Hot 100 2013: Kathy Dyton and Becca Hulbert

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How two best friends took Pearl & Queenie from retail to wholesale.

Once upon a time, Pearl & Queenie was just a beautifully curated shop trading from the seaside town of Hastings. It was so good that it earned owner Kathy Dyton entry into the 2011 class of the Hot 100 as a Retail Star. Just two years later and Kathy’s back, this time with a friend and in a completely different category. What’s the story?

Well, last year, along with Becca Hulbert, whom she has known since her teenage years, Kathy launched Pearl & Queenie as a brand and the duo’s marriage of creativity and commercial nous led Pearl & Queenie to become one of the debutantes of the year, snapped up by 14 of the UK’s marquee retailers. The breakthroughs have kept coming thick and fast ever since, a personal highlight for the ladies being when cyclist Bradley Wiggins bought their gold Bonne Chance necklace two days after the Olympics.

The duo are in harmony with each other, juggling new motherhood (they had babies within weeks of each other) with the brand, and both possess their fair share of secret skills too. Kathy was a TV producer for 15 years and was also once an actress working with Leigh Francis (aka Keith Lemon) in his series Bo Selecta; meanwhile Becca is an illustrator and photographer who has won a Guardian award for her work. But both say they wish they had kickstarted the brand years ago. Becca says: “It was a year in the making and combined with both of us having our first child. It’s a miracle we have achieved what we have in such a short time.”

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Yet you will not find them sagging with relief any time soon. Kathy says: “We are an ambitious duo, and will be looking internationally at some point. We’ve just got our first Japanese stockist, and are currently working towards a partnership, that will see us distributed throughout Scandinavia.” If they keep this up, their once upon a time will turn into a happily ever after.

Kathy Dyton and Becca Hulbert were selected as NexGems in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read the digital edition of the book online, click here.

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