It’s 35 years since Judith Hart opened her eponymous jewellery store, 20 years since first becoming a director of the Company of Master Jewellers, five years since the business became a Pandora franchisee and one month since Judith became the first vice chairman of the Company of Master Jewellers.
What better year to welcome the Derby-based jewellery business leader into the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 as a Retail Star?
Judith Hart Jewellers is a case study in moving with the times. The traditional family jeweller successfully traded in precious gold and diamond pieces for much of its 35 years. But, when silver brands such as Pandora, Thomas Sabo and Links of London transformed the industry, Judith acted with the opening of a Pandora franchised store in 2010 and a brand boutique in 2012 that appealed to a younger, more trend-led customer.
The success of branded jewellery has generated the cash flow needed to invest back in the flagship boutique, with a refit completed this year.
Judith explains: “The refit was designed with a very specific brief to enhance the customer shopping experience. An oasis of peace was created by tapping into a person’s senses. A water feature creates a calming, gentle background ambience with a plush carpet to sink into, giving a luxurious feeling. A fragrance bar of Lalique scents enhance the uniqueness of the store and create connections between smell and sound to remind you of the visit. This leaves sight which will hopefully be fulfilled with the presentation of beautiful jewellery. Lots of subliminal messages, ultimately leading to the purchase of a piece of jewellery that will be treasured for a lifetime.”
Along with her success in jewellery, Judith is also a local magistrate, and a successful property developer. The property development side of life inspired her location for her Hot 100 shoot, which is in a grand Victorian home that she bought three years ago and has been restoring to its former glory. Property is a passion she shares with her partner Mike and son Nick, who has just graduated with a First in Property Investment with a Master’s in Accounting.
The painstaking period property restoration dovetails perfectly with her love of jewellery. “That is what the jewellery industry is to me — elegant, stylish and classic but combined with innovation, design and quality.”
To read a digital version of the Hot 100 2015 book in full online, click here.