LONDON, September 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
JewelStreet.com, the leading online jewellery marketplace, has had quite a September. The fledgling North Devon company, launched just a year ago, received a national industry award and has now confirmed they have received £140,000 of grant funding which will help grow the team to more than 30 people.
JewelStreet is the brainchild of three businessmen from very different backgrounds who met in their children's school playground in Devon; Mike Taylor (last apprentice to be trained by the Queen's goldsmiths), ex-Saatchi's advertising whizz, Rob Passmore, and e-commerce brain (ex-Disney and UBS) Andy Jones. They all have children at Instow Primary School in North Devon and together identified several major flaws in the existing provision for online jewellery shopping. They recognised that by combining their skills they could create an online marketplace, exclusively selling jewellery, which would benefit the consumer and the designer whilst offering a broad range of pieces and high quality. And so JewelStreet was born.
The concept of JewelStreet is beautiful in its simplicity. JewelStreet exhibits quality-vetted jewellery in their online marketplace and customers can buy it direct from the designer. This creates a consistent, safe, streamlined purchasing experience from a diverse pool of designers and products. Designers, who typically see only 40% through traditional retail channels, are thrilled to get double (a full 80%) of the retail price by selling direct via JewelStreet. They get their own branded store on JewelStreet, manage their products and prices with no start-up fees and deliver the goods direct to the customer, free of charge via special delivery. JewelStreet manages the marketing and handles transactions and order processing.
JewelStreet.com launched in September 2012, and immediately got off to a flying start. By its first Birthday, the company had created an online marketplace that is home to over 200 leading designers and brands, each of whom has been awarded the (now coveted) JewelStreet Quality Accreditation. In June, the team was awarded national recognition in the form of listing in the Professional Jewellers' Hot 100 list. Known as the 'Jewellery Oscars', the Hot 100 List contains the 100 leading individuals within the jewellery industry who have shown exceptional business prowess, product innovation or a progressive attitude towards jewellery retail, design, development or branding. The JewelStreet founders were delighted to be listed as 'trailblazers'.
With recognition from jewellery designers and brands, consumers and the industry, it seemed that things couldn't get better for the JewelStreet team. That was, until they were informed that JewelStreet had won a £140,000 grant from the Plymouth University and Western Morning News Regional Growth Fund*. The grant will help JewelStreet to hire 28 new staff over the next 2 years, fulfilling the fund's aim to create local, quality jobs in the South West and to stimulate economic growth.
Bill Martin, Editor of the Western Morning News & Vice-Chair Funds Steering Group added, "The Steering Group considered this to be a compelling bid in support of a project with the potential to deliver substantial impact in terms of the number and quality of jobs created and to do so at a low cost to the Fund, representing good value for money. It was also recognised that the job creation would occur in an area of relative economic deprivation and this was regarded as a powerful additional outcome of the investment."
Rob Passmore added, "What a September! To gain a place in the Hot 100 in our first year of operation and to then secure £140k of grant funding is both humbling and very exciting. We are thrilled that this will help us to build the team and marketing efforts to support the fabulous jewellery designers and brands on JewelStreet."
Sarah Ho, an award-winning jewellery designer added, "JewelStreet is stylish and chic, easy to navigate, and achieves the objective of showcasing jewellery but has a 'surprise' fashion element in the "inspire" section."
Gary Williams, Chairman of the British Jewellery Association added, "JewelStreet is a fantastic way for the public to find and buy from a vast range of quality assured designers. We are excited the industry and backers have given JewelStreet such a warm reception."
Outstanding customer service, supporting jewellery designers and brands and providing much needed jobs in an area where career options are limited, appear to be all in a day's work for these innovators in selling jewellery direct. With such a year tucked under their belt, the jewellery industry's eyes will be on these trailblazers to see what they achieve in their second year.
About The Regional Growth Fund
*The Government's Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a £2.6 billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2016. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment. The first three rounds will generate over £13 billion of private sector investment and create or safeguard over 500,000 jobs. The fourth round of RGF will make a further £350 million available in the pot and bidding has now closed. For more information please go to: http://www.gov.uk/understanding-the-regional-growth-fund