Until August, jewellery brand Deakin & Francis was exclusively a men’s brand that specialised in quirky cufflink designs. Last month the jeweller announced it was expanding its business operation and entering the women’s market.
The debut ladies collection features a range of cuffs, stackable gemstone bangles, pendants and earrings and is split into four mini collections; Leora, Linear, Bonita and Valentina.
Professional Jeweller caught up with Deakin & Francis brand and creative director, James Deakin, following the announcement.
Why did Deakin & Francis decide to venture into the women’s market?
We have been designing and manufacturing for over 230 years and cufflinks and gentleman accessories will continue to be our core offering. However, the Deakin & Francis customer base is both male and female, so to have an elegant ladies collection, crafted to the same high standards, seemed like the natural fit.
Why did the brand feel now was the right time for this expansion?
With regular sales analysis and customer review, we found it really interesting that our customer base was fairly evenly split between men and women. And, with Christmas fast approaching, it just felt we were missing a trick. To open up the range and have something for everyone – whether an add on to a cufflink purchase or a special gift for a loved one -seemed like the natural thing to do.
What are the plans for development over the next 12 months?
The range includes exquisitely crafted and beautifully designed pieces; from stand out cuffs, stackable bangles, statement pendants and stylish earrings. Split into four mini collections, there is something for every occasion – just like our cufflink range, and the pendants for example take on the same patterns and dies as our gentlemans ‘hazy’ collection of cufflinks, so very much complementary. A stylish array of hand-crafted ladies pieces, the range is designed to take her from day to evening in style.
As always, Deakin & Francis are constantly thinking ahead to the next design. There are plans to expand the range over the next few months, so watch this space.
What has the response been so far?
It still early days for the collection so far, but feedback has been very positive and we already have some admirers.
What were the main obstacles you encountered while preparing to enter the women’s market?
Gentlemans accessories and jewellery have been our core offering for so long and we are so proud to have built up a dedicated customer base with the brand going from strength to strength.
The design process itself for the ladies collection was actually a breath of fresh air but did bring us some challenges. Looking at the market, the trends and colours, thinking and focusing on feminine, elegant patterns and considering how our designs would sit, look and feel were all important aspects of the process.
The end result is simple, beautiful pieces for ladies to treasure. The process, although a change for us, was just as fun and inspiring and we hope customers agree!