INTERVIEW: Adryan Cresswell discusses the new HD Group brand

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As the Hot Diamonds Group adds a new brand to its portfolio, Professional Jeweller discusses business with the company’s head of commerce, Adryan Cresswell

The Hot Diamonds Group unveiled its new brand Anaïs Paris at Jewellery & Watch earlier this year, receiving a positive reaction from retailers. As the company moves forward with this new venture, head of commerce Adryan Cresswell talks to Professional Jeweller about the new brand, sales figures and future plans.

PJ: How has business been for the Hot Diamonds Group over the last 12 months?

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AC: Our international business last year was adversely affected by exchange rate movements and three of our key international markets suffered pretty significantly as a consequence. Our UK business has held up well, with both Emozioni and Hot Diamonds selling through on the high street strongly. As a consequence of this, business over the Christmas period was flat with the previous year. The final quarter of the financial year (January to March) has seen us back to growth, albeit modest. Looking to the near future, we have very significant new business accounts launching in the first six months of the 2016-17 financial year, as well as the launch of our new brand Anaïs Paris, so we anticipate our current rate of growth will accelerate quite quickly as we get further into the year.

PJ: What innovations have you been driving recently or plan to push this year?

AC: One of the key innovations we will be driving forward this year is Club Emozioni. This is a strategic approach to building quality databases for our retail partners. We provide the consumer incentives required for the retailers to capture the database, provide the IT infrastructure to collect and manage the database, and market the database on behalf of our retail partners. The emails we produce are branded from our retailer partners (not Emozioni), and drive footfall back into their stores. The retailer owns the database we help them collect, not us. We know footfall is not easy to come by but when brands and retailers come together like this it’s amazing what can be achieved. It is an exciting and collaborative way to grow our business.

PJ: You’ve recently launched Anaïs Paris, were you actively seeking another brand to add to the company’s portfolio?

AC: In fact, we always develop our own brands and our most recent brand (and probably the final brand to complete our portfolio) is called Anaïs Paris. This is a sentimental and collectible brand. Everything is precious — sterling silver and genuine gemstones. We think it’s  beautiful and another great proposition for our retail partners around the world.

PJ: What attracted you to produce a brand like Anaïs Paris?

AC: Strategically, in our brand portfolio we had two key brands. Hot Diamonds targets the classic silver jewellery market. Emozioni targets the fashion jewellery market. We have been working on a brand for two years now to target the sentimental jewellery market. Our answer is Anaïs Paris. It completes our brand portfolio strategically but, most importantly, we believe it will sell very strongly on the high street, as does Hot Diamonds and Emozioni.

PJ: What would you say Anaïs Paris’ USP is?

AC: Anaïs Paris takes the floating locket concept to a new level. We have spent two years creating what we hope is a truly stunning brand, with beautiful Parisian inspired jewellery, packaging and model campaigns. We are really intrigued by the floating locket concept and felt that it deserves beautiful branding to reach its full potential. We have coupled each charm with the appropriate genuine gemstones to reinforce the meaning of that particular charm. This makes the romance of the gemstone central to the concept. It also creates a stunning look when the charms and gemstones are placed in the lockets together. The combination of silver, gold and colour from the gemstones, in addition to a little movement within the locket seems to create something pretty irresistible. We will also run a database building initiative with Anaïs Paris, similar to Club Emozioni, for all retailers who wish to take us up on this offer, so hopefully we have many strong selling points for this brand. It’s not easy to create new jewellery brands that sell-through and that is always our main focus. Emozioni continues to be a real success and we would not be surprised if Anaïs Paris becomes a top jewellery brand within the UK independents channel as well.

PJ: What has the reaction been to Anaïs Paris so far?

AC: We unveiled Anaïs Paris at this year’s Jewellery & Watch Birmingham. We were really happy with the retailer reaction. I can remember when we launched Emozioni, we received strong feedback from our retailers and opened a lot of quality accounts very quickly. However, the Anaïs Paris brand has got even more positive feedback at first showing. I think a lot of retailers have been on the look-out for an additional concept for their stores and so the timing seems to have been good. Of course, we don’t get everything right from the start and our retailers also gave us some great advice in relation to how we might tweak the proposition and we have been working on some of these ideas over the last couple of months. We hope the result will be a great selling brand right from its launch in June.

PJ: What are your goals for Anaïs Paris this year?

AC: We aim to launch the brand with 60 carefully selected independent retailers in June and by the end of year one, we would be more than happy with 200 accounts. We are being very careful with our roll out. We want every retailer that stocks the brand to feel the same passion for the brand that we do. We need to know the brand will be showcased with great care and that the brand integrity remains strongly intact at every consumer touch point. We also need to ensure that neither Hot Diamonds nor Emozioni is compromised as a result of retailers buying into Anaïs Paris.

PJ: What else does the Hot Diamonds Group have in store for the next 12 months?

AC: We think we now have the brand portfolio we need for today’s silver jewellery market covering the classic, fashion and sentiment segments of the market with strong propositions. So we are going to focus on nurturing these brands carefully. We will not be developing any more brands. We would like to see where Club Emozioni can take us and plan to support this strongly over the next 12 months. We have very high hopes and it’s a fascinating and unique approach to driving sales in our industry. We also have some large new customers launching over the next few months (primarily overseas) and we need to focus on ensuring these launches are a success. However, our key focus is the UK independents market and we hope we can continue to offer our valued retail partners as much support as we possibly can to help them grow their business with us.

This feature originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Professional Jeweller. Read it here.

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