As the year comes to a close, Judith Lockwood, managing director of fully-traceable diamond jewellery brand Arctic Circle, shares her experiences of 2015, and looks forward to launching new collections and building the brand’s position in the UK market in 2016.
What was Arctic Circle Diamonds’ highlight of 2015?
We found 2015 to be an incredible year for so many reasons – the soft launch at Jewellery & Watch in Birmingham back in February and the reaction to the brand story, working with old and new retail friends. Bringing a real life-sized polar bear to IJL was up there too, and the Fairtrade Press Conference we took part in October was so powerful. Sharing a platform with Ugandan Fairtrade gold miner Josephine Aguti was humbling. Working with Ronan Keating to surprise his bride to be (Storm Keating) with a pair of Arctic Circle diamond earrings for her wedding present was pretty exciting too.
But still for me the highlight still had to be visiting the Nsangano mine in Tanzania and bringing to life the benefits that Fairtrade brings to small-scale artisanal miners and their families, and the difference we all as an industry can make just by choosing the Fairtrade gold metal option with our wedding bands, engagement rings and jewellery.
What have been Arctic Circle’s bestselling pieces or designs this year?
The classic bridal styles always work well for every brand and we were no different here at the start of the year. We have seen great reaction to the Ideal Square diamond, simply because it performs so brilliantly on the finger. The Northern Lights collection was incredibly received by trade and consumer press and our retail customers too – the collection confirmed that Sarah Jordan was without doubt our right collaborative partner and that a daywear collection featuring Canadian diamonds and Fairtrade gold would be well-received. Interestingly enough, we can see already that 50% of consumers who bought into Arctic Circle bought because of the powerful story and wanted this product, whereas the other 50% bought because of the look and the POS display, but when told about the back story it became another reason to buy – adding even more sentiment to their purchase.
How has the brand been received by the UK jewellery trade in 2015?
The trade has been very kind to us this year and keen to work with Arctic Circle. The retailers who have supported us are forward-thinking, independently minded, and want to be different in their town or high street. They also have staff who are enjoying the training and the story that goes behind our brand, therefore exciting their existing and new clients.
Do you have any exciting plans for Arctic Circle Diamonds 2016? And what can you tell us about new collection launches?
Yes of course, we have many exciting plans for 2016 and we will be showcasing our new collection at Jewellery & Watch Birmingham 2016. More details on this will be announced very early in the New Year.