Jewellery business looks ahead with new mindset after SSG advice

A jewellery business is looking to the future with greater clarity and confidence following specialist advice from Warwickshire County Council's Survive, Sustain and Grow programme.

The SSG programme was launched by the council in October to help businesses assess the impact of the pandemic and identify areas of growth and opportunity.

Camilla Jones Jewellery engaged with the programme's consultants after the restrictions of the first lockdown left the business unable to meet the high demand for their product.

At their elegant Victorian shop and workshop in Alcester, Camilla and Ben Jones sell UK-designed jewellery, curated antiques and handmade pieces created on site. They buy and recycle precious metals and gemstones and turn them into bespoke pieces created by their inhouse team.

During the first lockdown they found that requests for bespoke jewellery exceeded capacity when their design/makers team had to be furloughed due to the inability to socially distance. The business was in the hugely frustrating position of being overwhelmed by customer demand with no way of meeting it.

There were also longer-term concerns. The owners plan to expand the business, including creating of an own-brand jewellery range and delivering training to provide a pipeline of skilled silversmiths into the industry. But none of this seemed achievable as Camilla and Ben were too involved with day-to-day tasks.

SSG's consultants got to work to reorder and refocus the business. Their recommendations included: creation of job descriptions for each role within the business; assessment of all tasks to give an understanding of who is best placed to complete them; ascertaining whether training is required.

By identifying tasks which others could take over from Camilla and Ben, time was created for the owners to spend the time necessary for their strategic growth plans.

To have such plans in place has never been more important as businesses grapple with the challenges of the pandemic now and prepare for life post-COVID.

 “The Survive, Sustain and Grow program was excellent and very welcome in the current climate," said Camilla. "The in-depth support allowed us to evaluate different options on how best to develop the business going forward.

"It instilled in us a mindset of being able to remove emotion from commercial decisions which is so important to do. ”

Alice Stanek, WCC Retail Consultant said:  “The Retail sector has been the worst hit through the pandemic crisis and Camilla Jones has been no exception. During these times, all businesses need access to up-to-the-minute proactive advice and solutions to enable them to thrive. It has been pleasing to engage and provide such support to the client through the County Council’s SSG programme.”  

SSG Lead Consultant Jagdish Soor added: "The retail sector has been going through tremendous changes since March 2020 and Warwickshire County Council will continue to do all it can to support retailers and all businesses.

"The Survive, Sustain and Grow program is an important strand of that support with its in-depth, bespoke guidance for each individual business. It is very pleasing that it is has been instrumental in helping retailers like Camilla Jones to continue trading through these unprecedented times and plan for the future.”

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