Q&A: Henry Deakin on new collections and Deakin & Francis’ 230th anniversary

Q&A: Henry Deakin on new collections and Deakin & Francis’ 230th anniversary

Now in its 230th year, Deakin & Francis continues to impress its customers with imaginative collections, quality craftsmanship and an innovative approach to design.

Its emphasis on brand awareness in recent years has brought the company’s heritage into sharper focus, with managing director, Henry Deakin, predicting that 2016 is a year of exciting changes and growth for the business.

Here, Henry Deakin explains the brand’s new collections and highlights why he has chosen a more prominent stand at this year’s IJL…

Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about the new Fundamentals collection and how that has been received by your retail partners and customers?

HD: Our new Fundamentals collection has been developed, designed and crafted in truly innovative ways. You will find pieces that have been CAD manufactured and milled from individual pieces of metal, pieces that have been precision engineered and pieces that have been made using CAD assembly.
Split into five categories, the range offers something for everyone. From classic, timeless pieces with matching dress studs to quirky cufflinks through to highly engineered, mechanical designs that will amaze and astonish.

The Mechanicals category has been particularly well received. Inspired by everything that powers our world, from engines and cogs to motors and pumps, these are beautifully engineered. Our Sopwith Propeller cufflinks, for example, are made from aircraft grade aluminium. With internal ball bearings, the black cooling blades move as the highly polished blades spin around.

Even the rivets and joining panels have been laser detailed to the highest precision. Every detail is perfected and considered. Available in a range of finishes, at some very accessible price points, the feedback to date has been amazing.

Q: What have been your best-selling designs in recent months?

HD: We really do have such a diverse range, there is a design, style and price point for every taste and budget so we really do sell a complete mix of designs. We have been selling some super classic looks (RRP £75 – £150) – with Fundamentals receiving a lot of fantastic feedback and showing that stockists will restock when they sell product as it turns quickly and is a lot of fun – through to some super cool pieces (RRP £375+). However, we also sold a platinum, pave set of skull cufflinks for £13,000!

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Owl cufflinks from the Fundamentals collection

Q: You’ve added necklaces and rings to your women’s offer, how do you see this side of Deakin & Francis developing in the future?

HD: Women’s accessories have been a part of our collection for a while now – with a range of Sterling Silver rings and pendants that are complementary to our cufflinks. Cufflinks are without doubt the mainstay of Deakin & Francis – but we are always thinking ahead to our next design – so who knows where this might lead. We are all about continuing to design and make beautiful jewellery.

Q: What are your experiences of exhibiting at IJL and what are your impressions of the show?

HD: We have been exhibiting at IJL for over 30 years now so we see the show as a very valuable one to the industry – it’s a great way for us to showcase our complete collection and allows retailers to see everything in one place. It’s also a great chance to meet new retailers and see what is going on in the wider jewellery industry.

Q: What will you be presenting at this year’s show at Olympia Grand?

HD: We will be showcasing our innovative new Fundamentals collection. Plus we will have our core collection of sterling silver and gold cufflinks on display, together with our range of accessories – including some of our beautiful crystal glass decanters – it’s a great way to show retailers the whole collection in one go.

This year is also our impressive 230th anniversary – founded in 1786 – my brother James and I are immensely proud of our anniversary and the values and techniques installed by our ancestors. With the Fundamentals launch, as well as our luxurious new look book, we have also moved stands to a new prime position – so we are inviting retailers to come along and visit us at this year’s IJL to help us celebrate.

Q: What are your business aims for 2016 and beyond?

HD: In the past the company supplied some of the most famous, high-end jewellers without our name appearing on the product or box. We felt our heritage and quality meant we needed to address that. Now, our name appears on everything and we feel we are a desired brand – we are immensely proud of that. So plans for the next year are to continue to deliver a number one service, design and make beautiful jewellery and continue to grow the Deakin & Francis brand here in the UK and internationally.

2016 is a very special year for us, we are grateful to everyone who has supported us along the way. We want to continue to grow and seek new retail partners and support them. 2016 has already got off to a fantastic start, but we are planning on making this year a legendary year, so watch this space to see what else we have ‘up our sleeves!’

Henry and James Deakin
Henry Deakin (left) and James Deakin of Deakin & Francis.

Discover more about Deakin & Francis at IJL 2016 from 4th-6th September at Stand C01

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