Hot 100 2014: Roy and Dawn Welsh, Market Cross

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The North of England jewellers making their mark with 13 stores.

If you want to meet a jewellery business that’s dedicated to retail, then meet Roy and Dawn Welsh, owners of Market Cross Jewellers, which operates 13 stores in the North of England.

“We don’t sell anything that anyone needs,” admits Dawn Welsh with a smile, in reference to luxury goods. “So it is a constant challenge to create and maintain the desire of ‘living the dream’.”

Of course, they are selling dreams — of the jewel-encrusted and delicately ticking type. In the past year, Market Cross has extended its Middlesbrough shop to house a luxury watch boutique with Cartier, Omega and Breitling spaces.

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And it’s these brands that inspire Dawn and Roy in their daily quest for retail perfection. “The premier watch houses have been our biggest business inspiration,” Roy reveals. “They are leading the way in terms of controlling how their brand is introduced and perceived in both store windows and store interiors; they train their staff and ours in the way their brand should be treated and sold and they don’t leave anything to chance — there’s no room for compromise.”

By imitating this unyielding approach to business, the Welshes truly believe success can be won. And there looks to be more of it on the horizon: Market Cross will place greater focus on the cosmetic appearance of its stores in the coming year and will continue to focus on staff training, something Dawn and Roy believe is paramount to success.

Closing the shutters at the end of each day gives the couple a chance to relax. When it’s not a TV crime drama that’s filling their evening, they make the most of their garden — where they have been photographed for this year’s Hot 100. They also reveal an enduring passion for horse racing, where they never miss an opportunity to keep the Market Cross name on the lips of locals. “Our greatest pleasure outside of work is going to the races,” says Dawn. “We sponsor races at our local courses where we get a race named after our company; we choose the best turned-out horse in the parade ring and present the prize to the winning owner. It’s fantastic on all counts; a great day out and we get to promote the company at the same time.”

While both agree they are often told they work too hard – “People are always telling us we don’t take enough time off,” Roy laughs – for him, running a jewellery business is about moving forward. “You need to be willing to work 24/7, investing all your time and huge sums of money [in your business]. You have to be prepared to constantly re-invest; accept that the stock in your window is always going to be the stock in your window. When you make a sale, replace the item, if you haven’t got it you can’t sell it again.”

Roy and Dawn Welsh were named IJL Retail Stars 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 Hot 100 2014 book in full online, click here.
 

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