Attire Accessories - Dec 2017/Jan 2018 (Issue 67)

enabling us to create our style. We enjoy this creative, fun time to come up with something fresh. Every piece is followed from the initial idea and early sketches, to the skills of the model maker and finally the finished article. We carefully look at the design, quality, finish, price and packaging of each item. We of course look at current fashion trends, but tend to follow our own design style and themes to create original timeless pieces that we can feel excited about. We also have two jewellery boutiques in Cornwall where we can test out designs and gain feedback from the public. Everybody’s always looking forward, so new designs have been at the forefront of Sea Gems and we always have new designs to present. There are even some specific bespoke pieces produced for customers which is always an exciting opportunity. What values are important to Sea Gems? Having been in business for more than 40 years, we know our market and our customers and give them what they want, but with a personal touch that can come from a family run business. All customers are valuable and we have an experienced team, some of whom have been with us for years, to provide knowledge, support and advice. We have always wanted to give choice and value for money with our products, giving retailers exclusive brands that sell extremely well.This gives them an advantage over the bigger high street shops, offering shoppers something that can’t be found elsewhere. Fairness is also an important value to us and that means being supportive to suppliers, customers and staff who are all a major part of our success. What have been the key milestones in the business? This year, Sea Gems has welcomed a third generation to join the team. My daughter Sofia is now turning her skills to sales, social media and retail within the business. You may have met her at one of the trade shows. We also look forward to celebrating our 50 years in business in a few years! How are you finding the current economic climate in the UK? Is it affecting business? You get the feeling lately that you’re being bombarded by one thing or another that potentially threatens the economy, yet business remains positive and resilient for most.The challenges now come mainly from Brexit and its effects on the weakening pound. Are you active on social media? How is this important for the business? Yes – Facebook and Instagram to support our online trade-only website, which is increasingly becoming our main source of orders from existing and new customers. Social media is another channel of communication to our customers in an unobtrusive way, keeping them informed on new product launches etc. As social media is such a visual form of instantly sharing information we understand the vital importance of good photography. It’s great fun going out on photoshoots around Cornwall with a local model – and with me taking the shots we can get the exact look we want. Which trade shows do you visit and how are these important for the business? Trade shows have always been invaluable for us and we’ve been exhibiting for decades. It’s a chance to meet and interact with new and existing customers and launch our new designs and products. Having a presence at the main shows is still essential. We cover both local shows such as Giving and Living in Exeter, to Harrogate and Scotland’s Trade Fair. Spring and Autumn Fairs are a must. The shows are all about communication, we don’t like hard sales tactics, we want to find out about our customer’s needs and provide them with the right products. It’s great to meet people face to face. Trade shows should still be an integral part of the retailer’s annual diary and now more than ever. I see them as essential in finding new products and suppliers, yet it’s plain to see that footfall at all the trade shows is slowing down. Do you have any tips for new traders? Keep moving with the times, be original and edgy.The public’s buying habits have changed and their expectations too. Invest time, energy and money into great displays and lighting. Visit trade shows to find one- of-a-kind products. What can we expect in the future from Sea Gems? From a customer service point of view, we’ll continue to invest and improve in our trade website making it as easy and simple as possible to order and view new product ranges, with a ‘little and often’ ordering policy. We’ll keep our brands fresh and up to date with re-branding schemes and the product design will always be innovative and creative. We have lots of exciting plans… so watch this space! For further information, visit the website or call +44 (0)1736 335 840 ATTIRE 39 COMPANY PROFILE