Hot 100 2013: Richard and Simon Warrender

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From revamping their Surrey shop, to catching the eye of investors.

By Steve Spear

Brothers Richard and Simon Warrender don’t just have one successful business, they have two.

First up there is Sutton-based Warrenders, established in 1947 and now under their care in third generation hands, and at the same time there is W&W, founded in 2008 in London’s Clapham and boasting handcrafted pieces that have been worn by Holly Willoughby and Pippa Middleton.

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That the brothers have mastered such different styles of retail is a testament to their abilities and their ambition. But this year one of their biggest eye-catching developments has been the refurb of Warrenders. Richard says it has been well received.

“We put a lot of effort into referencing our building’s architecture and worked with a local business to deliver a project that was true to ours. We keep receiving compliments from customers and getting visits from competitors keen to have a look. There is a time for any business to bring itself up to date and whilst we did it in a difficult market we firmly believe that it was a step forward and a commitment to the company’s future. Yes, you see the benefit in the sales figures too, but most importantly it gives our sales team a retail space they can be proud of and enjoy working in.”

Alongside the development of Warrenders, the brothers are also proud of establishing W&W as a standalone jewellery brand, showing “that there are other ways of doing business, creating and selling great jewellery”. It has not always been easy. The biggest hurdle has been finance, namely the limitations of their cash flow model. Richard says that the timing of W&W’s launch was not ideal, as it hit the credit crunch head on. “We launched W&W as a bespoke jewellery business the very week that Lehman Brothers went down but have grown ever since and continue to look to the future. We now have potential investors approaching us, and that’s flattering.”

In fact, they have been approached twice this year already. “The next step will almost certainly be investment followed by an extensive push to expand and develop the business. There is a growing market for what we do even though bespoke jewellery will always be a focused and specialised sector of the market. Our business model works and could easily be rolled out with representatives or offices in key national and international territories.” When pushed for figures, Richard says “England to win the ashes 3:1”, but he does go on to confide that he expects W&W to post 30% growth. Certainly that’s the sort of growth figures that would make a compelling case to any investor.

This Hot 100 IJL Retail Stars profile was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 book. To read the book in full online, click here.
 

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