJ Business Big Shot in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013, in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.
 

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