Hot 100 2014: Pete Boyle, Argento

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The man transforming fashion jewellery retail in the UK and Ireland.

A splash of Harland and Wolff yellow, the glow of neon and the rusty red of exposed Belfast bricks. These three little elements have transformed Argento’s fleet of stores in Ireland and the UK this year, marking a new era for Pete Boyle’s jewellery retail empire.

At present, Pete runs 41 shops across the UK and Ireland, including 11 Pandora franchise stores. His ever-evolving product mix and ability to pick up on new jewellery brands before they hit the mainstream is an enviable talent. He was quick to bring charm bangle brand Alex & Ani on board this year, and has also championed embellished friendship bracelet brand Hipanema and leftfield Norwegian brand Bjørg.

It is fair to argue that Pete’s approach to business often goes against the fl ow somewhat, and this year he has shifted focus from clicks back to bricks, taking advantage of a fall in rent costs, especially in Ireland where the business has upgraded its stores to even bigger locations. “Our biggest challenge of the past 12 months has been cutting the cost of our online business and moving our focus back to opening and managing our stores,” he explains. “We have, after three years, finalised our new Argento store design and we are now rolling it out to all of our existing portfolio.” Overall, Pete reveals, he has invested more than £5 million in new and improved stores this year.

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The aforementioned yellow, neon and exposed brickwork has given Argento’s stores a fresh brand identity, as Pete and his team continue to focus on Argento’s in-house collections, including costume jewellery range Dirty Ruby and its own-name silver range. “We have been working closely with Pandora on rolling out new Pandora stores in the regions that we trade in, so my year has been all about landlords and negotiations,” he reveals. “This is our busiest year to date — my staff and I have never worked so hard.” If one thing is certain, when it comes to Argento, hard work always pays off.

Pete Boyle was named an IJL Retail Star in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2014, in association with headline sponsor Pandora and principle partner The Company of Master Jewellers.

To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.

 

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