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Voice on the High Street – Adam Jacobs

Name: Adam Jacobs, Jacobs the Jewellers

Location: Reading

Year established: 1948

Number of staff: 9

Website: www.jacobsthejewellers.com

When was Jacobs the Jewellers founded?

In 1948 Douglas and Jean Jacobs opened ‘Douglas Jacobs’ on the King’s Road in Reading, initially selling a hand-picked selection of second hand silver and jewellery. They developed the business together for over 15 years, with my father Ian taking over in 1966. Ian and later his wife Adrienne looked after the business. I joined in 2003.

What type of jewellery do you sell?

We sell what most people call ‘fine jewellery’ – so upper-middle range diamond, coloured gemstone and gold pieces. We have a selection of secondhand pieces too. What I think is quite unusual about us is the breadth of styles. We have some very traditional pieces, like classic gold earrings or formal signet rings through to very contemporary ceramic or fashion gold and gemstone jewellery, reflecting our customer mix. Over and above this, we offer in-house design and commission through our CAD-trained team and a full repair service with an in-house workshop. And IRV standard valuations too – you could say almost a ‘full jewellery service’ shop.

What makes you stand out from your competitors?

I always read these answers and think ‘snap’ however I do think we, alongside many independent retailers overlap in this regard. We are passionate about our customers and put them at the heart of the business. Be it maintaining consistently exceptional service through training or scouring trade fairs for an interesting and hand-picked range we’re constantly thinking ‘what would our customers want?’. We’re deeply ingrained in Reading through our charity work and partnerships with other local businesses, so I believe we have a genuine connection with our customers and their families. I’m really proud of our successful fusion of old values with modern practice.

How has trading been over the last 12 months or so?

It was tough but solid. We’ve had one of those years where influences outside our control impacted us. Six months of roadworks and scaffolding on our road was never going to be conducive to a stellar year and so it proved.

You run an annual design competition for young jewellers, how important is it to support the next generation?

It’s really important, tying into the ‘stand-out’ question previously. The kind of jewellery we like, and which becomes cherished, isn’t cookie cutter/sausage machine made. Communicating this to our customers is a consistent theme: time, skill and craft all underpin this. Our competition supports young jewellers’ careers, our regional arts offering and brings another ‘independent being different equals good’ message to our customers. We’re delighted to work with the Bishopsland Trust, The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths and HS Walsh who are exceptionally supportive partners.

What’s the next step for the company?

Next year is our 70th year in business so we’ve got some exciting, imaginative and striking plans ahead. I’ll keep them under wraps though if you don’t mind.

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