What were your highlights for 2018 and what were the most successful collections?
The most successful collection had to be the Welsh Honey Bee. At Christmas we gave away 15,000 as a GWP, this gift had a RRP of £119.
The highlight for me was opening 4 shops in 5 weeks in the lead up to Christmas! These shops have contributed to an additional growth of 15% overall.
Clogau is celebrating its 30th year – congratulations! What does 2019 have in store for you and how do you plan to celebrate this momentous anniversary?
The 30th year anniversary celebrations are well under way, we have launched a collection with a brand new alloy called 1854. It is only available in 18ct and this blend can be found in our bridal products and two beautiful anniversary rings. The colour of the 1854 blend is designed to celebrate the colour of the raw gold in the rock that was found at the Clogau mine. It is not rose or yellow but a colour in between.
What can we expect from Clogau in 2019? Tell us more about your new collections.
This season’s product launch sees nearly 80 new items coming in to the range. A very strong offer in my view and the sales team are excited with it. Sometimes we have to be careful not to let personal taste get in the way and follow themes that are strong and quintessentially Clogau.
You opened a number of new stores and had an extremely successful Christmas trading period in 2018, despite the current retail climate. What do you attribute this to?
At the moment wholesale for us is static, but by opening new stores and creating our own footprint we have been able to increase incremental business.
The tradition for Welsh Gold within the Royal Family continued last year, did you see this have an effect on your brand?
We always try to make the most of any Royal event and the Megan and Harry wedding followed by the birth of Archie has had it’s usual effect. We’re very lucky to have this backstory of generations of the Royal Family using Welsh gold in their wedding rings. We tend to feature more heavily on TV shopping channels and our Windsor stockist, Gatwards, benefited from a now Clogau in-store Boutique.
Where would you say Clogau’s main inspirations are drawn from?
Inspiration always comes from Welsh stories, whether mythical, regional or something connected to the landscape. Wales gives us enough to be inspired by. To add to this, we have the Royal stories told through our relationship with Historical Royal Palaces.
What is it like to run such a successful jewellery business?
I personally don’t think of it as a successful jewellery business, for me it is a lot of fun and it’s a family business.
The growth in the business has come from the people within it, they are Clogau through and through and for that reason we have a very low staff turnover. As you know from company events, most of our team have been with us for a while and make the job worth doing.
2018 saw the re-launch of the Compose Bridal collection – which allows the wearer to create a design personal to them. Have you seen the demand for personalisation increase in recent years?
Personalisation no, customisation yes. We would like to have everything in every store but we have seen examples of how not to do this. With Compose we are able to offer the customer customisation but with parameters. So essentially we allow them to change the colour, diamond, size and metal type (including fairtrade). This means we are offering 60,000 combinatons to the customer with a live price.
2018 also saw you welcoming your retail partners to a series of exclusive training events covering a wide range of topics including visual merchandising and how to sell specific products. Have you seen this reflect in your retailer’s success and will you continue with initiatives such as this?
Everything is booked for next year; the training days across the country are well worth attending if you work on the shop floor selling our jewellery. We also have Celtic Manor booked for our main conference in January next year. This year’s event was incredibly successful with 100% of the audience ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’.
You have been attending IJL for a number of years, what is it about the show you like?
Actually IJL gives me the opportunity to meet everyone in London which isn’t particularly strong for us. You do tend to see the same faces over and over but occasionally we see someone new and a new relationship begins with a customer that perhaps wasn’t even on your radar before.
What is the proudest moment in your jewellery career?
There have been a lot of proud moments but I think it’s probably managing to still grow and become more profitable despite the current climate. Many people have been taken by surprise at our resilience.
Book your FREE ticket to International Jewellery London, 1 – 3 September 2019, to meet industry-leading exhibitors such as Clogau and many more.