Q&A: Emma Finney & Jon Tompkins, So Jewellery

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The leading gifting brands co-directors on 2012 developments.

Emma Finney and Jon Tompkins are the husband and wife team behind So Jewellery, the successful gifting brand that has become a hit among UK indie retailers and department stores alike. This year they have launched marketing initiatives for the brand and gone back to their roots with classic styles of silver jewellery. They were named Business Big Shots in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012, in association with The Company of Master Jewellers.

Professional Jeweller: This year has been a busy one at So Jewellery HQ. Looking back, what have been your business highlights?
Emma Finney: On balance it would have to be our industry accolades which have included Brand of the Year and Supplier of the Year finalists a The Jewellery Awards and Highly Commended in the Premium/Luxury category of the Giftware Association’s Gift of the Year Awards 2012.

PJ: What kind of initiatives have you run to promote, build and market the So Jewellery brand over the past 12 months?
EF: As the demand for So Jewellery grows we have re-developed our website to showcase our complete collections. Our site now incorporates an up to date list of stockists and although we do not sell directly to customers via the site it has been designed to give a consumer-facing experience. The aim is to maximise interest and knowledge about the breadth and depth of our ranges as well as increase the potential for follow-up sales for our stockists. We have also increased our marketing collateral to support our stockists. This now includes a comprehensive brochure which serves as a strong sales tool for in-store purchases made directly from the catalogue as well as repeat business.

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PJ: With silver jewellery your main offering, have you faced any challenges this year, with a view to metal prices and manufacture?
EF: With the rising price of silver and other manufacturing costs we have opted to absorb most of this increase in order to ensure that our collections remains affordable – a key brand principle – during this challenge economic climate. In order to do this we have continued to scrutinise our cost structure, resulting in the adoption of a just-in-time approach to production for our larger customers among other initiatives.

PJ: What have been So Jewellery’s key product developments this year?
EF: We have been developing our new Fine Silver Jewellery Collection which is already proving a huge success. We showcased the range at the CMJ [buyers’ meeting] before it gets it got its full airing at IJL. It was so exciting to be putting together a range which takes us firmly back to our roots – classic fine silver jewellery with a timeless appeal based on modern, clean designs – which is wonderfully commercial and perfectly positioned as an affordable gift or self purchase. The prices start at £29 including our premium packing.

PJ: Looking forward, how do you hope to develop the brand and its offer in 2013?
Jon Tompkins: We will be starting to focus more closely on developing the brand at the consumer end in order to drive demand through our stockists. We have recently taken on board a PR specialist to help us develop our relations with the media and we are in discussions with several publications about marketing initiatives.

PJ: Working as a couple, how do you strike the work/life balance?
EF: We are a very sporty family so exercise features highly in our weekend diary – especially with our children’s endless fixtures. Jon is an ex-GB rower and coached the GB womens rowing at the Barcelona Olympic Games so we have all been very focussed on the recent games on home turf. Living so close to the River Thames, we have taken up kayaking in a big way recently, following our daughter’s triumphs this year at the National Regattas in Nottingham. We are also planning to kayak the Thames next summer in a K4 – kayak for 4 people – for Sports Relief so watch this space.

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