Firm’s founder reflects on bagging a multiple and loving 1970s music.
David Lewis started his career as a Hatton Garden apprentice and today runs Maker Mends, one of the largest jewellery repairs business in Europe. He tells us about a year of growth, the Paralympic Games and the move into finished goods. Lewis was named a Business Big Shot in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with the Company of Master Jewellers.
Professional Jeweller: What have been your highlights of the year, both personal and professional?
David Lewis: On a professional level, becoming the largest outworker for a multiple chain of jewellery retailers was a huge highlight and so was becoming a recommended supplier to the Houlden Group. My wife volunteered as a Games Maker for the Olympics and was one of the dancers in the opening ceremony for the Paralympics. Due to this, we were invited to the dress rehearsal of the Olympic opening ceremony and it was a fantastic experience which made me feel proud to be British.
PJ: Moving into finished jewellery has been a new approach for Maker Mends this year. Tell us a little bit about the decision to do this and what you believe it will add to your business?
DL: The decision to move into finished goods came out of us owning the factory in Thailand which has the abilities to design, hand craft and manufacture jewellery. We specialise in high labour content small production runs and single pieces and all of our products are beautifully finished.
PJ: Have you hit any challenges along the way, working internationally?
DL: Myself and my business partner, Tony Stern, bought the factory in Thailand in March 2011 which has proved to be a challenge trying to guide a workforce to fulfil the needs and demands of our customers worldwide. There is an ongoing process of dealing with problems as and when they arise and finding the solution.
PJ: You clinched a deal with a major multiple to handle their bespoke offer. Do you believe this will lead to another facet of the business?
DL: This deal was with large chain of jewellery retailers. This was also a major achievement for Maker Mends .We are promoting a bespoke service throughout their stores and assisting with the training and motivation of staff to introduce this service to their customers. Our business is ready to take advantage of any opportunity that is presented to us. I have a brilliant enthusiastic team who are keen to adapt to any opportunity we believe will benefit us in the future.
PJ: How would you describe your attitude to work?
DL: I am passionate, driven to succeed and have the ability to make reasonably good decisions under pressure.
PJ: What do you do to relax when you’re out of the office?
DL: I have a lovely family and a wonderful wife who keep me grounded. I enjoy watching Man United, shopping for clothes, listening to a range of music – especially from the 1970s – and I also have an interest in collecting Art Deco decanters.
PJ: And where do you hope to take the business in the next year?
DL: We plan to expand the watch department enabling us to manage more brands. We also have plans to grow our bespoke team to ensure we are maximising on every opportunity to introduce Maker Mends and its services to all new customers. We are also hopefully about to start working with a major catalogue company providing them support for their brand and customers.