Having exhibited at IJL for an incredible 20 years, Unique & Co. is a must-visit for sterling silver jewellery, men’s jewellery and, now, beautiful 9ct yellow gold designs.
Here, Daniel Ozel, founder and director of Unique & Co., shares his secrets to success, details about the not-to-be-missed 9ct gold range and insights into a business that continues to grow year-on-year.
You’ve grown with IJL over the last 20 years – what has kept you coming back and how has your business changed in that time?
This is our 20th consecutive year at IJL. Back in 1999 we started with a tiny 7.5 sqm. stand. I remember we were one of the first companies to launch stainless steel jewellery. People laughed at us and said steel is more for the kitchen than jewellery, but we were confident in our products and had seen a trend growing for the metal in Germany. We stood firm and believed in the business.
This was the foundation of a business that has grown over the last two decades and is now recognised in the industry for great value, good quality men’s and women’s jewellery in sterling silver, leathers, and of course, steel.
As our business has grown, so has our presence at IJL and we now have one of the biggest stands. We work in partnership with over 750 accounts in the UK market. Many of these are from the very early days, which makes us really proud.
We’ve always found that IJL is an important destination in the buying calendar for our retailers as it’s perfectly timed for Christmas business. This has made it a key show for us throughout our 20 years and it’s an important venue to meet both new and existing customers.
What will you be doing this year to celebrate your 20-year anniversary?
We are really excited to be launching our first 9ct gold collection this year as part of our birthday celebrations. We designed it to offer beautiful quality, branded gold jewellery at an accessible price point (RRP £45- £219) This is something that we are known and trusted for in our silver collections and we wanted to bring this to a product category that we feel is needed in the market and will sell well for our retailers.
We are also launching more new styles than we have ever done before in both our women’s silver and men’s collections to increase the breadth of these product categories for our customers.
Visitors will also benefit from our special anniversary promotions and offers as a way to say thank you to them for their support over the last 20 years.
What can you tell us about your new POS display and packaging?
We wanted to raise the brand profile of Unique & Co. to our end customer to help support the sales of our retailers. We listened to what our retailers needed and we created a POS that has a bigger and stronger brand presence but is also more modular and flexible to fit with the different types of display our retailers have. Our new hinged boxes are also used as a feature in the POS display to support the branding and have a wonderful premium quality to them.
You have made significant investments in branding, photoshoots and marketing materials – how has this benefited Unique & Co.?
Our investment into branding began three years ago. It is an area of the business that we are fully committed to and we have seen the success of this investment through the raised profile of our brand and increased sales for our retailers.
The style of our branding has changed with trends over the years but our core values remain the same. We are all excited by this year’s campaign. It has a fresh, new feeling to it to resonate with our customers.
Aside from the 9ct gold range, what can you tell us about the new products you will be launching at IJL?
This year, we will showcase extensions to our range of men’s gunmetal and vintage brushed finishes. We noticed a trend for smaller items in sterling silver, so we have created some lovely women’s jewellery styles in brushed silver. Plus we have more entry level ladies’ leather wristwear starting at RRP £19.
The current retail climate is challenging – what do you think can be done to alleviate this?
The most important thing is to be proactive. We look for ways to help and support our retailers and the successful ones are those that are also proactive. I think it is also important that retailers find their market niche and look to brands and products that are profitable for them and not so heavily focused on bigger name brands that are often in competition with them through their own stores and e-commerce sites.
Marketing is such an important area to our business and so important in this current climate. We’ve recognised the importance of branding to support both the growth of the brand and the sales of our independent retailers.
Do you think more retailers should be investing in the men’s jewellery category?
Yes definitely! We have been growing this product category with our retailers a lot over the last few years and are probably one of the market leaders. It’s great to have this recognised in the industry by winning the ‘Best Men’s Collection’ award from Professional Jeweller magazine over the last consecutive two years.
I think retailers would benefit a great deal by giving men’s jewellery more space and attention in their stores. There is a lot of potential for growth in this segment and it is one of the fastest growing product categories when done right. It’s also a great opportunity for retailers to differentiate from their competition. Plus, by attracting more men to their shops, retailers will also profit from an uplift in gifting sales in ladies’ jewellery.
Don’t forget to say hello to the Unique & Co. team at IJL, from September 2-4 2018. Find them on Stand F60.