Attire Accessories - Feb/Mar 2018 (Issue 68)

104 ATTIRE New BEGINNINGS Anna Emmett, Founder and Owner of jewellery brand and retailer Henryka, discusses the company’s decision to stay ahead of the game with a recent overhaul of both its brand and boutique Tell me about your background in jewellery before the launch of Henryka. I am a creative person at heart and it was always my ambition to express myself in an artistic way. My first love was painting with oils on canvas, but in later years I began to channel this artistic streak into jewellery. Henryka developed naturally from this and was given its own distinctive personality thanks to my passion for Baltic amber. When did you open the own-brand store and why did you decide to launch the boutique – how important is the location? I established Henryka in 2006. From the moment my husband and I established the company we wanted to do things differently. We have always been inspired by the traditional arts and crafts aesthetic, with an emphasis on natural gemstones such as amber and pearls. Our collections are themed around nature – from bees and birds to flowers and leaves – and we knew we needed to communicate this vision to customers. As a result, we opened the Henryka own-brand boutique in 2010. Hereford is my home, so opening the business on Widemarsh Street in the town centre felt natural. Since then, we have established a strong presence in the region with lots of loyal customers. As we stepped into wholesale in 2016, we have found that our bricks-and-mortar business has been an asset. It allows us to test new ranges, gather feedback from our regular customers and test pricing structures. Overall, Henryka wouldn’t be the same without the store. What challenges were overcome when the company was starting out? We had no experience in retail, so we had to learn everything by trial and error. Another big challenge was defining the goals of our business and what we wanted to achieve. We knew we couldn’t rely on passion alone, which is why we spent hours planning our route to market and growth strategy. We also started our retail business in 2010, right in the depths of an economic recession – this certainly didn’t make our lives easier! How are you different to similar competitors in the industry? We have always been proud of our niche aesthetic. Our jewellery follows the traditional arts and crafts feel, with sterling silver and natural gemstones. We’ve always had a fondness for amber and some of our best-selling pieces, such as the Kingfisher Pendant, blend amber, turquoise and sterling silver. We are unique in the jewellery industry for our jewellery design, bohemian brand story, colour scheme and wholesale operation.This has created a great recipe for success, and I believe it is why we have grown so quickly since rebranding. Our designs don’t follow seasonal fashion trends, but we have introduced more sterling silver ranges to appeal to younger consumers. We’ve also had great success with our ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ Collection – it seems UK retailers love British wildlife just as much as we do! Why did you decide to rebrand your own-brand store? We made the decision to step into the wholesale arena in 2016, which forced us to confront our image. We opted to completely transform our brand identity. We started the process by gathering customer feedback and asking ourselves some hard questions. We knew we had to change our image to be more relevant, but it still wasn’t easy to let go of our old ways.The process of rebranding is one of stepping back and letting those with fresh eyes get involved – this is one of the reasons why we outsourced some aspects of our identity overhaul. Fortunately, the results of our brand makeover and the corresponding store overhaul have paid off and business is growing fast. Since the start of 2017 we have opened more than 50 new trade accounts and joined the Company of Master Jewellers. Last year taught us some incredibly valuable lessons about our business, our customers and the wholesale market in general. Our store is 540 sqft, so we needed to maximise space and create something welcoming and open. We hired a London- based interior designer to achieve the look we were after, drawing inspiration from boutiques in the capital. Our store is now lighter, brighter and filled with our new brand colours: bold orange and black. We also made the decision to keep our cabinets entirely open. Pieces aren’t housed behind glass or locked away in cabinets. Despite the risks of theft, we have found this has led