Vanessa Burkitt, of Catherine Jones Jewellery in Cambridge, tells Jewellery Focus about her career in the jewellery industry and the joys and challenges of keeping the brand in the family.\r\n\r\nTell us a bit about the history of Catherine Jones Jewellery\r\n\r\nOur business was created in 1963 by a stroke of genius \u2013 what we would, today, call \u2018spotting a gap in the market\u2019. Catherine was looking for an interesting pair of earrings to wear to a smart night out but could find none so she realised: \u2018If I can\u2019t find any, then nor can others\u2019.\r\n\r\nYou have been trading for over 50 years, is it hard to keep the brand within the family?\r\n\r\nBack then, most families had the family doctor, the family lawyer, the family accountant and the family jeweller. The jeweller, then as now, had a style, an individuality, and a record of sustained personal service. This is core to the way we serve our customers. Personal service is different from customer service which has become a generic phrase and loses the personal, human touch. This is part of how we strive to maintain a difference between us and other local jewellery businesses\r\n\r\nIt is easy to talk about a \u2018business\u2019 and a \u2018brand\u2019 in the same breath. They are different things. A \u2018brand\u2019 is a business with an identifiable and definable identity; a business that \u2018curates\u2019 collections to represent a style that is distinctive and stands out from the crowd. Nowadays, the proliferation of modestly-priced jewellery brands promoted by massive marketing budgets means that the individual business has to reinforce its distinctiveness. We have created the Catherine Jones Collection \u2013 jewellery that we sell under our own name and which gives added value to the product.\r\n\r\nWhat has been a major milestone?\r\n\r\nWe are delighted to have created the Golden Jubilee Competition to mark the 50th, Golden, anniversary of our business. As a business that made its name as the first contemporary jewellery retailer in the country it takes us back to our roots where Catherine would support young designer\/makers by buying them metal \u2018to add more substance to their beautiful designs\u2019.\r\n\r\nStudent, Ben Hawkins, was the recent winner of the Catherine Jones debut award, The Golden Jubilee Competition. How important do you think it is to promote upcoming jewellers?\r\n\r\nBen Hawkins is a worthy winner of our competition and we look forward to participating with the Goldsmiths\u2019 Centre, again, for future competitions or other endeavours.\r\n\r\nWhat advice would you give to someone who wanted to start in the jewellery industry?\r\n\r\nJewellery offers not just a job but a career; retail and manufacturing rely on designers, gemologists, metallurgists, bullion dealers and stone dealers (to name but a few) so anyone looking for a career should be aware of the multiplicity of opportunities the jewellery industry offers.\r\n\r\nYou have a strong online presence, do you find that online retail is slowly replacing the traditional bricks-and-mortar store?\r\n\r\nThe most success businesses have a real world and online presence. It\u2019s a fundamental foundation for the future.\r\n\r\nWhat are the future plans for Catherine Jones of Cambridge? \r\n\r\nTo extend and develop our own Catherine Jones Collection and we will have announcements to make on this topic very shortly.