Can you tell us a little about the history of Baileys & Sons?
My great-grandfather founded our family jewellery business in London in 1919. My family then moved to Amersham, where Hewitt’s Jewellers was created. In the 1950’s my grandfather joined the business and later on my father Nigel also did. Bailey & Sons was founded in 1872 by the Bailey Family.
In 1929 Mr Sparkes became a partner in the business and when he sadly died his wife continued with the business until the Hewitts purchased it in 1981. Nigel took on Bailey & Sons with his sales assistant Jane. It was very run-down and he re-energised it turning it into a thriving business.
Two years later the move to the premises where we are now took place. It was closer to the town centre and we built a large extension enabling us to expand our beautiful stock. Jane and Nigel married in 1986, and some years later had my brother and I. We are now a fourth-generation family-run jewellers, something that we are very proud to say.
How do you stand out from your competitors?
As we are one of the longest established shops in the town, customers know who we are. We have one of the best ranges of bespoke fine jewellery in the area which makes us unique. We also have a fantastic range of silver brands, so we have something to suit everyone.
You have been established for 143 years, is this an advantage or is it hard to keep up with modern jewellers?
I see it as an advantage. We have seen the trends change and seen our business grow over the years, so I feel confident we can keep up. It is important though to stay with the times so therefore we are modernising our shop, but keeping our traditional values.
You offer an array of services including repairs. What does this add to the business?
It adds a very personal touch which is important to us. A lot of our customers come in to remake or remodel their jewellery which is sentimental to them. They trust us to look after it and we thoroughly enjoy providing this service.
You are in the process of re-designing your website, how important are online sales?
We prefer our customers to receive a personal sales approach rather than an automated online store. Therefore our new website will showcase our products and allow customers to browse, but it will also allow customers to interact with us directly. We may introduce online sales for branded items in the future.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the jewellery industry?
I think it is important to be passionate, if you have that drive you can achieve anything. I have been lucky enough to have help from my father, so I believe that advice is invaluable.
What does the future hold for Baileys & Sons?
I am very excited to be taking the family business forward this year as my father is retiring. The shop hasn’t been decorated in 32 years so we are having a mini refit to give it a fresh new look, but at the same time we are keeping it traditional as I believe it is important to never lose your identity.