The Glasgow jewellery retail scene is unlike anything I have ever come across before.
While I had heard a lot about the famous Argyll Arcade, and I knew it was packed entrance to exit with jewellers, naively or not, I had no idea no other type of store would be in sight.
The Argyll Arcade is literally packed with jewellery retailers from beginning to end. It’s phenomenal. But, what is perhaps most extraordinary is that nearly every jeweller in the Arcade has more than one store. Take Chisholm Hunter for instance, the national jewellery retailer has six boutiques in the covered L-shaped space, and has announced the opening of a seventh next year. Additionally, multiple jeweller Fraser Hart has four, Laings has three, and James Porter and Rox have two, and most the big multiples have at least one presence in the area, including Ernest Jones, H Samuel and Mappin & Webb.
While our feature on Glasgow will touch on why the stores are there, how business has been, and what each jeweller would say is their USP in the retail environment, what I want to touch on here is a few things that stood out to me during the couple of days I spent in the Argyll Arcade.
First of all, the level of professionalism is extremely high. When you are in an environment so competitive that you can’t afford not to make an outstanding first impression, there’s no room for standards slip, and they do not. First thing in the morning staff can be seen doing window checks up and down the Arcade, while throughout the day I witnessed people engaging with consumers peering through the windows and I heard lots of shop floor employees offering shoppers advice and exercising their expert knowledge.
The second thing that impressed me was the confidence of every jeweller. While they were surrounded by some of the biggest jewellery retailers in the industry, every single store stood their own and knew they had something special to offer. And they loved the company they were in. I guess if they didn’t they wouldn’t keep opening more stores in the Arcade.
Last but not least, the jewellers of the Argyll Arcade are extremely welcoming and, despite mostly stocking accessible to high-end fine jewellery items, they make each and every person who walks into the covered space feel comfortable. Whether buying the cheapest item available, or the most expensive, every sale is important to Glasgow’s jewellers, and this is something that not only stood out in what the owners were saying, but I could genuinely see during my time in the city.
Needless to say, only the best jewellers would even try and thrive in the country’s most competitive jewellery retail environment.