Q&A: Guy Shepherd, Guy&Max

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Shepherd talks about pearls, the recession and selling online

What’s new at Guy&Max?
“This summer we celebrated our first birthday as a shop, we’re in half a dozen shops around the country as a collection and we’ve been working on a few more funky pieces, such as Max’s honeycomb idea, which has been really well received.“

What new materials are you designing with?
“We’ve started working with more shades of gold and diamonds, and have started introducing more pearls; mainly Southsea, but also big creamy pearls, black Tahitian pearls and some multicoloured ones too.”

How has the recession affected you?
“From a retail point of view, I’ve only ever known recession. I’ve never known the good times. In wholesale terms, I’ve found there is an incredible shortage of goods on the market because of the diamond mines shutting and people holding on to things. I’ve found it increasingly difficult to find specifics that I used to find easy. Prices have been slack for a long time and people aren’t scared to demand high prices for things that are in short supply.”

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How soon will it be before we see a second Guy&Max shop?
“That’s up to the trade really. In an ideal world, we would like to utilise the expertise of existing shops. If we don’t get the response from the existing trade in a certain area then we could then looking into opening our store. I would say six months is the cut off before we could start making those plans.”

Do you have any plans to sell online?
“We are planning to sell lower-priced goods online in the autumn. There are a number of our products that quite frankly aren’t worth the customer coming into the shop and spending time pouring over. As a sweeping generalisation I would say that in terms of price, the hundreds will be online and the thousands will be in the shop.”

What sort of bespoke commissions are you receiving?
“You don’t get those wild throwaway gifts that you did in Mayfair before, so the bespoke work we do is usually a twist on the things we already do. They love what we do, but rather than buying off the peg they are encouraged to choose the stone, change the size. Cocktail rings, engagement rings and eternity rings are very popular.”

 

Guy&Max was founded in 2008 and has one store is London’s Shepherd’s Market. It is also stocked as a brand in six independent retailers around the country.
 

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