Spanish Jewellery brand UNOde50 landed in the UK in 2015, making a double impact with the launch of a wholesale and retail business at the same time.
From the very beginning UNOde50 had high ambitions, and the brand was happy to dig deep into its pockets to ensure it enjoyed a long and profitable future in the UK market.
This is key to success. One too many brands look to succeed without investment and refuse to play the long game, but this is a tough and highly-competitive market and as such companies that don’t back their brands are here one trade show and gone the next.
UNOde50 owner and president, José Azulay, shares: “UNOde50 launched into the UK in 2015, at the same time as when we opened our retail store in Regent Street, London. We believed this would have a double impact and help to increase consumer exposure in both our retail store and our wholesale partners.”
He continues: “We started off working with experienced agents who could identify key stores and retailers to work with. On top of that we also attended UK trade shows and did everything in our power to share our brand story to the UK market. Our mission is only working with the best retailers who believe in the brand as much as we do. This in turn has increased sales, brand exposure and has enabled us to work with some great partners.”
When UNOde50 first launched, its main ambition was to share the brand story with the UK market in order to create a high level of success and exposure.
Azulay says the UK is a “very important” market for the brand, and therefore he wants to be working with the ‘best of in the biz’.
He shares: “We want to work with the best retailers –quality over quantity. We still have a long way to go but we are confident that we will hit our goals and continue the success and the brand will keep growing.”
To date, UNOde50 has over 90 retail stores in over 45 countries around the world, a number that keeps on growing on a regular basis.
In the UK alone UNOde50 has opened over 35 new accounts this year, with the fashion brand hitting its target for the region at the recent Company of Master Jewellers trade show.
2019 has also seen UNOde50 welcome a fresh, fully-employed sales team, under the leadership of sales director for the UK, Emma-Louise Gregory (who was recognised in the Professional Jeweller 2019 Power List for her success with the Spanish brand).
Alongside new doors, UNOde50 has also had existing retailers increase the brand’s presence in store, with some taking on shop-in-shop furniture for the very first time this year.
“We have a lot of growth planned for the UK,” says the brand founder.
He adds: “The UK market is a very demanding one. You must offer truly unique and special products due to the overwhelming competition. Every jeweller and brand wants to have a presence in such a powerful and important market like this one. The UK is one of the fashion world’s leading countries. The wholesale and department store channels are much more developed, which explains their stronger position in the market. It’s a challenge for us, but, little by little, we are improving thanks to our strength and determination.”
Over the next 12 months UNOde50 hopes to expand its presence even further within existing retail stores, while the brand would also like to work with a large multiple retailer and increase it department store exposure.
“We have incredible success working with the luxury department stores like El Corte Ingles in Spain and Galleries Lafayette in Paris, to replicate this in the UK would be perfect,” says Azulay.
Discussing the brand on a global level he adds: “UNOde50 has been growing exponentially over the last few years thanks to its unique products and international development. We’ve done this by opening our own stores and reaching agreements with international partners and distributors, as well as having a strong and solid wholesale distribution.”
For the business as a whole its distribution is 40% retail, 34% wholesale, 18% in department stores, 6% e-commerce and 2% franchises.
Currently the main markets for the brand are Spain, Italy and the USA, although Azulay insists the UK market is very significant and special.
Over the next few years the brand plans to primarily grow in e-commerce and wholesale, all the while looking after its omnichannel strategy and ensuring sustainable growth.
When asked what he thinks a brand needs to do to succeed in today’s market, Azulay responds: “Without a doubt, a brand must have a unique product that transmits its own characteristic personality. The brand’s values must be clearly present at all levels of the company. It is essential to back this up with good marketing strategies and campaigns. Here at UNOde50 we continuously invest in marketing in order to make our products more visible, support each launch and drive our target audience to our points of sale.”
He continues: “For us here at UNOde50, being true to our DNA and the essence of our brand has allowed us to maintain our presence in this market.”
UNOde50 really does offer a unique product. It stands out in the UK & Ireland for its innovative designs, which are all handcrafted at the brand’s facilities in Madrid.
The founder explains: “We use a handcrafted manufacturing process unlike anything else found in the jewellery world. Absolutely everything from product design, modelling and creating the prototypes to the actual production of the pieces is carried out entirely in Madrid, home to our workshops. Each piece is hand-polished, which gives it a unique personality and sets us apart from the rest of the brands.”
UNOde50’s most emblematic materials are silver-plated metal and leather. Nevertheless, the brand is strongly committed to constant innovation and has been introducing new materials such as gold, which is becoming increasingly more important to the business, Swarovski crystals, murano crystals, natural stones, and pearls.
Azulay adds on the brand’s design process: “For each design we make, each piece has curves. When I design, I always try to describe life itself. Each curve speaks to us of life’s ups and downs, the day to day. It talks about not only the difficult times, but also about life’s most beautiful moments, happiness and love. Each design expresses something different, something unique that comes from deep inside of us. I like to give meaning to what I create so that there is an underlying message, and share that message with everyone who belongs to the UNOde50 community.”
It really is a winning combo of a strong sales team supporting stockist and truly unique designs that has seen the brand go from strength-to-strength in the UK.
And, with each season delighting customers further, there’s no doubt UNOde50 will continue to thrive and see its great ambitions for the UK and beyond come true.