\r\n\r\nWhat is your history in the industry?\r\n\r\nI have been in the industry for over 27 years, having held various roles across the sector and within Laings itself - from shop floor to operations management.\r\n\r\nMy career in the jewellery and watch sector started in 1995 with Ernest Jones, before moving to Mappin and Webb as an assistant manager in Edinburgh. During this time, I was able to lead the opening of the Old Course Hotel showroom in St. Andrew\u2019s which gave me a glimpse into the luxury market.\u00a0\r\n\r\nFrom there, I was able to start my journey with Laings in 2006 as an assistant manager at the old Fredrick Street location before relocating to Laings Cardiff as the general manager where I gained a wealth of customer service experience. I re-joined the Laings team in Edinburgh in 2019 from Fraser Hart Jewellers, taking over management of the watch gallery, before becoming Laings Edinburgh manager.\r\n\r\nIn October last year, I moved into a new role as head of retail where I led our team through the first stages of our multi-layer expansion project. I'll continue to lead the next phase of development as I join the board as retail director, supporting Laings\u2019 growth with our extensive transformation plans being rolled out.\r\n\r\nWhat responsibilities will your new role at Laings include?\r\n\r\nIn the role of retail director, I\u2019m responsible for all of the online and offline retail operations at Laings, including the day-to-day management of the showrooms located across the UK \u2013 in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Southampton and Cardiff - as well as our first mono-brand showroom with OMEGA which opened just last month in Wales.\u00a0\r\n\r\nI will have strategic oversight of the retail side of the business, continuing to work alongside our partners and brands to redefine a luxury retail experience, ensuring there is a continued level of exceptional service while driving footfall to our locations and elevating the client experience. I\u2019ll also be working closely with the board to help shape the success of our new Laings flagship showroom, set to open in Glasgow later this year.\r\n\r\nWhat do you hope to achieve in your new role, and what is your vision for the business?\r\n\r\nHaving worked across various roles in the jewellery and watch industry, I can now offer my passion and expertise to the board to bring best practice, together with Laings\u2019 esteemed heritage to truly exceed client expectations.\r\n\r\nAs Laings continues to progress its retail strategy, with many exciting projects in the works, it\u2019s a fantastic opportunity for me to help lead this next phase, bringing innovation into every area of the business while driving footfall and overall performance.\u00a0\r\n\r\nHow do you plan to increase footfall and elevate client experience?\r\n\r\nLaings offers a carefully curated selection of fine jewellery and luxury watches from some of the world\u2019s most prestigious brands, as well as bespoke design and repair services by the in-house team of master watchmakers, goldsmiths and jewellery designers; and we pride ourselves on the exceptional service and customer experience we offer.\r\n\r\nAs we look to enhance this client journey, we\u2019re investing in our workshops to offer our clients a more immersive experience. For the first time, we\u2019ll be drawing back the curtain on the crafts involved, allowing our clients to join our craftspeople to see their artistry in motion as they bring bespoke designs to life and carry out skilled services.\u00a0\r\n\r\nHow does Laings plan to challenge jewellery and watchmaking retail experiences?\r\n\r\nWe\u2019re embarking on a journey of evolution to challenge jewellery and watchmaking retail experiences by bringing innovation to every area of the business, while never forgetting the deep-rooted heritage that anchors the Laings story. We believe that providing an immersive experience is vital and that\u2019s why we ensure our clients are taken on a journey into the world of Laings, allowing them to see the intricacies of our service first-hand.\u00a0\r\n\r\nHow do you plan to support the jewellers\u2019 growth?\r\n\r\nAs we continue to roll out the expansion plan, I\u2019ll be working alongside our managing director, Stuart McDowell, and sales director, Richard Laing, as well as feeding into the wider business operations.\r\n\r\nA key focus for us is delivering an unparalleled service, and I\u2019ll be working to ensure best practice is prevalent throughout the business. We now have a 10-strong board of directors and I believe, together, we will continue to make great strides in our ambition.\r\n\r\nWhat does Laings\u2019 \u00a310m multi-layer expansion project entail?\r\n\r\nWe announced our ambitious multi-layer expansion plan in 2021, outlining plans to strengthen our presence across the UK.\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe first in a series of transformations was unveiled in the autumn as we tripled the size of the Laings Cardiff showroom, introducing Swiss watch brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe to our Welsh clientele for the first time. This was followed by the launch of our first mono-brand boutique with OMEGA in Wales, and most recently, we\u2019ve announced plans to transform a landmark five-storey building in Glasgow into our new flagship location.\r\n\r\nBut a key aim of this investment is to attract talent to the industry as we recruit across all areas of the business.\u00a0\r\n\r\nWork is already underway to expand our aspirational workspaces for our designers, watchmakers and goldsmiths to offer opportunities in locations where there have previously been less positions available, while inspiring the next generation of talent to train in the field.\u00a0\r\n\r\nWhat is the next phase of development for Laings?\r\n\r\nWe recently signed a 15-year lease to take over Rowan House, the landmark B-listed building on Glasgow\u2019s Buchanan Street - the centrepiece of our investment project.\r\n\r\nWe plan to revitalise the 19th century retail and office development to build on the workspaces for our growing team of craftspeople and enhance the overall retail experience. We\u2019ll be bringing Laings to the forefront while creating unique, immersive experiences for our clients, delivering a new retail format that captures the imagination of our clients and further enhances the luxury shopping experience.\r\n\r\nWhat is next for Laings, and where do you see the business in three years\u2019 time?\r\n\r\nAs a business, we want to continue to build on our legacy as a leading destination for luxury jewellery and watches by investing in our future. Our company-wide commitment is to nurture talent in the industry, ensuring traditional artisan crafts are kept alive for generations to come. With our multi-layer expansion strategy in place, we\u2019re looking forward to showing our continued commitment to our partners and the cities we operate in.