As we wave goodbye to 2019, Professional Jeweller asks some of the UK’s leading jewellery brands to reveal what they would consider to be their greatest achievement over the last 12 months.
From thriving on a challenging high street to undergoing major overhauls and scooping awards, here we’ve rounded-up some of the top jewellery brands biggest success stories of 2019:
In August Pandora unveiled a major brand overhaul that saw everything from the logo to retail store concept transform. As part of Programme Now, Pandora is ensuring it stays relevant in today’s marketplace, with a particular focus on Generation Z. Initial results from the new store concept, which has been rolled out in six locations across the globe, show a positive impact on traffic and sales, with the brand saying consumers are spending more time in the new store format.
Despite a challenging retail and economic backdrop, Gecko had a successful 2019, with new collections soaring. Picking some highlights, general manager, Ruth Johnson, shares: “The team at Gecko are celebrating quite a few things this year; we were absolutely overwhelmed with the response to our refreshed Gold Elements collection in June. We increased the new options in the range to 130 pieces. This was double the usual range refresh, all driven by customer feedback on the previous range. Next on the celebration list has to be our success with our personalisation ranges. Using our own in-house designed font, we created collections including initials, numbers, zodiac signs and Swarovski birthstones, all available in high-quality merchandising packs, which meant retailers could literally slot the sets onto their displays. And last but not least, we’re celebrating huge success with our British Beekeepers’ Association Silver Elements collection, which has raised more than £10,000 for the charity since its’ launch in September 2018.”
“Our greatest achievement has been strengthening our core environmental beliefs and using a non-sales driven message to talk to our customers,” reveals Alex Monroe chief operating officer, Emma Burgin. She continues: “We donated £10 from every retail sale of our SS19 collection ‘Oceans’ to Friends of the Earth, but beyond this, we found incredible engagement from customers when we spoke about how Alex embarked on Plastic Free February, and demonstrated how we were tackling waste, recycling and single-use plastics as a business.” On top of this, the British jewellery brand also opened its second standalone boutique on Floral Street in Covent Garden. It opened in July and is bucking the current retail trend of doom and gloom! “We really wanted to create a unique space for discovering and shopping Alex Monroe – and we are all tremendously proud of it.”
“Fope’s greatest achievement this year is certainly the 90th anniversary of the foundation,” says the brand’s head of marketing, Valentina Bertoldo. “This company started out as a small family workshop and it has now become an international brand. We are still based in Vicenza, in the north east of Italy, where we craft our jewellery and ship them to more than 50 countries worldwide. I think this is a fantastic achievement — and we opened a flagship boutique in Old Bond Street in London. It was the perfect way to end 2019.”
Alongside scooping Emerging Jewellery Brand of the Year at the Professional Jeweller Awards, Ania Haie opened 1,900 accounts, bringing its total number of doors globally to 2,500. Ania Haie is taking place of Pandora shop-in-shops in key retail outlets and many UK stockists say it is their top selling brand. To keep up with progress in the US, the company opened a head office in Dallas and had to move within six months to an even bigger premises due to the growth of new accounts and volume of business. The UK office also extended its team to include an influencer manager to help bolster marketing activities and pave the way for a bright 2020.
In 2019 Picchiotti was officially granted a 20-year US jewellery patent (on select styles) for the technology behind the innovative and successful Xpandable collection. The invisible technology, which allows precious gemstone bracelets and rings to expand and contract for comfortable, durable wear, is now protected against counterfeit by US law. The very same technology is patent-pending in the UK. This achievement has greatly impacted business as the patent sanctions the originality of the brand’s invention and ensures that Xpandable customers can be confident they are getting a genuine Picchiotti products.
KIT HEATH JEWELLERY
Kit Heath triumphed in 2019 by building its brand signature and attracting a new level of retailer. Entering the New Year on a strong footing, following the success of its first rhodium-plated collection in AW18, Kit Heath’s prestige has grown with its reputation for superior British designer silver jewellery. Three initiatives in particular have strengthened the company this year: The brand’s two most successful launches in its thirty-year history; sales success in the USA; and the introduction of eye catching, high quality POS. Last year also saw the first anniversary of Kit Heath dealing directly with its US retailers. Having welcomed 10 new US field sales representatives, Kit Heath saw a significant increase in US income year-on-year.
The launch of the Jungle Ivy collection gave Danish jewellery brand byBiehl reason to celebrate as it was quickly picked up by retailers and consumers. Looking to make a difference in the world, the brand vowed to plant a Mangrove tree in Indonesia or Madagascar for each piece of jewellery sold in this line. Within a couple of months byBiehl had planted 20,000 trees. The range resonated with consumers, boosted brand awareness and extended the company’s reach. byBiehl plans to build on this in 2020.
Domino Jewellery introduced seven successful ranges to its portfolio last year with broad customer appeal. By focusing on client feedback, the British supplier is supporting retailers with a highly commercial offer that taps into keys trends within the wider luxury market. And it appears retailers must be extremely grateful because they voted for Domino to win Fine Jewellery Brand and Young Designer of the Year at the 2019 Professional Jeweller Awards.
Last year Yoko London’s head office moved to a brand new location in Hatton Garden. This large new space houses a dedicated photography and videography studio where the company employs two full-time photographers. “Over the past 12 months, we have focussed on making our business digitally friendly, allowing us to meet all our own digital needs in-house and giving us the ability to provide excellent support to our retail partners with their digital marketing,” shares Yoko London chief executive, Michael Hakimian. “This move towards digital has been instrumental in our success over 2019. In today’s climate in order for our partners to promote our brand effectively and secure sales these digital assets are essential.”
“On the whole feel our biggest achievement of the year has been our fantastic new rebrand. We worked extremely hard to make this happen and to see it now transferring into stores is extremely rewarding for us,” ChloBo’s PR and marketing manager shares. “The rebrand has impacted us in many ways. The customer and retailer feedback we have had has been extremely positive with more retailers wanting the new branding in store ASAP. It has also given us a more sophisticated aesthetic which has been key. In such a competitive industry, it is important to provide the consumer with a product of high quality and reassurance. We feel the new branding emulates this to a tee.”
POSH TOTTY DESIGNS
Personalised jewellery firm Posh Totty Designs enjoyed another sparkling year celebrating its 15th anniversary and getting there whilst continuing to have growth, profit and zero investments. To mark the milestone year the jeweller launched 15 new collections, a couple of which became instant bestsellers. Posh Totty Design’s birthday line, Tidal, resulted in the company’s best August revenue on record. The brand also made steps to be more eco-friendly, notably making all packaging materials recyclable. This was greatly received by customers.
Award-winning supplier Gemex saw business grow by 23% in 2019, making the company on course for its best year ever. “This has been achieved despite uncertain political and economic times as well as the ever changing face of the high street and a shrinking jewellery retail market,” says business owner Lee Ruben. “The increase in business proves we are constantly winning market share from our competitors due to innovation, quality, service and competitive prices.”
Madestones expanded its presence in Europe as a reputable and reliable supplier of lab-grown diamonds but the main achievement for the brand was the launch of the Mellow jewellery collection. Defined as a disruptive product in today’s market for high-end jewellery, Madestones innovated the classic diamond tennis bracelet to produce a much lighter and more flexible version, with an exceptional value-for-money proposition that targets the younger consumer. Retailers responded well to the line at International Jewellery London and major retail chains across US and Europe have shown keen interest in the collection, which, if these doors open, will help Madestones grow the business further.
UNOde50 has been going from strength-to-strength in the UK market, with 2019 being full of achievements for the brand. Employing a fully-committed team has been amazing for the development and growth of UNOde50 across the UK, with stores now receiving more support than ever from a truly passionate group of women. As a team, they have secured over 50 new retail partners and seen the brand presence be expand within the Fenwick department store group and David Christopher stores. Before Christmas the brand had experienced over 80% growth year-on-year, with retail partners increasingly reporting strong sell-through.
SIF JAKOBS JEWELLERY
Sif Jakobs Jewellery signed with three big department stores in 2019, leading the brand to significantly increase its reach and retailer base in the UK. Sif Jakobs Jewellery is now stocked in John Lewis, Fenwick and Ernest Jones across several of their locations. Director for the UK & Ireland, Mark Riddle, says: “Some of our main objectives for last year were to boost brand visibility and awareness, showcasing our ability to offer something different to the jewellery market within the UK. Adding these three revered British retailers to our ever-expanding presence here means that customers are able to see us as a trustworthy and respected brand.”
UNIQUE & CO
Business continued to grow for Unique & Co over the past 12 months. The supplier continued to invest in the marketing of the brand, with new campaign shots supporting this. Sales for the year were up on 2018 and the company received several acknowledgements from the trade with nominations for four industry awards.
HATTON AND SPENCER
“Our partnership with Ch. Dahlinger, which launched in the summer, has to be the highlight of the year,” says Hatton and Spencer founder, Cathie Osbourne. “The partnership has opened up new opportunities for both ourselves and our clients with an unrivalled offering of over 40 off-the-shelf jewellery packaging ranges to suit all budgets. Together we’ve blended our passion with their expertise to create several new collections to meet the needs and expectations of UK jewellers and their customers in 2020. It’s only been a short time, but we’re really excited to see how our relationship will develop further over the coming year.”
CLAUDIA BRADBY JEWELLERY
2019 was a year of consolidation for Claudia Bradby, with the brand drawing out its unique values and offering. Building on the brand’s passion for pearls and inspiring people about how these can fit their everyday life, as well as explaining some of the thought and care behind each design, consumers and retailers alike have fallen in love with the classic stone all over again. In the year, Claudia Bradby secured four significant new accounts, while new product launches became bestsellers for the business. The brand also continued to host Pearl and Prosecco evenings, which proved extremely popular.
“With our in-house brand, Mantra Jewellery, our greatest achievements have been our collaborations with inspiring women and our attendance at pop-up events,” reveals founder of Mantra and Fabulous Jewellers, Jo Stroud. “For example — our partnership with anxiety expert, Chloe Brotheridge, created our best-selling necklace ever, selling a record 79 necklaces in two days on our Mantra website. And our attendance at Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place Festival led to record-breaking sales across the two-day event, taking nearly four times more turnover than we expected.”
PARIFY GROUP LTD
The founder of Parify, Scot Walker, becoming the majority shareholder and sole owner of the business has been what the company describes as its biggest achievement of the year. The reputation of this company has gone from strength-to-strength throughout 2019, which has landed the firm partnerships with some of the biggest jewellery retailers in the UK, giving Scot Walker the platform to expand the business into new territories and further his innovations to help a variety of sectors showcase their products in the best light. 2020 is looking bright for the firm.