VOHS: Cupitt Jeweller
Name: Asa Cupitt, Cupitt Jeweller
Year established: 1946
Number of staff: 7
What’s the history of Cupitt Jeweller?
Claude Cupitt started the business in Bromsgrove, in 1946. When he retired in 1979 his son Jim took over the business with his wife Sue. They relocated the shop to its current location at Beech Tree House. Jim was a passionate jeweller who had graduated from the Birmingham School of Jewellery with exceptional grades. In 1987 he was the founder member of the National Association of Goldsmith’s Registered Valuer Scheme. In 1996 Jim and Sue’s son, Simon, joined the business as an apprentice. Simon and I took over the running of the family business in 2012. Sadly, Simon was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease and passed away the following year, at just 43 years of age. I inherited the business and discovered I had an important decision to make. I was suddenly a single mother of two young children and although I had worked alongside Simon, my role had been mainly administrative and part-time, working around the needs of the children. I had little professional knowledge of the retail jewellery industry.
I thought about selling or closing the business but could not ignore its strong heritage and local reputation. I decided to forge ahead but felt the time was right to take the shop in a new direction. I embarked on a two-year refurbishment programme – out with the old, in with the new. I reopened the on-site workshop which had been closed for many years. I moved the office upstairs and converted the downstairs space into a specialist weddings and commissions room. I introduced a fresh brand identity, launched a new website and embraced social media as an important channel for communicating with customers.
You were recently shortlisted in the Midlands Family Business Awards, how does it feel to be recognised for your work?
In September I found out I was a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year category – it was truly one of those ‘wow’ moments. I think the judges recognised the importance of the decision I had made when I inherited the shop. Giving the business a completely new look and feel was a very brave decision which could easily have backfired – long standing customers don’t always welcome change. However, I took the risk and we didn’t lose any of our loyal customers and have actually attracted many new ones.
What type of jewellery do you sell?
As part of rejuvenating the business I reassessed our product range. We now sell top end items as well as more affordable contemporary jewellery, which has helped attract new, younger customers. I am also keen to support the new generation of British and European designers and stock bold pieces inspired by nature and organic form.
The company celebrated its 70th anniversary in June, how much of a milestone is that for an independent jeweller?
70 years is a tremendous milestone for any business, particularly in the luxury retail sector. Times of economic upheaval can be really tough. Thankfully Cupitt Jeweller has survived despite some tricky trading conditions over the years. We celebrated the 70th anniversary in June and there were three generations of the Cupitt family at the party. It was a very proud moment for all of us.
You also design your own jewellery ranges – tell us about those?
We launched ‘Northern Lights’ as part of our anniversary celebrations. It is a stunning collection of 10 different styles of platinum and diamond solitaire engagement rings, which were designed at Cupitt’s workshop and cast in Birmingham. The collection allows customers to use our app to create their own special ring, reflecting their personal choice of style and budget. During a private consultation they choose the design and stone. The ring is then made to order.
Where do you see the company in, say, five years?
After an incredibly intense three years I am now focusing on moving the business forward with the aim of opening another store, whilst ensuring the original shop continues to flourish through new ranges of jewellery and specialising in commissions. It is nice to finally start looking forward.