Workshop app helps jewellery brand become more environmentally friendly

© Hazel Thompson 

Alice River-Cripps, founder of Posh Totty Designs, in Posh Totty Design’s Brighton workshop hand making the ‘hug in a box’ necklace.

 After a visit to one of Women for Women International  projects in Kosovo, Alice was overwhelmingly moved and inspired to design a necklace that encompassed the idea of a ‘hug in a box’.

Story Synopsis:
Women of war torn Kosovo-region inspired Alice Rivers-Cripps to create necklace designed to raise funds and awareness to help refugees

With the help of the charity Women for Women International  (WFWI) Alice Rivers-Cripps, founder of the successful British jewellery company Posh Totty Design visited the region to hear from women in Kosovo, who up till 1999 was torn by a bloody ethnic conflict between Kosovo-Albanians and Serbs costing many thousands of lives.
Their stories moved her to come up with the idea of a “hug in a box”, a necklace that is set to launch in time for Christmas. 100 per cent of the profits will support the charity Women for Women International (WFWI) who work all over the world to help women in countries affected by war and conflict.
During her time in Kosovo Alice met women from both communities and heard their personal stories of being refugees and feeling lost and with out hope.  And how crossing the border led them to safety and being  ‘embraced’  by caring and generous strangers.
It is that sentiment that led Alice to create a piece of jewellery that symbolises a ’forever hug’ a universal symbol of hope, love and support to refugees all over the world.
The necklace will be launched later this summer and 100% of all profits will go to WFWI.

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As part of a drive to be environmentally responsible Brighton-based jewellery company Posh Totty Designs created a bespoke workshop app. Here, managing director Alice Rivers-Cripps explains the system and its benefits…

Posh Totty Designs is a company which manufactures all of its jewellery in-house. In a move to keep up with strong demands and make the business more environmentally friendly, managing director Alice Rivers-Cripps commissioned the Workshop App.

The Workshop App is a bespoke paperless system that sends orders directly to specific jewellers in the workshop on a web-based device. By having everything on a tablet, Posh Totty Designs is able to track every piece of jewellery from the beginning of the production process through to delivery.

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While building the app, which Posh Totty Design now owns the copyright to, was no easy take, it has sped up the whole manufacturing process, whilst giving the company instant reports and minimising environmental waste.

“We were buying huge amounts of paper to print off orders which not only cost us money but was very bad for our carbon footprint,” explains managing director Rivers-Cripps. “As we are a business with a conscience we wanted to resolve this as soon as possible.

“Not only that, but at our peak times we were getting hundreds of orders an hour and I actually had to hire a team of people just to print them off! Then to top it off, orders were being duplicated and I had jewellers coming into my office saying they had already made the same piece, but as we were never sure we had to make it again.”

Designing the App

After deciding going paperless was the best solution, Rivers-Cripps hoped to find an off the shelf package as creating a bespoke software was never going to be a quick or easy fix.

However, as the business centres around personalised jewellery, most packages didn’t work with this concept. “Most packages are based around a retail business with stock levels and sales data but none could handle the fact that each order was different,” explains Rivers-Cripps. “So we had to create our own.”

“Being based in Brighton I had access to some very cool coders who totally got what we wanted and basically built it from scratch. They worked with the jewellery makers, admin team and my tech people and they made it happen.”

How does it work?

The Workshop App is cloud-based so it can work from almost anywhere. The app then holds basic but vital information such as who wants the product? Where does it need to go? What is the personalisation request? When does the customer need it by?

In simple terms, this information is then presented to the workshop manager who then assigns orders to the jewellers.

The information then appears on a tablet, which each jeweller has on their bench. Once the piece has been produced the jeweller taps the screen to say it has been made and it moves on to quality control for sign off.

If quality control are happy they sign it off and clean and package the item. Once it’s ready they request the packing slip via the app and it prints the despatch note. This then goes to the despatch team who can scan the barcode, print off the label and send it to the customer.

Paperless Benefits

Rivers-Cripps comments: “There have been many significant improvements like being able to track all orders and knowing exactly what stage each order is at and where it can be located. This really helps the admin team keep the customer updated.”

In addition the company can also keep track of how many orders are manufactured daily and create reports detailing this information.

“Obviously the biggest plus is no paper,” she adds. “It took a lot of work but everyone trusts the app now. With bits of paper flying around it was a nightmare, they got dirty, lost, and were highly flammable on a workbench, so the team is much happier now too.”

“Now everything is recorded and we can pull off regular reports. We now know when an order is made, who made it, when it was signed off and even when it’s despatched without having to ask any questions. The app is always true. I know it’s a bit 1984 but sometimes you need a big brother to watch over you.”

Rivers-Cripps also says the jewellers have been enjoying having the internet on their bench. With the tablet they can now check emails and listen to music. This has given them a huge amount of freedom that many jewellers don’t usually get to experience.

As Posh Totty Designs grows, Rivers-Cripps has plans to grow the app too.

Rivers-Cripps concludes: “We are constantly having to add more sites to it, also improving the reporting on it. As we’re about to go into our busiest time of the year we will stop any development work but then we will see how it works at Christmas and then look at doing improvements in the new year.”


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