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TOP FIVE: Career advice from female industry pioneers


Professional Jeweller asked five industry pioneers to share their top tips for females looking to climb the jewellery trade career ladder.

Find out what they had to say here:

Hayley Quinn, managing director, Swarovski UK

“If I was to give one piece of advice I would say take a risk. If you fail it doesn’t matter because you haven’t lost anything and actually that would be another thing — if someone gives you an opportunity, say yes. Even if you’re not keen, it’s about learning. It’s a lifelong experience, you don’t get your degree and that’s the end of it. The fact of the matter is every day you learn something new and every day you see a different perspective, and if you remain open to that most of the channels remain open to you.”


Ruth Bewsey, director, Daisy London

I’m not sure it’s advice as such but I always try to just work hard and be humble and just be open to things. I learnt a lot from my dad and my brother. They’ve never gone and asked for pay rise or a job title change or anything like that and they have been very successful and I think that’s from working hard and being humble, rolling their sleeves up and taking risks. Accept you don’t know everything. I’m so lucky to be where I am. I love my job. I love the fact I turn my job into a lifestyle and I think that’s quite a big thing when you look at supporting women and families.”


Jo Stroud, managing director, Fabulous

I’ll build on what Hayley said about not waiting until you know everything because A, you simply never will and B, you’ve got to get to the point where you learn enough that it’s good to do lots of different things. I think multitasking, moving into different areas of the business, is fantastic. Certainly coming up through retail and then marketing I felt that by the time I set up my own business, I had a really good grounding and knowledge. If I hadn’t had seven years marketing experience I think we would have closed down in very early years. You can gain as much experience as you can but there has to be a point when you say, I now have enough experience, I’m not going to know everything, I have to go for that more senior role and set up that business or take that risk. I think there is a danger of just waiting until you feel you know everything and that’s simply never going to happen so you’ve got to be prepared to be vulnerable. So my advice would be take that risk, that leap, go for that role even though you don’t know everything, but learn what you can on the way and stay open to learning once you’re there.”


Leanne Rogers, director, Sarah Layton Jewellery

For me it’s don’t be afraid to ask for advice. We’ve been open over seven years now but we only opened our workshop two years ago. Nick our goldsmith has got 30 odd years experience and starting to do bespoke is really daunting. My thing is, say yes and I’ll find out how to do it afterwards, then actually bouncing off Nick upstairs in the workshop I have learnt so much. Do not be afraid to ask for help. I think it’s also about being proactive. Looking at the industry as a whole, looking at what’s missing. You notice a gap in the market and take it and that’s what we’ve done where we are, there isn’t anyone else nearby that has got a workshop and I think that’s the way to do it isn’t it.”


Alison Skeates, founder, EC One

Treat people well because it is a small trade and you will cross paths backwards and forwards with people. That’s an incredible thing because doors can really be opened for you. Taking risks, you can’t know it all and I think being honest. You’ll grow through development. Being adaptable, rolling with the changes, the economy or all of these spending patterns change, your interest, opening a workshop, it’s a massive thing but it’s totally brilliant, you’re promoting those skills and bringing those services.”


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