The father and daughter transforming jewellery retail in Cheshire.
By Steve Spear
All hail the lovely Worthingtons. Dad-and-daughter team Mark and Milly have this year cut the ribbon on their new diffusion store MW2 in Wilmslow with a party to remember complete with fire-breathing stilt walkers and local press weaving in and out of wide-eyed customers.
Behind the impressive fanfare was a new store that was already fully functioning, having traded softly but successfully for weeks with a portfolio of affordable luxury brands perfectly tailored to seduce the affable and affluent.
MW2, moreover, is designed to cover the side of the market that original store Mark Worthington Jewellers does not quite reach. Milly says: “It means we are able to offer our customers a huge amount of what we believe a retail jeweller today should. We have a store with on-site workshops, selling fine jewellery and premium watches, as well as pre-owned jewellery and watches. We now also have our new store where we offer affordable luxury branded jewellery at entry level upwards, giftware and homewares; something for everyone.”
If Mark Worthington Jewellers is Mark’s creation, then MW2 is more a reflection of Milly and in the year that she has completed her National Jewellers Diploma, it sees her project her friendly youthful sophistication into a physical space. Revealingly, she adds that it is not necessarily a different customer base, more a different purchase for the same customer; think diamonds from one store, branded jewellery from the other.
She says: “In MW2 the key drivers for our business this year have been bracelets. Stackable bracelets, charm bracelets, composable bracelets, you name it. Mainly sterling silver, but increasingly gold and gold vermeil.” She adds that people are becoming more open minded when shopping for jewellery and are open to quicker moving trends, but adds “we do also manufacture our own jewellery in our workshops for those customers looking for traditional designs who are unable to find something within the current in-store ranges”.
And next up will be the development of the e-commerce site. And, says Milly, teasingly: “MW3?! Who knows….”
Of course, what we really want to know is what’s it like working your dad? “He is patient and lenient, but a definite perfectionist with his work. At times it is hard to maintain a family and working relationship as it would be with any family business, but we somehow manage to. The only problem is talking work over family dinner. That’s when my mum really gets annoyed.”
Mark Worthington and Milly Worthington were selected as as IJL Retail Stars 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.