New online retailer focuses on British-based designer jewellers.
Lizi Glazebrook is the founder of GemAlley, a new online jewellery retail site showcasing UK-based contemporary jewellery designer-makers. She tells Professional Jeweller about launching the site, helping designers with PR and marketing and how GemAlley will set itself apart from other online jewellery sites.
Professional Jeweller: Tell us as about GemAlley – what inspired you to launch the site?
Lizi Glazebrook: The idea behind GemAlley began to form when I moved to UK from Australia a number of years ago. As a jewellery customer I found it difficult to find any unique pieces of jewellery online easily. At that stage there didn’t seem to be one single destination to easily browse multiple jewellery designers. This idea evolved further as I watched a jeweller friend of mine in UK struggle to keep the business going despite her amazing designs, because the admin, marketing and PR side of running things was so consuming and as a designer, not her strength. I saw GemAlley as a place that could help customers easily find independently designed, UK made and designed jewellery in one central location, while at the same time helping talented jewellers with PR and marketing and getting their brand out there, to give them more time to focus on the things they do best – creation and design.
PJ: What are you intentions for GemAlley – who are you positioning the site at, what kind of jewellery do you hope to showcase?
LG: GemAlley showcases a selection of classic jewellery with a twist, and more contemporary, modern, fashion pieces.
While anyone can enjoy and shop on GemAlley, our primary customers is likely to be female aged 20 to 40 years with an interest in fashion and wearing something a little more unique than a high street piece.
PJ: How are you sourcing the designers you work with?
LG: Our GemAlley designers come from various places – the only requirement is that they are UK-based and producing their own designs. We have found designers a number of different ways including trade fairs, word of mouth networks, markets and online or through social media channels. Designers are welcome to apply through our website if they like the concept and wish to join our team. GemAlley carefully selects all designers to ensure the quality and designs suit the overall look and feel we work towards. As a former retail jewellery buyer with over 10 years’ experience, I understand the importance of having the right pieces in the range for customers to enjoy.
PJ: What has been your biggest learning curve to date, launching the business?
LG: As someone who has vast retail buying, manufacture and product development experience, my learning curve in launching GemAlley has been biggest not in the product and designer side of things, but in the day to day operations of an e-commerce site. It takes an enormous amount of work to have what appears from the outside, to be quite a simple, clean looking site. However I am quickly learning, the easier it looks on the outside, the more complicated and demanding it has been behind the scenes.
PJ: There are a number of other designer jewellery sites such as Jewel Street and Boticca operating in the UK. How will you differentiate GemAlley from these?
LG: As with Boticca, GemAlley plan to establish themselves as a fashion-focused shopping site, however we are unique in that we focus on jewellery only. We differ from Jewel Street in that we are very selective of our designers and pieces in the range to ensure the look and feel remains consistent, and to maintain designer community.
PJ: How are you driving marketing for the site?
LG: GemAlley will drive marketing to the site by connecting the pieces in our collection to current fashion trends through our blog, social media and with the help of our PR Agency.