Voice On The Highstreet

Voice on the High Street – EH Warford

We spoke with Carl Tomkinson of EH Warford to find out more about his Bexhill-on-sea jewellery business

Tell us about the history of EH Warford

EH Warford is an independent family-run jewellers dating back to 1969; we are a husband-and-wife team and now in our 12th year of running this successful high street jewellery shop.

The business was first established by three young local jewellers selling mainly second-hand pieces. The shop was sold on in 1992 and then again to us in 2004. The business was and still is renowned for excellent customer service, selling good quality jewellery, watches and professional repair service. In fact we still use some of the same suppliers used from the original owners. We even have retained most of the original traditional fixtures and fittings.

You offer a bespoke design service, does that help you to stand out from your competitors?

We are fortunate to have our workshop on site and this allows us to offer not only day-to-day customer repairs but also bespoke items. Alongside our repair services, we offer a bespoke jewellery design service, and are able to re-make a piece of jewellery or create a new specifically designed piece of custom jewellery. This service enhances our reputation and we are fortunate to have many customers returning with family and friends to make and design their treasured pieces. Our bespoke design service and in house goldsmith are an extremely important part of our business and offer customers a totally personal shopping experience time after time.

How important is customer service as an independent jeweller?

Customer service is paramount to the success of any independent business. This is most certainly true for independent jewellers who deal with some of the most treasured and valuable possessions that the customers own. The service received from entry to departure will generally dictate whether the customer will return and also recommend you to other prospective customers. This is now even more critical with the onset of social media whereby local people are enquiring for recommendations for jewellers for a specific requirement.

How do you build long-lasting relationships with your customers?

Communication and trust are built from exceptional customer service and this is something we strive to do on a daily basis. We are a small independent family-owned and run jewellers and an important part of the community. This enables us to establish strong long-lasting relationships with our customers. We never underestimate how important each and every purchase made by our customer is, and give the same high level of excellent customer service irrespective of the item or enquiry. We have built up a strong loyal customer base through honesty and caring for them in happy times and sad ones. Without them we would not be trading so they are given the utmost respect. A number of customers have now become close friends to our family.

How do you harness the power of the internet?

We have a web presence and monitor trends via local and social media. The internet has opened up new avenues and lines of communication which we utilise to its fullest extent. Strong brands are now a part of life and we embrace them within our shop to complement the needs of our customer profile. Reading magazines and e-mail alerts are essential to keep us up to date with trends and allow us to adapt our offer both in store and online.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start in the industry?

The more knowledge you can gain the more confident and able you will be to develop and progress within this wonderful industry. There is so much to learn in this ever changing trade. So make sure you listen and read what you can. Try to attain qualifications and be patient. You need to be honest and enthusiastic about the item or service you are selling.

Always treat customers and colleagues with respect and most of all have fun and smile.

Where do you seen the business in two years?

Our success is down to our customer service and our impressive range of new and secondhand pieces. We intend to continually build on these and introduce new brands that fit into our portfolio. Our repairs and bespoke service is growing yearly and we are making plans to launch promotions to ensure current and prospective customers are aware of the breadth of service we offer. Wedding rings are a key part of our business and we are continually building the offer to meet the forever changing needs of the customer. The future is promising and I for one am relishing the opportunities ahead.

This article first appeared in the September 2015 issue of Jewellery Focus

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Alessandro Carrara

Alessandro is a trained journalist just getting started in the writing arena. He’s madly obsessed with Japanese culture, a passionate reader and adores niche video games. When he isn't getting sore thumbs from playing classic Nintendo games, he’s working as an editorial assistant for Mulberry Publications. Feel free to drop him a line with any story ideas.

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