Location: Clerkenwell, London
Number of staff: 10
Tell me about the history of EC One?
E.C.One is celebrating its 21st birthday this month. We started in an old butchers shop in a rundown street in Clerkenwell. Over the past two decades, Alison and I have been on a rollercoaster ride, opening stores in Notting Hill and Chiswick, winning awards and working with fantastic designers. However, we have come back to what we really love; making bespoke pieces and showcasing talented designers from our Exmouth Market store.
Talk me through your jewellery range?
We carefully choose designer makers whose work we admire often with a gentle fashion-focus and an emphasis on handmade. We avoid the usual brands – as our customers aren’t looking for a high-street type purchase. A large part of what we show is made by us in-house as we have a team of goldsmiths and a workshop situated in the store. However because of the workshop a significant part of the business is around one-off bespoke pieces.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
I still love meeting couples who have just got engaged. It’s such a privilege to be part of their journey and meet them at this exciting time. We will usually sit with them and talk through what styles they like and then set to work making something unique that represents them. I still get a buzz when they collect the finished piece and (hopefully) we have got it right.
What are some of the recent challenges the business has had to overcome?
That run-down street in Clerkenwell is now ‘prime’ retail and that’s reflected in our rent and rates. Thankfully we have a good relationship with our landlord but retail is tough wherever you are.
What has been your biggest achievement of the year?
I was fortunate to be made a Liveryman at the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. As I had started my apprenticeship with them when I was 16 it was a milestone for me in my journey as a goldsmith and jeweller.
What are your goals for 2019
We have spent a large part of our time this year looking at being more transparent, sustainable and responsible in how we run our business. We want to be only using fairtrade or recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced stones as well as environmentally sustainable practices in our day to day working. It is a huge challenge if it’s done properly, and we recognise it will take time; but for us it’s part of how we want to do business for at least the next 21 years.