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BRAND CHAMPIONS: Katie Nickell, creative director, Kit Heath

Katie Nickell

The Kit Heath brand was founded in North Devon in 1984 by Katie Nickell and her brother Kit Heath.

Together, they built the company with Kit heading sales and Katie developing jewellery designs and operational systems.

The business grew exponentially and in 2000 they stepped back from their booming enterprise to enjoy family life. They took on non-exec roles and appointed an MD to run the company. During this time the business enjoyed mixed fortunes but by 2013 it had lost its way and was running at a loss.

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The following year, Nickell made the life changing decision to come back full time, knowing that it would be all consuming and her work life balance would be challenging.

The Internet had arrived, competition was rife and the benefits of a beautiful location came into question when compared with city-based and international players.

Nickell made some hard calls and cut backs as she turned her focus onto what had made the business successful in the first place.

She re-evaluated the products in the Kit Heath portfolio, re-looked at sourcing and business models and brought the company up-to-date.

Fast forward a few years and 2017 saw the company win Fashion Jewellery Brand of the Year at the PJ Awards, and 2018 saw Kit Heath move from a US distributor to dealing direct with US retailers.

The firm is now doing well in a tough market and Nickell has brought innovation back into the business.

Tags : Kit Heath
Stacey Hailes

The author Stacey Hailes

Editor, Professional Jeweller

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