Ro Copenhagen launched in Denmark a couple of years ago, taking the market by storm. Now, the fine jewellery brand is looking to replicate this success in the UK, so we caught up with founder and designer, Helle Nissen, to find out how she plans to capture the nation with her elegant and modern designs…
When Ro Copenhagen founder and designer, Helle Nissen, created her first piece of jewellery, she felt a sense of innate serenity and instantly fell in love with the process of making pieces for the modern woman.
This feeling led Nissen to name the brand Ro, which translates to ‘a sense of calmness’ in Danish.
Ro Copenhagen hit the ground running in Scandinavia, and in just two short years has secured a place in some of the most prestigious jewellers across the three islands that make up Denmark.
Now, the fine jewellery brand is hoping to replica its home market success in the UK. Here, Professional Jeweller meets with Nissen to find out more…
PJ: Could you tell me about the brand’s history?
HN: I founded Ro Copenhagen in 2015 and awaited the completion of our Danish workshop and business space that was ready for us in 2016. Once we moved into our headquarters in Copenhagen, we set about going to market with the Ro brand.
PJ: What makes Ro Copenhagen unique?
HN: We believe design should be simple, uncomplicated and that the smallest details can be the greatest feature. A brilliant-cut signature diamond is found in all of Ro’s jewellery — sometimes it’s so discreet that it is barely discernible, but our unique diamond hallmark is present in everything we do.
PJ: How has the brand been performing in your home market?
HN: We have lovely stockists nationwide here in Denmark. One of our first stockists was the well-known P Hertz — an appointed jeweller for the Royal Danish Court. P Hertz is located in the centre of Copenhagen, and we feel lucky to have Ro styles sit alongside great Danish heritage brands such as Georg Jensen and Ole Lynggaard. Our other retailers are across the three islands that make up Denmark, and we are sold in a wonderful mixture of metropolitan and smaller rural areas across the country.
PJ: What other markets are you in?
HN: We offer to ship orders globally, so we don’t exclude any market. Our main customer base is currently in Scandinavia and Germany. The Scandinavian aesthetic and the Danes’ joy for life has piqued the attention of the British, and Londoners especially, so earlier this year we set up a Ro office in London to focus on our expansion in the UK market.
PJ: Why did you decide now was the right time to launch into the UK?
HN: After two successful years selling Ro jewellery in Scandinavia, it is a natural evolution for us to set up in the United Kingdom. Denmark has a national population of 5.7 million, so I believe that it is key for us to put our energy into other markets so we can increase our international presence.
PJ: What’s your plan for the UK launch of Ro Copenhagen?
HN: We are planning a series of projects and launch events to interact with consumers as well as the industry. We are so excited to be working with a well-known international PR agency on these future projects that include some really inspiring women. These launch events extend further than just a jewellery presentation, and I know they’ll be really fun and fulfilling events for Ro to host. We will also show for the first time at International Jewellery London in September. We want to expand our retail network nationwide in the UK and continue to develop our online presence. Supporting B2B and B2C channels will in turn support our retail stockists through continuing to raise our brand awareness.
PJ: How will you be supporting jewellery retailers which decide to stock Ro Copenhagen?
HN: In the same way we do in Denmark, we offer advertising support for our stockists, and we provide all merchandising pieces for Ro retailers. Ro’s staff are always happy to travel to meet stockist and host any ‘meet the maker’ events so that the consumer can get a better grasp of who we are and why we create the jewellery we do.
PJ: What type of retailers are you hoping to partner with?
HN: We are engaging with select independent jewellers, luxury stores, and e-tailers who have a vision that aligns with our brand’s. It is very important to Ro Copenhagen that we form a select portfolio of retailers who can maintain exclusivity in their particular region, we want to respect our stockist in this way.
PJ: What’s your goal for the first 12 months?
HN: We hope to replicate our success in the UK market, and to continue growing and developing our brand from strength-to-strength. We are approaching the second half of 2018, where IJL and pre-Christmas sales will be a key focus for us.
PJ: How do you use social media to boost your brand presence?
HN: We post on Instagram each day and this is our preferred social media platform. Instagram is such a great and fun way of having daily interaction with our followers.
PJ: What inspires your designs?
HN: I find inspiration through travel, architecture and in moments I capture with my camera. I really enjoyed developing Ro’s Fine Oak collection — the story behind procuring the Abonos wood stones always brings a smile to my face. The original Abonos wood and concept came from a barn on my property that was torn down 10 years ago. Abonos is a fortified wood so it’s something we have to procure through some far reaching channels. At the moment, our Abonos wood supplier is a hippy wood artist from the neighbouring island of Jylland, and thankfully he has a great number of planks that we can tap into to craft our Fine Oak styles. It’s wonderful to use a native Danish wood in our styles that are sold internationally.
PJ: What other materials do you work with?
HN: Ro uses 18ct yellow and white gold — we don’t produce in any other carats. We believe the patina that 18ct yellow and white gold develops holds a story about the person behind the jewellery, forming a more refined finish over time. We use brilliant-cut G, VS diamond stones as our standard diamond grade. In our second year we introduced coloured gemstones in blue, grey and blushing pink tones, and items set with these stones have gone on to be some of our best sellers.
PJ: What are your best sellers?
HN: Signet items from our One Piece collection have been most popular in London, along with stackable rings from our Ro series. In Denmark we see the Nord collection and My collection as our best sellers. The My collection is made up of letter and numeral pendants and earrings that have a really great price point and are relevant for modern jewellery styling; layering and personalising.