On why Amazon’s jewellery expansion is not just a flash in the pan.
With his charming Venezuelan accent, working for Amazon can be curiously perilous for Julian Exposito-Bader. “When I tell people where I work, they ask if I mean the river,” he laughs.
Julian is new to Amazon, just completing his first year. And Amazon, he says, is still new to jewellery. The challenge ahead of him is a big one, but he loves that.
“I had never worked in online before and never in jewellery so it is a double challenge. I like that, you have to push yourself and try things.” He just makes the whole project seem so simple. He has drawn up a three-year plan that started with identifying the product gaps and filling them and which will culminate in making Amazon a seriously credible jewellery retailer in the UK.
“At the moment people think of high street stores and independents when they think of jewellery. We want them to think of Amazon too. I’ll know I’m successful when I tell my friends I work in jewellery at Amazon and instead of seeing a surprised face, I’ll see them go ‘oh yeah, I love it, I bought something there last week’.”
Julian is a properly lovely guy and that will make all the difference as he knows that the key to success will be to build strong, long-lasting relationships. “There’s no point in bullshitting,” he says. “You have to be honest and truthful and if you say you are going to do something then you deliver.” He says the team is amazing but too small, so he expects to increase it this year while adding more brands, refining the own-brand offer and stepping toward the US site’s look and feel, which is “slicker, smarter and has better editorial content”, he says.
“We’re not a flash in the pan. This is a real process and we are in it for the long term.” He says the price architecture is limitless – Amazon’s penetration into the home is huge so he will be looking to create a department store feel in the category, with gold, bridal, designer and other sections all appealing across price points, so people can find what they want.
The choice will be bewildering, but no doubt he will tame that with expert navigation – something he had to get to grips with when he started at the mammoth e-tailer. “The initial task was just to learn about Amazon. It’s a completely different world, a completely different language, it’s just so advanced. But they’re very good in the sense they told me just to take it easy and learn how it operates.” He has, and in the meantime he has visited every trade fair on the global jewellery calendar. This is telling, for on his recent trip to Las Vegas he signed up more than a few designer labels to appear on the site.
Keep your eye on Julian, and keep your eye on Amazon; they are both well worth watching.
Julian Exposito-Bader was selected as an IJL Retail Star in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.