ROX founders answer your questions

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Our guest editors for the January 2012 issue on what they do and why.

With impressive sales figures and an innovative retail strategy ROX is on fire, which is exacltIy why we asked Grant Mitchell and Kyron Keogh of the Scottish jewellery chain to guest edit 2012’s first issue of Professional Jeweller. Back in December we gave you the chance to put your questions to the award-winning business duo, and this is what you wanted to know.

You invested £1m into increasing the size of your store – did you have any anxieties about doing this during a recession?
It was a risk – particularly given that the store is in the Argyll Arcade surrounded by 30 other jewellers – but it was a calculated one and we were confident that it was the right move for us. We knew the demand was there and the expansion allowed us to quadruple the size of the store and install more customer booths. We were also able to convert the space above the store into a private shopping lounge which gives us a great USP.

The staff at ROX are very glamorous and always well turned out. Is it a conscious decision to employ good-looking people?
We hire based on attitude, personality and willingness to learn. We then invest in training and development and I’m proud to say that we have a very high rate of staff retention. We firmly believe in investing in our people and as a result they feel rewarded and motivated. The end result is that our customers get great service.

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We read that you spent a large sum on m-commerce facilities. Has this directly increased sales?
Yes, we have absolutely seen a direct increase but the investment was part of a wider strategy and we’re in it for the long haul. The increase in smart phone usage has changed the way people source information and the way they shop. Previously they went online on their computer or laptop. Now they can log on via their phone no matter where they are. Information is literally at our fingertips all the time and customers are looking for user-friendly sites that can be accessed on the go. Our website allows purchase but it’s also a great source of information, which helps in the decision-making process.

You seem to have a lot of parties. How does this help drive business?
We operate in a glamorous business. Lots of companies choose to sponsor glamorous events, but we choose to host our own. Our ethos as a company has always been to treat our customers like VIPs and we see that as going above and beyond the traditional shopping experience. We reward our customers with invitations to our amazing events, which helps us build our relationships with them, but it also has great benefits for our brand partners. We hosted an event recently with Shaun Leane – the guest list was a mix of journalists, fashion bloggers and customers – and off the back of it we got great press coverage and afterwards we saw a spike in sales and interest in Shaun Leane.

Why have you decided to create your own line of ROX-branded silver jewellery?
We have our own range of ROX diamonds so it made sense to expand into our own range of silver jewellery. It’s been a successful move for us and there’s definitely a market for it. We have earrings that start from £11 but on the opposite end of the spectrum we’re selling diamond rings for £50,000 – a wide product range is essential in this difficult market. For us, the important thing is that all our customers get great service no matter how much they’re spending. The ROX Silver range also allows us to react to trends that we see on the catwalk and we can turn it around very quickly.

I am based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, which is a hub of jewellers, just like the Argyll Arcade where you are. What are relationships like between jewellers in the Arcade?
The Argyll Arcade is the first stop for people looking for fine jewellery in Glasgow, so while we are surrounded by other jewellers, we see it as healthy competition and it keeps us all at the top of our game. We get on very well with the other retailers and in 2011 we collaborated together to support the Glasgow Loves Christmas campaign to promote the Argyll Arcade as a shopping destination.

You share a lot of information with the press about your business when others are very private. Why share so much?
Our customers are reading the business pages so it makes sense that we should be in them. It affirms our position as a credible and reputable brand within the business community, but not only that, it allows us to communicate what we’re about as a brand – investing in our people and pushing the boundaries. We’re still a very young business and we don’t have the big marketing budgets that some retailers do, but we’ve found that our strategy is working well for us.

I work for an emerging jewellery brand and would love to have my designs stocked at ROX. What is the best way to grab the attention of your buyers?
Design is crucial but we’re also looking for brands that have passion, vision and drive. There is a lot of competition out there and it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd but that’s exactly the same challenge we have in the retail industry – you’ve got to think outside the box and take risks. We want to work with brands who get what we’re about and understand what our customers want. Understanding that is half the battle.

Do you still have plans to expand the ROX business with shops outside of Scotland?
Yes, definitely, but it’s all about finding the right location. We’re constantly on the lookout for properties, but we just haven’t found anywhere that’s quite right yet. We won’t rush into expansion for the sake of it, but when we find the right opportunity we’ll be all over it.

ROX isn’t part of any UK buying group – why is this?
We have the scale and infrastructure in our business to facilitate this in-house so we don’t feel the need to be part of a buying group.

 

This article is taken from the January issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the magazine in full online, click here.

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