Creating an award-winning jewellery business driven by social media.
Imagine a journey on a pink unicorn over a rainbow into a land of gold dust and diamonds. There, you just got a little bit closer to the Alyssa Smith way of thinking.
The truly fabulous, relentlessly positive, chatty, bubbly Alyssa has an instant impact on you. Just visit her in her studio to see for yourself. She will be working along to a soundtrack of Disney songs, fuelling her addiction to Starbucks Chai Lattes (“It’s like Christmas in a drink!”) with her long-haired black chihuahua Princess Bambi Sparkles (yes, really) nestling in her lap as she creates her latest little bit of sparkly wonder.
“I live in a fairy tale world of my own!” she says, and it seems that the fairy tale is coming true for this young British designer. In 2012 she experienced an incredible breakout year, and was a finalist or winner of 15 major business and national awards. It’s due return for a unique business.
“The one word which would describe my business is public. I like to let people see the face behind the brand continuously, which not only helps with sales, but customers begin to really feel like they know the person they have purchased their jewellery from, even when most have never met me.” She says it all builds trust, reputation, repeat purchases and a lot of recommendations.
Some of these come from celebrities. And the effect of that is both priceless PR and a bit of a thrill. “To think that the piece they are wearing on the television started as a simple sketch drawn by me, probably in my PJs in front of the TV, is just amazing.”
One celeb has become something more than a customer and BBC F1 presenter Suzi Perry has teamed up with Alyssa to create Smith & Perry, a collection including race track and flag pendants and bracelets. The profits go to Promise Dreams, a charity for terminally ill children. “We have raised so much money already for the charity which is fantastic.”
And to her fans, Alyssa is a celebrity herself. One group of about 60 fans – the self-named Alyssa Groupies – have even persuaded Alyssa to run the Race for Life for Cancer Research with them this year.
It seems that Alyssa Smith is all based on an open and inspirational design credo. “It’s very demand led, and I even get some of my regular customers to help sketch out new designs or name the new collections. We actively research and test new designs via Twitter and Facebook with our 10,000, and ever growing, followers. The way we run Alyssa Smith Jewellery is to design what our customers ask for, and I think this is a big reason we stand out in the industry today.”
Alyssa says that jewellery was always her destiny. “I just somehow knew I would be a jeweller, even from about the age of five. I had no other real hobbies. I used to get home from school and make beaded jewellery and try and sell it to my mum’s friends at about the age of eight. It was just what I did.”
So though the reality is all a bit more sophisticated and businesslike than Alyssa’s girly charm may have you believe, this is one little princess who has stayed true to her dream.
Alyssa Smith was selected as a NexGem in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read the digital edition of the Hot 100 book in full online, click here.