Jewellery Girls Q&A: Judy Deuchar

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QVC’s former buyer and merchandising director on launching her biz.

As part of our Jewellery Girls Rule issue for July, Professional Jeweller heard from 21 females leading their sector of the UK jewellery industry about the challenges of today’s business, making their mark and their inspirations. Judy Deuchar last year launched her own consultancy service after 14 years at QVC. She talks business growth, working from home and who she thinks are brands to watch in the UK.

Professional Jeweller: You held an influential role at QVC and left to pursue your own business. Tell us about your achievements working in the UK industry?
Judy Deuchar: My biggest achievement would have to be creating a highly profitable and dynamic Jewellery business and team at QVC, growing it from around £80,000 [per annum] when I joined in 1997 to over £100 million. At the time, it grew to be the third largest jeweller in the country and with a wonderfully varied portfolio from Butler & Wilson, through to Tacori and South Sea Pearls. Since starting on my own, the global brand experience has helped to drive my consultancy business today, especially in the luxury area.

PJ: What kind of challenges did you face launching your own consultancy, The Clifton Studio?
JD: This has to be the drawing up of a large variety of contracts, that were globally effective, as well as HR for the various employees and experts I sub contract. I found a great solicitor – the ex-head of Legal at ITV – who now runs a law firm from home for female entrepreneurs. An old girlfriend from school, ex-head of Citi Bank HR, has also been a great resource. Having an office and a meeting room to use at the IOD is also a great bonus. Personally my home office still multitasks as my head office and the kids’ school project and gaming centre.

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PJ: Where do you see the UK jewellery heading in the next few years?
JD: The middle market seems to have eroded and there is a mad rush by many retailers to try and play in the opening price point game with silver or silver plated products, which is a dangerous move. Personally I believe the growth is for the better goods at the upper-middle market. Aspirational masstige jewellery offers better design and higher quality and is still affordable. Compared to before [the recession] there’s hardly any choice, so any brand starting or focusing on this area is bound to be profitable and see good growth, as per the beauty and fashion sectors. Yellow gold is definitely coming back, which is wonderful news. For me, brands such as Missoma, Monica Vinader, Shaun Leane Silver, Charmian Beaton and Laura Gravestock are brands to watch.

PJ: Who do you consider inspiring female figures in the UK jewellery industry?
JD: Annoushka Ducas has to come top of my list. She is a talented, driven businesswoman, who also has a great sense of humour. Also the managing director of [beauty brands] Decleor, Shiseido and Carita, Carolyn Taylor, for her strategic vision and Kelly Hoppen for her feisty no nonsense uncompromising approach.

To read the Jewellery Girls Rule issue in full online, click here.

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