How Fraser Hart has raised its ring offer by creating its own brand.
The Hot 100 is full of people who do just that bit extra, go that bit further, are that bit more driven. Natalie Blagg definitely qualifies, having not just exceeded the boundaries of her job title this year but pretty much redefined it.
As Fraser Hart’s ring buyer she is responsible for buying all of the rings for the entire company, from dress and cocktail to engagement and wedding styles. That, you would think, is enough for any one employee, but having spotted a gap in the range for quality branded diamonds, she went out to seek the perfect collection for Fraser Hart.
Turns out, it didn’t exist. Whether the cut wasn’t quite right or the coverage for the stores would be too patchy due to a brand’s current stockists, none of them could deliver what she wanted.
So she did the next best thing and made her own brand. In tandem with one of her biggest suppliers she created the styles she needed and branded them as Brilliantfire.
It was, she says, very satisfying. “It was the most fun thing I’ve done. It took over a year from concept to launch but the success was immediate.” The sales staff only reported one problem – not enough stock. That was soon put right.
Natalie has a great reputation in the industry as an enthusiastic ideas person and it’s easy to see why. Brimming with energy, this Notting Hill-ite is often to be found fully experiencing the joys of her home town or playing netball.
“I should have outgrown that by now, but I love it,” she says.
She is not always so town bound and her jewellery career only came as a welcome alternative to a thwarted life in the skies. “I was always going to be a pilot. All through school and university that was what I was studying for. But I failed the medical. I took a temp job in a jewellers and fell in love with it. But I had graduated and thought I should get a proper job so I left that and went to work in a financial recruiter.” She hated it and was drawn back to jewellery where she worked her way up, spending her after-office hours in evening classes, qualifying in diamond grading and gemology.
With so much enthusiasm and affection for her job it’s little wonder she is so cherished at Fraser Hart.
And what’s next for Natalie? She will be focusing on the diamond area, continuing to expand that and rolling Brilliantfire out to more stores. “I’m really lucky to be working in an area we are still investing in and I get incredible support here.”
There’s only one nagging doubt on the horizon for her: pity for whoever it is who one day proposes. “Buying me an engagement ring would be a nightmare – whatever they do, it will be wrong!”
Natalie Blagg 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.