As we wave goodbye to 2018, 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 increasing production and scooping awards, here we’ve rounded-up some of the top jewellery brands biggest success stories of 2018:
“Our biggest achievement of 2018 was exploring untapped growth areas of the business,” reveals Thomas Sabo managing director for the UK, Tony Björk. “This includes experiential/differing marketing approaches such as taxis/cinemas, and expanding our retail portfolio to include outlets. We feel it really shows our strength as a brand that we can have both various opportunities for consumers to interact with us through different marketing outputs as well as experience us in different retail environments. Although they only launched a short while ago, both stores have been trading strongly.”
“The expansion of our own-store portfolio has been the greatest achievement of this year,” reveals managing director, Ben Roberts. “We have opened three new stores between late October and mid-November 2018 and re-sited our well established outlet store at Cheshire Oaks. Broughton, which opened in spring, is exceeding all of our expectations. These sites are located in the brand’s heart-land. We have a strong community of brand advocates and a good feel for what works. As a result, we now sell 12 times more Clogau in these areas.”
SIF JAKOBS JEWELLERY
Director for the UK & Ireland, Mark Riddle, shares: “Undoubtedly, the highlight for Sif Jakobs Jewellery in 2018 was the introduction of coloured zirconia with sterling silver and 18ct yellow and rose gold plating in the new Rainbow Gold collection. This new category initiative by the eponymous founder and owner Sif Jakobs was a catalyst for a highly successful IJL show, where the brand secured 21 new stockists.”
Last year was very successful for UNOde50, a brand which has seen consistent year-on year-growth. UK sales director, Emma-Louise Gregory, tells us: “I’m pleased to report that UNOde50 has increased by 198% in 2018 vs 2017, within that percentage growth we have opened with some incredible key retailers including Drakes, Allum & Sidaway, David Christopher, Neil and Barker and even the fantastic 5* Celtic Manor Resort. Each retailer is reporting strong sell through results, mainly due to high consumer awareness.”
Gemex had an amazing year. First the business scooped the prestigious Fine Jewellery Brand of the Year accolade at the Professional Jeweller Awards, then it secured the Bridal Jewellery Collection of the Year title, as voted for by the public. Gemex managing director, Lee Ruben, says of the achievements: “Without a shred of doubt, Gemex’s greatest achievement in 2018 was winning Fine Jewellery Brand of the Year at the Professional Jeweller Awards! This accolade has gained us even further recognition in the industry as the leading bridal jewellery manufacturer, opening more and more doors to retailers across the UK and Europe. Since winning the award we have been inundated with enquiries from retailers wishing to stock our award winning collections.”
Olivia Burton launched its very first concept store last year, in the heart of Covent Garden. Since opening, jewellery has been performing above expectations, accounting for over 35% of the sales in store. Before Christmas, the brand sold 2,500 jewellery pieces in store, with the Celestial collection proving to be popular, and becoming the brand’s second bestselling range. The firm will now be exploring other product categories that can be sold exclusively in store.
KIT HEATH JEWELLERY
“The Kit Heath revival continued in 2018 and we saw a resurgence in our popularity with renewed interest in our brand,” reveals Kit Heath founder and creative director, Katie Nickell. “We have seen sales growth at home and abroad (in particular in the USA) and are benefiting from new and exciting business opportunities knocking on our doors. Our designs continue to delight consumers and our tight and reliable fulfilment has continued to delight our trade customers. There has been no single ‘greatest achievement’; but rather a combination of forces, from our enhanced social media engagement, online trade and consumer sites, stunning and distinctive seasonal presentations, and our continued passion for design. Commitment at every touch point is at the heart of our success.”
UNIQUE & CO
“Celebrating our 20th anniversary is our proudest achievement this year,” says Unique & Co founder, Daniel Ozel. “The business has grown and developed so much over the years and to reach 20 years is something special that we’ve reflected back on to take forward into the forthcoming years. We wanted to do something special to celebrate this special milestone. We had discussed launching a gold collection for a while and our 20th anniversary seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. We launched the Gold collection back at IJL in September and have sold it to over 50 accounts in just two months. We’re positive about the potential of this new side to the business for our retailers and how it will help shape the brand.”
The founders of Chrysalis, Andy and Dave Maine, managed to successfully launch a new fashion jewellery brand called Ania Haie last year. Hitting the ground running, the brand quickly opened doors all around the world, and in the UK secured some of the nation’s leading jewellery retailers. To date, Ania Haie is now in over 1,000 stores and has opened shop in shops sooner than expected.
CLAUDIA BRADBY JEWELLERY
2018 saw Claudia Bradby Jewellery enjoy sales growth with key retailers, including John Lewis, despite a tricky retail environment. The brand also signed a deal to have pieces stocked by Nordstrom in the USA, taking its contemporary pearl pieces stateside for the very first time.
British brand Buckley London would say its greatest achievement of last year was the launch of its very first men’s collection. The Buckley London For Him range includes four striking collections of wristwear and cufflinks designed for the modern man. The line instantly received a great response from buyers and has been commended for offering aspirational yet attainable product, suited to every man, for every occasion. Online sales have also reflected the success of the launch, leading to an ever-increasing male audience via the Buckley London website and social channels. Due to the outstanding response, the product team are now focussing on the further development of the men’s range and plan to continue releasing new products throughout 2019.
In 2018 Les Georgettes opened its first concept store in the heart of Paris. As a brand, it continues to gain more traction around the world, and now in the UK it has 164 points of sale.
In 2018 Yoko London invested heavily in digital marketing, launching a brand new global e-commerce website and doubling its Instagram following as a result of unique content highlighting the quality of the brand’s pearls and the originality of designs. The brand shares: “Clients are using our website and social media channels to inspire their buying decisions. We’ve received many reports from retail partners worldwide, of customers walking in to their stores to purchase a Yoko piece, having previously researched our products online. We are very pleased to see this seamless transition between digital and physical.”
Jewellery supplier Gecko had an amazing year with its Element Gold offering. Creative director, Desiree Pringle, tells Professional Jeweller: “We’ve had a stellar year on gold, so much so that we are almost doubling our new options for 2019. Across this year’s collection we have seen huge success, but in particular on our plainer gold and diamond product. Customers have fed back that we have struck the right balance between classic pieces they can sell volume of, and interesting new product which reflects some of the trends coming through such as textured finishes and statement drop earrings. Our gold collection is the biggest money driver for our business and having this performing above expectation has been excellent for us.
Wellness jewellery brand Mantra had great success last year collaborating with both charities and individuals. In March the brand partnered with Care International to create a charity necklace with the word ‘Empower’ for International Women’s Day. The mantra, ‘I am an empowered woman who empowers others’, struck a real chord with customers, and lifted the company’s profile. In September, a collaborative necklace with Wanderlust, the global wellbeing brand, led to Mantra Jewellery appearing a major yoga event and raising brand awareness. Additionally a necklace created in collaboration with ex-Hollyoaks actress turned psychology coach, Mel Wells, sold out straight away.
SATTA MATTURI FINE JEWELLERY
The jewellery designer reveals: “It’s certainly been a good year for the Satta Matturi Fine Jewellery brand and I set the course at the beginning of 2018, with a goal to get the brand recognised for its unique designs but also the story behind it all. We have had so much print coverage this year but one highlight has been winning the Professional Jeweller Award for Fine Jewellery Designer of the Year, an accolade that was fully endorsed by the trade.”
SARAH ZHUANG JEWELLERY
Luxury brand Sarah Zhuang Jewellery launched into the UK in 2018, instantly securing doors. As a business, the greatest achievement was its Urban Reflection piece receiving the Best of Show award at the 19th Hong Kong Jewellery Design Competition hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. The award-winning piece was sold within a week to a local art collector, and has become an iconic piece to our brand.