Meet Rudells’ MD, a self-confessed workaholic who keeps things simple.
Jon Weston, managing director of Rudells, has had a busy year of renovating the Wolverhampton store, moving house and keeping up with his two huskies. But, he says, the secret is keeping it simple and as a result, business is good. He was named a Ti Sento Retail Stars in this year’s Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers.
Professional Jeweller: This year has given you the chance to refresh and revamp Rudells’ Wolverhampton store – tell us a little more about this project and what it has done for the business
Jon Weston: To be honest, the old look was looking rather dated and was in need of some TLC. We had a rather tedious planning process that took over two years from my initial design idea. We have re-designed the windows and completely re-vamped the facia from the floor to and including the roof. The new look is sympathetic to the surroundings and the original 1930s building design were possible, but also has a modern balance. It now means that we can devote more space for the products that work well for us and internally we have designed new cabinets for the brands we partner with. As a result, we had two great launch parties and the footfall has increased nicely since. Business is good – it’s what we needed to take up to the next stage of evolution.
PJ: Aside from the fresh lick of paint, what have been your highlights of this year so far?
JW: Personal highlights would have to be moving house in January and enjoying a little more space. Seeing it all come together as you want it is very rewarding. Professionally would have to be our record month outside of Christmas trading for Rudells last August, plus the healthy growth in sales and profits last year. This is very pleasing considering the tough times we are in at the moment.
PJ: Have you hit any challenges along the way in 2012, and if so, how have you tackled them?
JW: Yes, it seems almost every day holds greater challenges for us all; the main one is always the need to grow the business and push forward with new ideas. We are pretty creative when it comes to this, for me, the secret is to stay focused on a manageable number of goals rather than diluting your energies too much and where at all possible, keep it simple
PJ: Describe your approach to work
JW: Most would say I’m a mad workaholic. I would say I’m very straightforward, methodical and friendly. These days I don’t have the luxury of wasting time, I would rather tell it as it is and get the job done, bear in mind, I’m a Black Country lad. My approach has always been hands on, just like our former chairman Tony Rudell, whom sadly passed away last year. He taught me well and from the age of 21 when I joined the Rudells, he immediately recognised that I wasn’t shy to make decisions. I’ve always operated in a way that is firm but very fair and listened to others ideas. Tony used to refer to me as “the Iron fist in the velvet glove”. This may be partly true when facing tough decisions but my team at Rudells are our best asset; it’s always been about a team effort.
PJ: As a self-confessed workaholic, how and when do you get away from it all?
JW: Well, that’s an interesting one. I think in the last 18 months I’ve had such a busy time of things that work has had to take over for a while. The professional group Vistage of whom I’m a member has been a great help in getting the balance correct. Off the job, I happiest riding my horses, they are such wonderful creatures and the bond I have with them is wonderful. I’ve now got two huskies, they are only 16 months old, as you can imagine, and they are a bundle of fun. Very entertaining, they love being with the horses too.
PJ: Looking ahead, where do you hope to take Rudells in the coming year?
JW: First and foremost is to drive the business forward to the next level, our goals are high but I’m confident we will get there. The first quarter of our financial year was on target. We have a fairly unique approach to staying in touch with our clients; there are further developments to add to this. I will also be implementing a new epos system and upgrade of our computers. A new Rolex corner and Patek Philippe wall is planned to be installed at Wolverhampton early 2013, plus a few minor modifications to the interior of our Harborne showroom. The design and development of our own exclusive jewellery ranges is also a high priority.