This year marked 10 years in business for Fabulous and the company certainly celebrated in style.
Here, Fabulous owner Jo Stroud answers Professional Jewellers’ 2015 review questions.
What have been the company’s 2015 highlights?
It was our 10th anniversary this year, so we had a superb black tie do in September for our best customers and suppliers, and we picked out ten customers to thank personally . We also launched our first own-brand of jewellery, Mantra, which is proving to be very successful. On top of this we also won several awards in Bath for our store and I was delighted to be one of the Hot 100 this year and to be shortlisted as one of six for Vitalise Businesswoman of the Year – so a superb year all round for us.
On the whole, how would you say business has been in 2015?
It has been mixed, I would say. Some brands have continued to grow, while others have had a tougher time. There has been a real shift in consumer behaviour, with a much higher emphasis on gift-buying rather than personal purchase, which has brought average transaction values down overall.
What consumer trends have you noticed?
A continued emphasis on jewellery with meaning. We feel that the days of jewellery that is merely decorative, rather than meaningful or customisable, are over.
What products have sold well for you?
We still sell a much higher proportion of bracelets to anything else, as the stacking and layering trend continues.
What brands have been popular in store?
Of the newer brands that we have introduced, Engelsrufer has been the stand-out brand for us. In terms of brands that we have stocked for the whole of our ten years, then Nomination is the one that continues to surprise and delight us with its on-going growth. And we have recently re-introduced Dower and Hall to our stores, with their glass locket concept, Cherish – which has been lovely, as we launched with Dower and Hall ten years ago, so it’s great to have them back at Fabulous.
What has surprised you the UK jewellery industry in 2015?
Early in the year, I was surprised by the lack of innovation and new ideas in the industry. We turned to the US for innovative brands, like The Giving Keys, because we saw very little of interest at UK trade fairs. As the year progressed, I was more excited when Thomas Sabo brought out Love Bridge, because the industry has needed an interesting engraveable brand for some time.
What plans do you have for 2016?
At Fabulous, we are developing three more of our own brands to launch in 2016, to fill gaps that we see in the market. And we are changing our proposition somewhat, to capitalise on the way we see the consumer changing.