Q&A: Pam Aujla, Gems TV

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New Gems TV MD on Lily Allen, good buyers and high street versus TV.

Seven months into her remit to turnaround the TV shopping business, new managing director Pam Aujla lets us in on some of the changes afoot at Gems TV.

Selling Lily Allen’s jewellery collection on Gems TV was a bold move – aren’t all your customers past the stage in life when acid house motifs are considered chic?
TV shopping is full of surprises. Lily Allen was a stretch for us – very young and very fashion focused. Our demographic is 35 to 64 and a bit more conservative, but from the minute it went on sale we had hundreds of people on the phone lines. We had it before it went to the masses, before Argos and at the same time as Selfridges. One thing the recession has taught retailers is I don’t think you can be too precious about who you’re trying to target.

Gems TV has recently put a new buying team in place. What makes a good buyer?
To be a good buyer you have to be a good seller. You have to get the staff excited. If they can understand why you bought it, they have a better chance of selling it for you.

You’ve spend the majority of your career at high street retailers, including a 16 year stint at Boots – how does TV retailing compare?
In high street retail, you can’t make sure all the shops perform the same. But at Gems TV we’re beaming into 14 million homes and you’re getting that consistent brand image. You really get to make sure your brand is represented in the right way. Plus TV shopping is dynamic; you can react and be topical and bring things out quickly.

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Gems TV is now on Freeview, why is this important for the business?
The Freeview platform is critical to our future growth. We’ve been doing it for the past few weeks and it’s phenomenal. Freeview is very expensive, but we were lucky and got some last-minute deals.

You’ve introduced more fashion-forward designs at Gems TV, but what about brands?
We mostly sell our own brands at the moment or celebrity collections. We’re open and receptive to stocking brands. I’d love to do more next year and do more with trends.

Gems TV is launching a range of Italian jewellery that was sourced at this year’s Vicenza, tell us more.
It’s all about fantastic design with pieces made in gold with a different twist to it. We’re testing things that we have time to replenish quickly. We want to be much more fleet of foot than we have been in the past.

 

You can read more about the turnaround of Gems TV in the April issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. To sign up for a free subscription to the magazine visit itp.com/subscriptions and select ProMedia from the scroll-down menu.

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