Berry’s Jewellers has three eponymous stores and owns a fourth under the name ‘Owen & Robinson’ in the city of Leeds.
It covers almost all of the main shopping areas, and has something to offer everyone who walks through its various doors.
While the value of pieces available in-store range in price, it’s the bridal and high-end jewellery market, alongside luxury watch brands, that have really given the jeweller a leg up in the city. So its little wonder the company has doubled the size of its flagship on Albion Street, which has really become a destination boutique, and transformed it into a space that reflects the quality of the stock it sells so well.
In the revamped flagship not a single area of the store has been missed. Even the toilets resemble those found inside a high-end boutique hotel.
It’s an impressive space that alludes luxury, but equally it is very inviting. The tone and colours make it a warm and comfortable place to be, and of course once inside the staff go above and beyond to make sure everyone feels welcome.
“Our USP is we are a local family jewellers who have been here since 1897, with a flagship store, selling items from £500 to half a million,” shares Berry’s managing director, Simon Walton. “We have certainly moved upmarket over the years to really try and compete with London and some of the high end jewellers around the country, and that has really been our success but we needed a store to match the actual goods we sell.”
Alongside matching the look of the store with the products inside, one of the main motivations for the refurbishment was to give jewellery more room. While Berry’s enjoys the success it is having with watch brands, the directors don’t want to lose the company’s identity as a family jeweller, and felt as the brands take up more space, bridal and fine jewels needed a substantial area to sparkle too.
So Berry’s bought the building next door and created an even larger flagship, half of which is completely dedicated to the jewellery side of the business.
“I can’t emphasise enough, we are jewellers,” Walton tells Professional Jeweller. “The whole of our trade has become almost obsessed with watch brands, but we are jewellers first and foremost. Our biggest challenge really is to sell more jewellery. Watch brands push you and want more furniture, but we try and sell more jewellery.”
He continues: “Our first important sale is the crucial engagement and wedding ring, and then you tend to make customers for life. Our business years ago was founded on that and it still continues. This year we’ve got the best range of jewellery from a low price to a high price. We’ve done a lot of coloured stones and more unusual pieces, and made and designed a lot more of our stock as well.”
In a bid to compete with the internet, Berry’s wants its flagship to offer an unrivalled customer experience that will keep customers coming back for more.
As such, new additions to the flagship include a VIP room, complete with a bar, and a revamped board room that can be used for events and meetings.
Furthermore, the workshop on the top level has been transformed into a space where customers can come and see jewellery being created before their very eyes.
“It is lovely for clients,” Walton says of the new flagship. “We’ve got rooms upstairs which are private, so you can take clients off the shop floor and entertain them. I have always wanted a room like this [the VIP room] that is non-branded, and very much has a loungey, high-end feel, like a boutique hotel. We had an interior designer in who absolutely nailed it, and people love it.”
Before Christmas the flagship store hosted an exhibition in the VIP room, which customers really enjoyed.
Moving forward, Berry’s wants to host more events that will entertain customers and have them telling their friends all about it.
“It’s about making that visit eventful and an experience you don’t have in a multiple environment or with a click of a button,” explains
Walton. “It is just a little bit different. Lots of jewellers have had success with these champagne bars and lounges and it has worked incredibly well for us.”
He continues: “We also have a fabulous boardroom we can take people in – and the best toilets in the north of England — and we want customers to visit our workshops so we’ve got a stairwell which goes all the way up.”
The workshop is a completely new space on the very top of the store, and double the size of what Berry’s had to work with previously.
The workshop is also lighter than before, making it a better environment to work in, and a better place to host customers who want to have a look.
Walton shares: “We invite people up here to come to show them what’s going on, and it just takes us to another level. It’s a wonderful service.
When we are selling a ring we want people to see our diamond office and our workshops to show people we manufacturer everything inside. People find it fascinating — they don’t realise what goes into making a piece.”
Walton admits it took a long time to get the flagship right, but he is pleased he didn’t rush the job and instead gave it the time it needed.
“It is like doing your house extension,” jokes Walton, “you go through all the pain of things going wrong and everyone blames one another – and you are living in it while it’s happening – but when you finish it you forget about all the trials. The staff love it.”
He concludes: “We are really pleased with the store. It has ticked the boxes and we have achieved what we wanted to achieve.”