Hot 100 2013: Will Coupland

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On making Fope a leading brand in the UK and driving an uplift of 16%.

At Saunders Shepherd & Co, the UK agents for Italian design brand Fope, Will Coupland is in a pivotal position in the jewellery trade.

Over the past 13 years he has worked his way up from school leaver and tea boy to heading up the brand’s UK operation, “living and breathing it”.

In that period he has been a first-hand witness to one of the biggest ever changes of any kind in retail, for over the past decade and a half the concept of branding has fully gripped shoppers. And in terms of jewellery, Fope is one of the original brands.

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Though the idea is second nature now, the sharp operators behind the classic Italian collection realised the potential of converting it from a 60-year-old wholesaler into a true brand, creating ranges that celebrate the hefty sort of gold that settles so easily on stylish Italians.

Will says that unwittingly has made it perfect for the UK too, and it certainly offers a dream of stylish European accessories.

Will is not the sort of chap to fanfare his own credentials – or indeed seek praise of any kind – and his modest nature dovetails neatly with the jewellery he sells.

“It is understated but very classic, noticeable but not showy. Timeless, not fashion oriented.” He could be describing himself – his own style is self-effacing yet considered, intelligent and likeable. The sort of chap for whom you are happy to see success come his way.

The brand has seen an uplift of 16% across all markets and the UK is Fope’s second most lucrative market behind its domestic one.

For the future he says a shop is a possibility at some point but he won’t be beholden to anything definite other than the roll out of Mia Luce, the high end line that was unveiled at BaselWorld and launched in Harrods earlier in the year. Eager to support the launch Will is likely to be seen organising special events and evenings and continuing in the proactive vein that has seen him guide the brand forward so far.

Will Coupland was selected as a CMJ Business Big Shot 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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