Mar 24, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
Dec 27, 2016
Jewellery is having a funny old time of late, if you listen to the headlines ‘Millennials don’t care about engagement and wedding rings’ (they are the overeducated, underemployed generation and so they have a different approach to rings, they are conscious consumers and their changing shopping habits have encouraged brands like De Beers to track their retail and spending behaviour when it comes to jewellery- for our full report on Millennials and Engagement rings, subscribers can head here to WGSN Insight). While on the other side of the argument, DIY, fully customisable and personalised accessories have never been so popular (hello fast fashion iron-on patches, and luxury emoji stickers).
Somewhere in the middle of all that is the emerging jewellery brand SVP Jewellery, set up by former creative director at an advertising agency, Sarah Parham.
Parham realised that there was a growing trend for personalisation in jewellery and she wanted to fix the problem of ring sizes which make it hard for consumers to get the perfect gift for their loved ones (if they don’t know their ring size), and so SVP jewellery was born. The jewellery brand specialises in designing stylish rings to fit any finger.
We caught up with Parham to find out more about the brand, check out our Q&A below:
How did you get your line off the ground:
SVP was a happy accident. My husband was working in India and a woman he employed went back to her home in Jaipur to work in the family jewellery business. When we were travelling in Rajasthan my husband received a call inviting us round for afternoon tea with her parents. The goldsmiths and craftspeople work together in the family home and we were shown around. I was invited to design a ring. I came back to the UK and friends asked if they could have one made – no one knew their finger size so I designed a ring to fit any finger. Retailers saw them and loved the fact that they wouldn’t have to buy the same ring in different sizes and they wouldn’t get left with dead stock. I was so impressed by their ethics and working standards I knew they would be the perfect supplier for the brand. I then set about learning more about working conditions, ethics and the industry as a whole.
What were you doing before you set up SVP Jewellery?
I was a creative director at an advertising agency. I started working in advertising at the age of 19 and have been in the industry all my working life. However, I have always been passionate about fashion and jewellery and used to design and make necklaces out of recycled chandler pieces and vintage beads, I have also designed gloves using the oldest family run factory in Italy.
Was it particularly tricky to set up your own business?
Not really, it just organically happened over the afternoon tea in India, friends not knowing their ring size and retailers loving the fact that the rings fit any finger. I also had a lot of help through Emma Jones at Enterprise Nation and the government’s Growth Accelerator programme which was invaluable and gave me a mentor to help on the business side of the company. So, for me it has been a fairly easy journey so far.
Describe your brand’s USP:
Personalisation is key and at the heart of my brand, our rings feed into this huge, current retail trend for personalisation. You can band and stack our rings any which way you please – the adjustability makes it easy to change your look from day to day depending on your mood, style and outfit. It’s just great to see how people wear our jewellery in different ways. I am quite fickle and love to change how I wear and style my outfits, the adjustable ring is perfect for that. Social media has helped the brand grow too: we use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and we are growing with new followers every day.
You have a huge ethical side to the business, why is that important to you and how is it possible to maintain that?
It took me a year to source and find another company to make SVP rings, I wanted to spread the collections out to different people to give us a broader mix of skills. I visited factories, stone brokers in Jaipur giving only a five minute warning I was visiting so I could see exactly who was working where and what the conditions were like. I spent time with the UK India business council who also helped me find ethical jewellers and craftspeople, that relationship also helped me to find out what problems there are in the industry in India and who to trust. It takes time to build up solid relationships and understand how to do business in India. The next challenge was getting the prices and margins right for wholesale and building up retailers.
What does the future hold?
We currently have around 20 stockists and are concentrating on gaining more accounts including more jewellers. We are also working with an exciting new company called StyleSocial who sell beautiful British brands direct to the consumer through trunk shows and also online
Follow SVP Jewellery on Instagram here to find out more about the brand.
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