Q&A: Barry Mislin, Amore Argento

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From working with House of Fraser to creating new gold collections.

Barry Mislin, founder of silver and gold jewellery brands Amore Argento and Amore Oro, tells Professional Jeweller about the brand’s recent growth on the high street, its Jewellery & Watch Birmingham success and how he will use the internet to boost brand awareness in 2014.

Professional Jeweller: What are your plans for building awareness of Amore jewellery in the year ahead?
Barry Mislin: We are undertaking major plans to build brand awareness for Amore Argento. We have just expanded into 17 House of Fraser stores from 11 with Amore Argento; sales are improving online with them and we will expand our offering online with House of Fraser later in the year. This is really helping with building the awareness of the Amore Argento brand online, and we have also begun work with JewelStreet and had good Christmas sales with them.

We also have a lovely new website with 360-degree imagery, which will be enhanced later in the year with video clips of every item available in the Amore Argento collection. The aim of the site is to promote brand awareness for the silver collection to the consumer but we are also finishing an affiliate trade system for our website that will allow our stockists to link into our site from their sites and successfully sell and promote the Amore Argento brand using our website with all its video clips. I have also taken on a Google partner company to help promote brand awareness online.

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I believe we have a healthy RRP, so our retailers have a good margin and we are protecting that margin online. I have developed a striking advert to be used to promote the brand through trade magazines as well direct marketing to the consumer.
I am really passionate about the way the product is displayed and sold, so we have new, beautiful professional product imagery available for our stockists to use for web or magazine advertising and, together with enhanced point of sale for the shop windows and new packaging launched this year, all these features will drive the brand forward.

Finally, the Amore sales force have embraced a training program for our retail stockists, and this helps get our message over to the staff with the hope that they educate the consumer.

PJ: You took part in Jewellery & Watch Birmingham – how was the show for Amore?
BM: I was delighted with the lovely comments we received at the show about our stand, point of sale and packaging for the Amore Argento collection. We certainly got noticed. This resulted in a flow of new accounts and repeat orders from existing stockists. We opened half a dozen new accounts with independents at the show and subsequently my sales team have opened many more accounts with independents that showed an interest in the Amore Argento collection, and this has boosted sales of Amore Oro, our gold collection, to these customers.

PJ: Tell us a bit about the collections – what are the starting price points and what type of retailer and customer are you targeting?
BM: Amore has been established since April 1999, so we are celebrating 15 years of successful trading selling to independent jewellers. The Amore name has been very important to me as I wanted a name that evoked passion and was perfect for advertising and marketing. In the past two years, we have established good trading with many independents across the UK, Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta together with supplying cruise liners.

I built my reputation selling 9ct and 18ct gold jewellery and about 10 years ago had the courage of my convictions to start designing my own product, while everyone else was just importing finished jewellery from the Far East. I wanted to stand out from the crowd, so I had to stamp my own flare on my jewellery. I took the plunge and started to design my own collections of modern and contemporary jewellery using diamonds and coloured stones and gave the collections the Amore twist.

This has been a great success and now the majority of the collection is designed by me and manufactured in the Far East to a very high standard. We supply middle- to high-end jewellers with quality gold products, with prices from about £30 to £500. The main selling point and of the gold collection is that in effect it is a bespoke collection for the retailer. They can order pieces in 9ct or 18ct yellow or white gold, and set with many different precious and semi-precious coloured stones.

We recently extended the branding and packaging to the gold collection and have called it Amore Oro ~ Love Gold. This came about because of the success of the Amore Argento ~ Love Silver brand; many customers stocking the silver later expressed an interest in the gold collection. I believe this is because they have been selling the gold collections from Amore for many years and now realise that gold is coming back and by branding a middle market collection it could be very successful – plus, there are very few branded gold collections around in the middle sector.

PJ: You have been working on the Amore website; tell us a bit about it and its features….
BM: We have just gone live with our new trade website. This allows trade customer to register and have a look around. We have all the collections availabile to view online, including the silver and gold collections, and the Amore Zirconia range. The site also shows our point of sale displays and packaging and offers our existing customers back up marketing help if required. The site also offers customers instant quotes for products, based on their customers’ needs.

PJ: And if you could tell the industry one thing…
BM: We run an incentive for selected new gold accounts, that if you stock the Amore Oro jewellery, we will help with a selection of rings, earrings and pendants on approval. I believe the take up for the gold approval scheme will increase substantially this year, as it offers the independent retailer the perfect opportunity to get back into selling gold jewellery with a small investment on their part.
 

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