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What do UK jewellers really think of UNOde50?

Unode50

For many jewellery brands in the market, it is all about following the latest trends. But that’s not something you should expect to see UNOde50 doing any time soon.

The company’s legacy is built on its unique personality and style – and that’s precisely the ethos it operates by when creating collections that are sold through some of the most prestigious retail titans in the world.

Those familiar with the brand’s work will know that its designs typically possess a very strong and recognisable look, mixed with an equal amount of functionality and exclusivity.

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Those are traits that seem to be going down well with retailers that have engaged with the brand in the UK and invested in marketing its products through their stores and websites.

Maureen Hooson, managing director of Chester-based Mococo, first came across the brand when she was in Palma, Mallorca many years ago. When the company finally expanded to the UK, she was at the front of the queue to get its products listed in her store.

“The brand is like no other on the market today,” she says. “It has a totally unique style all of its own – bold statement pieces with a wonderful European edge to it and sophisticated in a casual manner.

“The pieces are timeless and I feel it will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Georg Jensen with classic desirable collectibles.”

We have been reducing our brand portfolio but UNOde50 fills a gap with fashion-led women wanting to wear affordable statement pieces”

Mococo does a lot of business online these days and Hooson says UNOde50’s larger statement pieces, such as the dragonfly and the large feather necklace, have proved to be winners with customers browsing for jewellery on its website.

She believes its distinctive designs are driving sales, saying: “Lots of brands cross over in style but UNOde50 is unique with its bold, stand-out designs. It is not a brand to stand back and wait for things to happen.

“It is going full force with getting the brand out there while still remaining committed to those that have supported it from the start.”

Jason Allum, director of Allum & Sidaway Jewellers, which has stores in Dorchester, Gillingham, Ringwood, Salisbury and Shaftesbury, echoes that sentiment.

He agrees that UNOde50 offers a point of difference and caters for clients that prefer statement pieces to complement their wardrobe at an affordable price.

“Clients put on their UNOde50 and feel empowered having had their bold finishing touches made to their outfit,” he remarks. “We have been reducing our brand portfolio but UNOde50 fills a gap with fashion-led women wanting to wear affordable statement pieces.”

For Andrew Warr, director at David Christopher Jewellers, which operates 10 branches, it’s the brand’s designs, price point and displays that make it a compelling addition to its offer.

He says the story behind UNOde50 also helps to make it an attractive proposition from a partnership perspective.

“We carry nothing like it,” he insists. “It’s important for retailers to work with brands that provide the right level of support.”

Over in Ireland at Jack Murphy Jewellers, brands aren’t the main area of its business so the retailer prides itself on being selective when entertaining new suppliers.

Partner, manager and buyer, Gemma Murphy, says that any brand it works with needs to be able to provide the best quality and fit for its customers.

She likes the fact that UNOde50 has always remained true to its origins by continuing to release 50 limited edition jewellery pieces with each new collection as a reminder of how it all began.

It was a brand that stood out for its individuality, and something our customers were craving in-store”

She says: “We enjoy this story and the brand’s appreciation for their earlier days, but also their distinctive style of hand-crafted jewellery pieces.

“From the point of view of our offering in-store, it was a brand that stood out for its individuality, and something our customers were craving in-store.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has created challenges for the jewellery sector and placed pressure on all tiers of the supply chain. Normal ways of working have had to be revised and suppliers have been forced to review whether the support they provide to retailers is appropriate under the new conditions.

UNOde50 retailers report that business has been promising throughout the pandemic, with the brand proving popular with customers on a multi-channel level.

Amy Mellor, head of sales and marketing at David Mellor Jewellers in Andover, says its UNOde50 sales have actually increased by around 50% since it reopened in June.

“We’ve found that bracelets, cuffs and bangles are the best-sellers, along with the longer-length necklaces, and although we’ve had a few UNOde50 web sales, we would say that most people fall in love with the pieces in person.

“From a retailer’s perspective, the main benefit of working with and stocking UNOde50 is that it enables us to offer something a little bit different and unique, while also having the awareness and marketing of a big brand.

“From a personal perspective, the brand and [sales director] Emma-Louise Gregory in particular is hugely helpful and supportive when it comes to keeping stock fresh, selling through and re-evaluating any slow-moving stock.”

Jack Murphy Jewellers placed its first UNOde50 order after reopening post-lockdown despite the restrictions in place due to the pandemic.

And although it only launched the brand in store at the beginning of September, Gemma Murphy reveals that sales exceeded expectations so much that it placed a top-up order after two weeks.

Lots of brands cross over in style but UNOde50 is unique with its bold, stand-out designs.”

“Within a month we had sold 50% of our UNOde50 pieces in-store. The collection was driven both in-store and via social media, with orders being placed via telephone after customers watched our Instagram stories,” she says.

Wolverhampton jewellers T A Henn currently counts a few jewellery fashion brands in its portfolio, so it felt that UNode50 would be a perfect addition because of its price-point, quality and style.

The retailer has now been working with the brand for a year and general manager, Jo Bourne, is convinced the bold and creative designs are crucial to getting customers’ attention.

“Not only are they statement pieces but they are beautifully crafted and superb quality. They also have all the criteria ticked for a jewellery brand, from the product collections and marketing assets to the packaging and point-of-sale material,” she says.

The last word goes to James Gleeson, director of Wilcox & Carter in Boston. His business works closely with the likes of Clogau and Swarovski so the handmade nature of UNOde50’s collection has proved alluring for customers seeking something alternative.

“It’s just completely different to anything else in our store and the support from the sales team is exceptional. It’s as simple as that,” he concludes.

Retailers’ view: brand support

When choosing a brand to work with, discerning retailers will always take the level of support that is promised into the equation. Here, a selection of UNOde50 jewellers reveal the expectations they have of the brand in terms of the support provided.

Maureen Hooson, managing director, Mococo: Incredible is the word for the help, support and commitment from the UNOde50 team. Every step of the way they have gone above and beyond – always at the end of the phone or in your store as help is needed in any way.

Andrew Warr, director, David Christopher Jewellers: Training and marketing are key, as well as regular visits to store for merchandising tools and to bring staff up to date with best-sellers and core lines.

Jason Allum, director, Allum & Sidaway Jewellers: I believe it is of the utmost importance to work with companies that give you full support and advice. Having [sales director] Emma-Louise Gregory looking after us, I could not wish for more – always brimming with enthusiasm, knowledge and having a can-do attitude makes the world of difference.

Amy Mellor, head of sales and marketing, David Mellor Jewellers: The most important vehicle of support that a brand can offer us is marketing tools. UNOde50 is brilliant at this and provides clean and crisp product imagery, which is easy to download and utilise, as well as stylish and creative social media content.

Jo Bourne, general manager, T A Henn: UNOde50 assists the retailer with support on marketing, advertising, social media content and consumer brochures. This is paramount for me to be able to be efficient with communicating to our customer in every way, especially with the current situation when footfall is decreasing in most towns and cities.

Great packaging, display and after-care service and periodic visits from our account manager are all key to a great brand and retailers need this kind of support as well as ensuring stock turnaround is evaluated frequently.

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Sam Lewis

The author Sam Lewis

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