Directors Susana and David Heard started Palenque Jewellery in a small gallery-style shop on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile in October 1992.
The idea for Palenque can be traced back to the period when the pair first met in Chiapas Mexico, where Susana originates. At the same time as meeting his future wife, David was also introduced to a rich culture and tradition in the production and selling of hand crafted jewellery, gifts and accessories.
As the relationship blossomed, the pair eventually moved to Edinburgh and decided to start a business by importing sample orders of silver and costume jewellery. On arrival they identified a small gift shop to offer their products for wholesale. It was well located in a row of largely empty, but refurbished retail units in the middle of a succession of streets known as the Royal Mile. The business was run by a Chilean lady and her daughter and after a period of time Susana and David decided to purchase the shop from the previous owner.
David explained that the name Palenque was chosen “after much deliberation and attempted dissuasion”, and he notes “to this day not many can pronounce it properly”. Palenque is the name given to the Mayan archaeological site in Chiapas, nestled in the mountains, shrouded emerald green forests, and was one of the first places the couple visited when they first met.
David added that ethnically named businesses were also “very much in vogue” at the time and the logo was designed in keeping with the Mayan theme.
Fast forward and Palenque has established an additional site in Edinburgh as well as a third store in York. The Edinburgh Royal Mile store has since benefitted from refurbishment in 2015, which has led the business to experience “healthy and encouraging growth in turnover” since, despite the retail environment be so challenging.
Palenque also saw its “strongest summer and best ever August this year”, which David puts down to “having great products, new collections that are exclusive, appealing and compliment the fashion of the day, good quality and excellent value for money”.
Today, Susana is focused on designing and curating a unique, wide and varied collection of silver jewellery, while David leads on business administration and management. Looking ahead the future goals for the business he explained are to “maintain stable and strong performance in store and online” and to expand into wholesale for its most sort after collections.