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“We do very conventional jewelry making right here,” says Sophie Whitehead, workshop supervisor at Shetland Jewelry, “so the entire course of could be very private, and signifies that the jeweller is definitely attending to progress the piece themselves and get the satisfaction from doing that.”
The jewelry producer was based in 1953 by proprietor Jack Rae, initially as Shetland Silvercraft, who began the enterprise on his kitchen desk. Through the years the corporate grew and in 1971 Rae moved it to its present premises in Soundside, Weisdale. Shetland Jewelry now has stockists all through Scotland, in addition to a few in England, two in Germany and one in America, along with its web site which has a worldwide attain.
The producer employs 12 staff in its workshop, and has additionally benefited from a slew of extensions to its constructing over time, together with an growth to its showroom. “We are able to inventory much more jewelry and promote extra jewelry in there,” explains Whitehead, “and since we frequently get loads bus excursions with individuals coming to go to the workshop, we’ve got the house to accommodate them.”
Whitehead says that showroom house is de facto vital for the corporate, primarily as a consequence of a latest increase in tourism within the Shetland isles. She believes that is thanks partly to the latest airing of the Shetland tv collection, which featured on BBC One. Cruise liners which brings vacationer and drop anchor in Lerwick supply a tour across the island within the type of a bus journey, with Shetland Jewelry being one of many essential points of interest on that journey. “Folks get a tour into our workshop to see how every part is being made,” says Whitehead, “and it provides them a little bit of perception into the method, which I feel is de facto good for us and so they can truly perceive what’s concerned within the manufacturing. I feel quite a lot of the time individuals purchase a bit of jewelry and don’t actually take into consideration the way it’s made or the place it comes from.”
Whitehead stated the power of the enterprise additionally lies in the truth that every part in manufactured on the island, and has a ‘made in Shetland’ high quality about it, including that this can be a “good gross sales level for Shetlanders included”.
Whitehead elaborates on how quite a lot of its designs are based mostly on Shetland itself, with its Merry Dancers vary based mostly on the Northern Lights, and a spread based mostly on Shetland’s seascape. Moreover, a number of the firm’s unique items are based mostly on norse mythology, for instance the Three Norns – feminine beings who create and management destiny. The producer nonetheless goals to maintain these conventional parts in its trendy design, strengthening the hyperlink between the jewelry and Shetland and its environment.
Nevertheless, Whitehead goes on to say that adjustments within the commerce have continued to maintain the producer on its toes, with maintaining with bigger retailers, the rise of web procuring and ensuring that it has a gentle movement of attention-grabbing merchandise for stockists fixed hurdles to be overcome.
She expresses concern in how shopper’s shopping for habits have modified, believing procuring on-line has “develop into the norm”. Whitehead reveals the reply to that is about making an attempt to verify Shetland Jewelry has a adequate service in its store, in order that prospects spend cash there versus shopping for it on the internet.
“We clearly have quite a lot of commerce in Shetland,” she provides, “so it’s ensuring we’ve got sufficient new merchandise that individuals are nonetheless wanting to purchase from us, as a substitute of getting the identical objects we’ve got at all times had.” To this finish, Whitehead says the producer comes out with at the least one new vary yearly. “We attempt to have one thing we are able to launch at a crafts honest that takes place on the island in November yearly, in order that we’ve got obtained one thing new in time for Christmas.”
Moreover, Whitehead stresses that the important thing to sustaining a robust relationship with its shoppers is common visits all the way down to the mainland to see stockists and present them the merchandise in individual. “I feel with being remoted it’s tremendous to ship images of bits of jewelry however quite a lot of the time individuals truly wish to see it. There’s something actually tacticle about jewelry and so they like having the ability to really feel the load of it and see that it’s good high quality.”
The producer can also be getting a 3D printer or CAD to make use of sooner or later, including to the centrifugal casting machine it presently personal. Whitehead concludes by saying the aim for the approaching yr is to “to maintain the enterprise going, increasing and competing with an ever-busier market”.