Hot 100 2014: Varney Polydor and Joanna Salmond

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The duo behind Kohatu + Petros looking ahead with British designers.

With their eclectic combination of Greek and New Zealand heritage, design duo Varney Polydor and Joanna Salmond teamed up in 2006 to fill a gap in the semi-precious gemstone jewellery retail market; creating the name Kohatu + Petros from the Maori word for ‘stone’ and the Greek word for ‘rock’.

Since opening their Marylebone boutique in 2010, the pair has had many memorable experiences, including working with Carrie Fisher, aka Princess Leia herself, to design a bespoke pyrite and haematite collar for her dog Gary. Despite this brush with cult superstardom, 2014 has been a tumultuous year for the pair, but they’ve met every challenge with aplomb, including stepping-up e-commerce activity in response to the grand construction of the Chiltern Firehouse Hotel. “Financially we have increased our business again this year,” Varney admits, sitting at her preferred spot in the celebrity-studded Chiltern Firehouse restaurant. “We feel very proud of having managed to increase turnover and thrive in 2014, further proving that we have created a sustainable business.”

Despite their global outlook, Varney and Joanna have made London their professional stomping ground by supporting the Museum of London’s Cheapside Hoard exhibition, and securing key visibility in publications Covet London, Visit Britain and the Urban Walkabout Map’s guide to Marylebone and Notting Hill.

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Looking ahead, Kohatu + Petros will continue to seek out exciting British-based designers to add to its line-up, while developing a wholesale business, collaborating with personal shoppers and partnering with various charitable organisations. For Joanna, the trick to success is “staying true to your brand philosophy, ethos and design values”, which for Kohatu + Petros means continuing to create colourful, unique and wearable jewellery with a twist of intricate beading.

Varney Polydor and Joanna Salmond 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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