Kirstie Gibbs, founder of Covent Garden jeweller The Alkemistry, says that lockdown was one of the best things that could have happened to the business.
While the last three months have brought unprecedented turbulence to the economy, Gibbs said it has given her venture some much-needed breathing space.
She explained: “Having set our strategy for the year, lockdown pushed us to accelerate some projects and put others on hold – all the while, increasing our focus as a team. It also put a spotlight on weaknesses in the business, which we then had time to change.”
Gibbs said her business actually outperformed its 2019 figures for the same period: “Speaking financially, The Alkemistry was initially affected, but due to our change in priorities we actually saw year-on-year growth thanks to our e-commerce focus throughout lockdown. As a team and business we now have stronger foundations than ever before.”
Going into more detail regarding how the business boosted its online sales during lockdown, Gibbs said: “We had to adapt to what was going on around us on a daily basis.” This saw the brand successfully operate four e-commerce channels, three of which were shipping internationally, during the period. “It was a challenge logistically, but we got through it,” she added.
The Alkemistry, founded in 2015, is a jeweller for women, by women. Gibbs said that she chooses to collaborate with a select group of female designers with a similar ethos to her own, rather than stock the products of every designer that comes knocking.
The flagship Covent Garden store opened in 2018. Of the opening, Gibbs said: “To be honest, it was pretty stressful. I’ve always been a department store girl, so having to oversee the full build and fit of the store having just had my first child was a lot. In fact, I did many a site visit with my baby strapped to my front!”
The Alkemistry shop reopened on 15 June and continues to operate, catering to both walk-ins and appointments.