Hot 100 2013: Kirsten Goss

Returning to wholesale with an award-winning jewellery collection.

By Steve Spear

Kirsten Goss is no stranger to appearing in a rundown like the Hot 100. This year she featured alongside the likes of Athol Fugard, Charlize Theron and Nelson Mandela as one the top 100 living South Africans in City Press.

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And just in case that needs justifying then consider for a moment that her Lilypad ring was crowned South Africa’s most beautiful object at the Design Indaba expo this year, beating off not just other jewellery but also furniture, fashion, as well as industrial and conceptual design.

It’s been a good year for the Stellenbosch alum who now splits her time between her birth nation and London, the city that launched her brand a decade ago. And in the past 12 months she has returned to wholesale in a bid to up the profile of the brand and spread it further and wider than before.

She has opened a Cape Town shop this year and says that the revenue from that has been a sort of financial tipping point for the brand. It will enable more investments, including another London shop and the creation of a premium version of the brand. “The time is right to separate out the precious elements of the brand and present that in a way that is multi-sensory and luxurious. It’s still an embryonic plan but it could mean perfume, candles or chocolate, for example, all in the spirit of the brand.”

That is a spirit she is keen to guard closely, fending off the temptation of a quick buck in favour of a more organic and quietly protective growth. Not that she lacks ambition.

“I’d like us to have more stores – and that will mean New York, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai – but for each of them to be exquisite beautiful individualistic gallery boutiques.” And that’s the sort of luxury that Kirsten Goss is all about. She says that the cookie cutter approach of “a Chanel on every corner” has cheapened the specialness of top-end retail.

It’s been a good year but also a hectic one. She destresses at the barre, having started up ballet again after a 20-year hiatus and also enjoys the odd moment spent at her beautiful beach house on South Africa’s prehistoric Wild Coast. But even then, she confesses that she is always working, squeezing in design or development ideas. But she is a laid back type, chatty, convivial and unfettered by corporate speak.

Employing 25 people, including seven trained goldsmiths, she may not have had the same impact on the world as Mandela but she has improved lives and created beauty.

This Hot 100 Tresor Paris Trendsetter profile was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 book. To read the digital book in full, click here.



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