Tell us a bit about your store and how you came to open the business. I had been trading for many years through fairs and various market stalls and my sister, who owned the restaurant next door to my shop, let me know that it was available to rent and I jumped at the chance to finally have a fixed address – and also to work next door to her!
Is the location important to the success of your store? Our shop is on one of the oldest garden squares in London and, whilst not on the high street, it is a frequently used walk through up to the high street. We are in such a beautiful spot and I think customers like us being this hidden gem they have chanced upon.
What challenges were overcome when the company was starting out? I opened the shop in 2009 as recession hit and was regularly told that I was mad to be opening at such a time – the business has withstood that, COVID, and is still trading 14 years on.
What is your customer base? We have a very loyal local customer base and many international customers who return year after year when they come to London to visit. We also have a steadily growing online customer base which is really exciting to see after all our hard work re-designing our website.
What's your USP? Our colourful, handcrafted gemstone jewellery – most of which is unique and one-of-a-kind.
What are your current bestselling lines? Our customers love our one-of-a-kind gemstone rings and polki diamond ranges.
Are you active on social media, and how do you use it for your business? We are trying to be more active and we have engaged an agency for the last six months to help us with this. I am a bit of a dinosaur and didn't grow up with social media, so am trying to slowly find my way with this.
How often do you change up your window dressings and displays? We change our window display every week. Even during COVID, when we were closed, we did this and it was amazing the amount of people who said they would do their daily walk just to come and have a look and how much pleasure it gave them.
What are your plans to do develop your online presence? We have recently updated our website and have a team working on creating current content and SEO. We have also developed a trade website and are still ironing out a few glitches before we promote this more. Over the last year we have spent a huge amount of time and effort on this – the amount of work this all takes is incredible.
Do you attend any trade shows and if so, which ones and why? We used to regularly attend the UK trade shows and shows like IJL were brilliant for us. We really hope for a better offering of shows for us to attend that can represent businesses like ours and until then have taken time out to develop our online presence.
What has been your standout moment since opening the store, and why? The constant loyalty and support of our customers means everything. I had an American customer in a couple of weeks ago that had first purchased from me from a stall on Portobello Road and she had tracked down the shop 10 years later to come and buy again – she's still storing my business card in her purse after all that time.
How do you view the retail market at present, and what advice would you give other retailers? It is very up and down and unpredictable and there are so many stresses and strains to contend with. I look forward to having some kind of rhythm back again. I think we all just have to hold on, stay true to what we do and be as creative as we can with engaging our customers to purchase from us and stay loyal.
What are your plans for the future? We are about to completely refurbish the shop, and this should be completed by early Autumn. After 14 years of wear and tear it really needs it and I can't wait to show you the finished results.
T: +44 (0)20 7937 9735