Hot 100 2013: Nicholas Wylde

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Battling fire to come out on top with plans for a brand new shop.

Last September, Nicholas Wylde celebrated 25 years in business – a quarter of a century spent constantly striving to work at the forefront of the trade, pushing both his design ideas and service forward as hard as possible in both his Bath store and, more recently, his three-year-old Bristol shop.

As part of the celebrations, Nicholas created and registered his very own cut of diamond, the Wylde Flower. “It’s something I have always wanted to do, ever since I was young really, and coming from what is really only a small business, it was only ever pie in the sky stuff. But I got talking to a diamond dealer and he helped make my dream come true.”

This sort of innovation is important to Nicholas. “I have always striven to be different, to be individual and to bring something extra to the business. So having our very own cut works perfectly.” The Wylde Flower is a round stone enhanced with extra facets and has a flower design at its base, so when you look through it you see a flower.

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Along with promotions, sponsorships and a raft of profile-raising events, all was going swimmingly. Then in the early hours of May 1st, disaster. A fire struck at Nicholas’s Bath store, gutting the ground floor and damaging a storeroom after a transformer had come ablaze. “I happened to be driving past and saw my name melting,” says Nicholas. It must have been a galling moment but what happened next was remarkable.

Warned that it might mean he would have to lay off staff for six months, and told that eight out of 10 fire-damaged businesses never reopen, Nicholas went into overdrive. Just six days later, the store was trading again; another two days and a relocation was complete. There has been another move since, but through it all Nicholas Wylde has retained a presence in Bath.

Clearly Nicholas, who is a composed speaker, is immensely proud of the achievement and says it is the teams at both stores who deserve the credit, singling out the managers for praise. Turning the whole incident into a positive, he says he can now analyse the footfall at different locations to decide how to proceed, but one thing is for sure, he says, “we will bounce back in a newly branded shop”.

Nicholas Wylde was selected as an IJL Retail Star 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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