Former ChloBo managing director Gary Carter launched his own tattoo-inspired jewellery brand earlier this year.
With an internationally renowned design portfolio, the British designer has developed a cult status for his silver stacking bracelets, and now he is managing his own brand titled CarterGore.
Professional Jeweller caught up with Carter to hear about his brand, business plan and design inspiration.
Where do you see your brand sitting in the industry?
I would like to think that we can find a place on the high street, after all it constantly amazes me how CarterGore has such a broad appeal. Our core fans come from such contrasting demographics, as we attract sixteen to seventeen year olds right the way through to the super-cool generation X.
What would is CarterGore’s USP?
CarterGore is so unique. As far as we can tell no one else is doing what we are doing, which surprises me, especially in the middle of such a massive tattoo trend. I suppose that our USP is all about our homages to the amazing artists that work in this sector, the detail we get into our designs and the fact that our pieces are as close as you can get to having a real tattoo. I believe this is why so many people can identify themselves with what we are creating with CarterGore.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
I would like to move away from being a 100% e-commerce business, so that we can start establishing the brand within the more conventional high street retail sector. My main dream is to partner CarterGore up with a few super cool retailers and to see what happens from there. I still believe that the best way to build a jewellery brand is through retail and that will never change. Jewellery is such a ‘touchy feely’ product, and for CarterGore no online photograph will do our pieces justice, especially with the intricacy and the detail of the design. After all, the one comment I hear time and time again is, “Wow this jewellery is everything I expected and more, it’s so much better in real life”.
How are you hoping to achieve these goals?
We have our list of goals at CarterGore, but fundamentally, it’s really all about a meeting of minds. My plan is to get the brand ‘out there’ with a road show of pop-ups and trade shows. We are entering an exciting period and only time will tell where we end up!
How has your experience in the jewellery industry informed you impacted the launch of CarterGore?
After ChloBo, I stepped out of the jewellery sector for some time, so I am very much looking at the industry with fresh eyes again which has been fascinating. Social media seems to have changed the industry and I am learning a lot of that from scratch. CarterGore has quickly learnt that getting it right on social media can make a massive impact in terms of sales. With the rise of platforms such as Etsy, the jewellery market is now massively saturated so making an impact takes time and huge investment. To help develop CarterGore, we are combining our social media presence with what I know worked well last time at ChloBo, as well as good old school PR, pop up events and working with retail partners. As I mentioned, I believe that taking the ‘retail partner’ route still holds strong in this market and CarterGore is very much a team effort between retailers and suppliers. I strongly believe that sharing risk, listening to the customer and delivering amazing customer service is all key.
What is the most important thing to you in terms of your brand identity?
Firstly, CarterGore is super creative and innovative but with that little bit of edge. Secondly, the brand is British through and through. I am a British designer and a British maker, designing British jewellery. This is something that is very important to me. Thirdly, the community spirit and CarterGore’s journey which so many people can relate too.
How did you develop your unique style?
I combine my creativity with the state-of-the-art technology that we have at CarterGore to create my unique style. My creativity first blossomed when one of my old ChloBo manufacturers asked me to play with a new laser machine that he had just received, and through this I became obsessed with the whole process. Working with the laser machine coincided with a couple of my contacts asking me if I could make some tattoo inspired pieces for them, and suddenly my concept of intricate unique jewellery was born. With CarterGore, I have always been keen to reproduce iconic tattoo designs in a single line form, which in turn works efficiently on the laser equipment. For inspiration on my concept, I have researched ‘black and grey’ tattoos from around the world, and when I mean research, I mean research! From this I have been able to strip the authentic designs down to their basic forms and rebuild them personally. The one key thing that I’ve noticed during the initial research stage at CarterGore is the passion that people have for their tattoos and their ‘love’ for the art form. With this in mind, I’ve decided to feature hearts in each design and it’s this matching of the traditional form, the single line style and of course the hearts that I believe makes CarterGore’s pieces so unique.