Businesswoman of the Month – August 15

Kelly Harris – Lavish Lockets

We interviewed Kelly Harris, Director of Lavish Lockets – a company she runs with business partner Jodie Danner.  Kelly is mum to 6 year old Ashleigh and 3 year old Rosalie and Jodie is mum to 5 year old Niamh and 4 month old Esmé.

Would you mind giving us a brief explanation of what your business is and when you launched it?

lavish-lockets

Lavish & Co.Ltd was officially launched April 2013 as Lavish Lockets Ltd.  We changed the name a few months later to incorporate the new designs we were releasing, whilst trademarking our best selling Lavish Lockets along the way.  We specialise in quality personalised jewellery at affordable prices.  Our best seller is the Lavish Locket, a bespoke item of jewellery you build yourself to create a truly unique to you piece.

What do you think it takes to succeed in business?

Drive, determination and ideas – lots and lots of ideas.  You will hear lots of ‘no’s before you hear a yes.  The key is to never give up.  You have to truly believe in your idea otherwise others won’t.

What is the most important lesson you have learnt so far?

That the age old saying is true; as one door closes, another opens.We all have ideas about where we want our business to go but sometimes a path is closed off to you. In time you will realise this was actually a very good thing because it led you somewhere else, somewhere you wouldn’t have gone without a push. Business is very fluid, it changes so fast you have to keep up. Just because one idea doesn’t come to pass doesn’t mean all your other ones won’t.

What do you think it is about you that enabled you to turn an idea into a business?

Curiosity! I am always curious of what will happen if I do this, or that. I like to test the waters with things and see what happens. At first it was never about being at the top or being ultra successful. It was about trying something new and exciting and seeing how far I could get with it. Now having my amazing business partner we love what we do, we get excited about it still and we work incredibly well together.

If you were starting all over again tomorrow, what are the top 3 rules you would follow?

Don’t always accept a no, there’s a time and a place to be gracious in business but sometimes pushing that bit harder for a yes could actually work!

Promote yourself, shout about it from the rooftops.  You have to be heard, there’s a lot of competition out there and make sure people know who you are.

A customers loyalty means the world!  Treat all your customers how you want to be treated.  They will buy from YOU before they buy from the company.

What difficulties did you experience setting up your business and what has got you through the tough times ?

Not being able to get finance.  It took over a year to get finance to be able to expand.  Putting together a business plan and cash forecast was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  My husband was my rock through the initial stages, he still is.  Most of all though it’s my friend and business partner Jodie.  She joined just before the finance came through and invested to start the expansion.  Without her I guarantee you Lavish & Co. wouldn’t be where it is today.  She is truly a remarkable person, I don’t know what I would do without her.  Because of the amount of time we spend together we have started finishing each other’s sentences – we are definitely work wives!

Looking back now, would you have done anything differently?

Probably moved into a premises earlier.  We tried to keep overheads low for as long as we could.  We had two offices at one point, Jodie’s a spare bedroom and mine a converted downstairs toilet – I kid you not!  We ended up getting our first office in April 2014, moving to even bigger premises in October 2014.

Do you have (or did you have) a mentor and when you need advice, who do you talk to?

When I was initially starting to apply for finance the ‘school for start-ups’ in conjunction with ‘launcher loans’ were absolutely wonderful to talk to.  They give no nonsense advice.  If you needed help filling in your business plan or cash forecast they were always willing to offer advice.  We recently met one of the directors at the mumpreneur awards and have to say what they have planned for 2015 is set to help even more people get into business.  Initially it was for anyone under 30.

What are your plans for the future?

We will always be designing new and exciting jewellery, coming up with new ways to keep memories close.  Our emphasis will always be on personalised pieces.  Without giving too much away that’s all I can say but Lavish & Co. has some very exciting things planned for 2015 and beyond.

And, if you don’t mind, do you have any specific tips for anyone wanting to start a bespoke jewellery business?

Be different, whether that’s the way you sell, your service, your look – stand out from the crowd.  Competition is rife in the jewellery business so you need to make sure you are recognised.  Your branding is everything.  People need to recognise you instantly and once they buy from you, treat them right.

Make sure you do your checks, the jewellery laws in the UK are extremely strict, so if you’re buying from abroad, where their laws are different, get your jewellery tested here by UKAS to ensure the levels of nickel and other substances come under the UK laws.  If you are buying from a UK supplier then make sure they have had them tested as they will still be buying from the big manufacturers.  This is extremely important.

Never give up.  If one idea doesn’t work, try another.

And enjoy it.  If you love what you do and you are passionate about it, you’ve cracked it!

STARTING A JEWELLERY BUSINESS

STATISTICS

According to Market Research Leaders & Data Analysts IBIS World :

The jewellery trade has an annual revenue of £5bn
And currently employs around 42,344 people
There are 3,991 jewellery & watch stores in the UK

ESSENTIAL READING

The British Library’s Business & IP Centre has a Jewellery Industry Guide, which lists useful publications on everything from small business help, including how to start and run your own shop, to market research and statistics, trade magazines, directories and other useful resources :
Jewellery Industry Guide

The Birmingham City Council website also has a Trading Standards Guide to Buying or Selling Jewellery
Trading Standards Guide

And for up to date information on hallmarking legislation in the UK, refer toThe Assay Office

Here is their factsheet on selling precious metal jewellery in the UK :
Selling Precious Metal Jewellery In The UK

For further information, see also :
The Princes Trust – Jewellery Business Hints And Tips

Visit the Lavish Lockets website here

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