Bloch & Co has one not-so-simple goal: to be the best at what it does in every department. “We offer the best,” Matt McCawley, UK representative, tells Professional Jeweller. “The best quality of work, with the best quality materials, the best client support, and overall the best experience. And we truly stand by that.”
Here McCawley gives PJ the lowdown on all things Bloch, including secrets to its successful 2020, its move to a new office, and why cutbacks are against the brand’s ethos, even amid a pandemic.
What is Bloch & Co and what does it offer?
Bloch & Co is a fine jewellery brand. We only work with the finest materials, and employ only the finest craftsmen. By doing this we offer to our clients truly exceptional diamond and coloured gemstone pieces.
Our core offering ranges include engagement rings, eternity rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets and bangles. All made from 18ct gold or platinum. Our pieces are all made in-house at our Antwerp workshop.
What sets Bloch & Co and its products apart from the competition?
For us at a Bloch, we like to keep it simple. We offer the best: the best quality of work, with the best quality materials, the best client support, and overall the best experience. And we truly stand by that.
How have you coped as a business during the last 12 months? What were the most important lessons learnt?
Like everyone else, of course, this has been a challenging time. However, we used that time to reinforce every aspect of our business.
We moved to a brand new office late last year, so we can fully support our growing needs. Both as a workshop and as an office. We also took the time to try and be there for all of our clients, whatever their needs where. This, we believe, will only strengthen our relationships.
Has there been a certain amount of downtime, or have you been as busy as ever because retailers have moved to e-commerce during lockdown periods?
It has been varied. With complete lockdown there have been times, particularly at the start of the crisis, when downtime was not a choice.
But then, of course, as soon as people started to really focus on the e-commerce part of the business we became busy again.
Then as lockdown lifted we became busier than ever. Also, as an international business operating across Europe, the reality is there was very little time when all of our markets were closed.
Have you had to adapt and make many changes or cutbacks to the way you do business during the pandemic?
Cutbacks: definitely not! As mentioned, we purchased and moved into a new office last year. Changes have mainly been focused on how we can best support our clients from an e-commerce perspective.
We spoke a couple of months back about the engagement ring sales boom many companies have experienced. Has that trend been a constant throughout the pandemic in your experience or has it calmed down a bit since the initial spike?
Generally I would say this has calmed down a bit. Bridal is always strong for us overall though.
What does Bloch & Co’s retailer support package look like? What keeps your clients coming back again and again?
Our retail support package is all about the service. Any client that deals with us knows that from experience.
We also offer an increasingly comprehensive array of digital assets. Of course, not to ignore bricks-and-mortar, we have full PoS support. And, of course, as the strong business we are, we also support our clients with enabling investment in our collections.
What are your predictions for jewellery trends through the latter half of 2021?
It is very difficult still to predict trends, particularly with so much uncertainty. However we do believe there is very strong pent up demand for the finest of things, so we are confident of a very successful 2021.
What is your business strategy moving forward?
To keep things simple, and continue to do what we know best. As a business we believe excellence is key, and we will keep doing that. We know our strengths and we will continue to hold them at the core of our business.
What does Bloch & Co have in the pipeline for the rest of 2021? Any big plans you can reveal?
There are no major plans we can reveal at this point. We invested significantly last year, but it is still early in 2021 and lots can change.
However there is one plan we can reveal now. In order to serve our UK customers even better, we have opened up an office in the UK under the name of Bloch & Co UK Ltd.
BLOCH & CO OVER THE DECADES
With a history spanning five decades, Bloch & Co has earned the right to brag a little about its achievements over the years.
Most businesses in jewellery and other sectors would have a ‘history’ section on their website for just this reason, but Bloch takes a more humble, modest road. With a desire to dig a little deeper, PJ caught up with UK representative, Matt McCawley, to fill in the blanks.
He explains: “The business was originally started by Charles Bloch. His passion for jewellery and offering the finest of things drove the creation of the business just over 50 years ago. This passion for jewellery and his desire to offer his clients the best service truly built the strong foundations the business has today.
“Charles also had a unique signature look which helped. His long, curled smoking pipe became a real feature of the business. And, in fact, even though he has given up his pipe, it is still incorporated in our European Mark for the business.”
McCawley goes on: “These strong foundations have then been built on by the drive and energy brought to the business by his sons, Mickey and Leslie. Mickey’s technical acumen takes the workshop and production to new levels of excellence, while Leslie has an eye and love for the finest things, lending itself to true excellence when it comes to the procurement of loose stones and building the best relationships with our partners.
“Leslie is also a key member of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, helping to further strengthen the relationships we have with our partners, and in the jewellery trade in general.”