The multi-storey jeweller that is always pushing itself forward.
Wongs cannot be accused of being a new business. It was started in 1979 as a workshop by Peter Wong’s dad, who Peter says loved being at the bench and was his inspiration for going into the jewellery business at the age of 16 and spending his formative years learning how to repair, remodel and make.
Over time, as Peter’s influence waxed on the business, he has steered it bit by bit into becoming Liverpool’s go-to jeweller, relocating it first from its third floor premises to a first floor on Matthews Street, then in 1999 it finally hit the ground floor. “But it was an awkward shaped shop so in 2010 I felt it was time to upgrade to the current premises – it has made a real difference,” says Peter. “The phrase my dad used was that we have come down to go up in the world.”
The store has now become a destination in Liverpool, and as well as hosting several glamorous parties and events in the store, involving former Liverpool FC players, it is developing a reputation as a one-stop shop for everything jewellery – from bespoke to repairs to retail. “The only thing we don’t do is hallmark,” says Peter, who adds that the next hurdle for him is just to get the word out there even more. “We’ve had a good year and have exceeded our targets.” Trade was strong on engagement rings over June and July particularly, but, says Peter, there is room for improvement. “That’s my focus now. We’ll really get into staff training over the next few months to make sure the experience in the store is as good as it can possibly be.” And when he says staff he includes himself in that. “I’m self taught in both jewellery and business so I really need to push myself as far as possible.”
Likewise he nearly has the store looking the way it should (a final rejig of the door and some display space and he says he’ll be happy, hopefully). And his investment in a computerised repairs system has eased the flow and management of the workshop side too.
It really is all coming together for the genial Peter. “I’m really excited about the future and want to take the business as far as I can. I’m really ambitious for it.” He adds that once he gets the store the way he wants it then he will look outward, searching for more premises to operate from. “I’ve no time frame for that yet though.”
Even as he ramps up his activity on the business he says he is physically slowing down, cycling less and doing fewer half marathons (he has posted an impressive sub 1h30m time in the past) and concentrating instead on his business and young family. And perhaps one day a third generation Wong will.
Peter Wong 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.