Talking to Professional Jeweller, jewellery designer Kirsten Goss discusses her push into wholesale, digital growth and the lessons she’s learned during her 13 years in the industry.
It’s been thirteen years since we launched the brand in London and I’m proud to say the core values of Kirsten Goss remain true to those I set from a rather modest shared space in Westbourne Studios — artisanal craft, exceptional quality, unexpected design and meticulous attention to detail.
At that time there was a huge buzz around the design work coming out of Westbourne Studios, it was a massive movement and unique time for design in London. Two years later we’d secured Harrods and Liberty and shortly after we were looking at the first store in Holland Street, Kensington.
It was the perfect spot for the brand, it had a really artisanal feel, which is at the heart of what I do. It was the first major investment for the business and was a very intense time signing lengthy leases and paying huge sums up front. The change from studio to store was very symbolic; my work was changing and I felt a big pull back to the traditional goldsmithing techniques I’d learnt to love at university.
The change in production techniques forced my hand on wholesale versus retail and I decided to make our collections exclusively available in-store. Two years on and after a lot of deliberation and heartache we made the call to re-locate with our young family back to Durban, South Africa, where I could open a proper workshop and have a support system that would allow me to really drive the business forward.
I never really expected the response on my return, launching the brand in London has really been the linchpin of my success back home — the brand has a European fl air that draws on its London roots and that’s something I’d never want to lose. After five years travelling the world hosting trunk shows in all the major cities, we finally had the finance to open a state-of-the-art studio in Durban, which was a huge turning point.
The new space and shop front elevated the brand to a whole new level and gave us the means to service a growing client base. In time, we opened in Johannesburg and then Cape Town last year. Now as we enter our second decade it finally feels like the right time to take the business to the next level.
We’ve achieved a financial maturity to embark on a new path; with a focus on wholesale and digital growth. 2015 will see us targeting niche concept stores across the globe to stock our capsule prêt-à-porter collections, as well as our new fi ne Diamond Condition range, which will be the first time in a decade that our collections are available in a wholesale capacity. I’m really excited to take our collection to market on this scale.
The new wholesale collections are still designed and crafted in-house, but crucially have been designed with trade driven price-tags. The initial collections include the new 18ct gold range, our bestselling Lifesaver design, which has a built in repeat buy mechanism perfect for the wholesale market, as well as an annual trend led RTW range. As well as launching the wholesale range, we’ve also taken time to asses our retail presence.
The UK market has changed massively in the last decade and after 10 years in the current London premises we feel the brand deserves a bigger play in a more cosmopolitan and dynamic environment. We’re working hard to secure a new space for AW15, but it has to be the right fi t, so you’ll have to watch this space.