How We Built a
Contemporary Jewellery Business
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
We are Abby Kaye and Katherine Blacker and we run Kiki Zaza, a contemporary jewellery retailer selling exquisite classic and modern designs using semi-precious gemstones at a very reasonable price point. Prices range from £10-£150 putting this in the accessible and everyday jewellery bracket. At the moment we have no further employees.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
Both of us have run other businesses in the past. I (Katherine) ran, for many years, a successful event catering business and Abby imported beautiful vintage Indian furniture. It was on a once in a lifetime cycling holiday in India that the idea for Kiki Zaza was born. We met many super talented jewellers in Jaipur, and our eyes were opened to the idea that stunning, simple, everyday, contemporary jewellery needn’t cost the earth.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
All the usual challenges presented themselves during the setup of the business. It was financed through savings. A lot of thought and planning went into the website and how best to present the photography. The tone of voice and feel of the brand was extremely important. And how to get the word out there and how to market the jewellery. The initial strategy was to go to as many independent shopping fairs and to build a social media presence on Instagram.
Who is your target market?
The price point of the jewellery is from £10 to £150, for ear studs to very decorative necklaces. This, in a way, determines the market. The designs are, to some degree, ageless and classic, so the customers span quite a wide age gap. The brand is more aimed at those who appreciate classic beauty and whose budget is limited, be they aged 18 or 40. Overall though it is a younger brand, and aims to have a fun, fresh approach.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
The main push in marketing has been through Instagram. It is a slow burn, but it helps to establish the brand and gives a clear sense of style. Traditional advertising and pay-per-click adverts are beyond our budget at the moment.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
All customers are contacted post-sale for a review. This is vital in building trust with new clientele. More and more we are seeing repeat custom which is very rewarding and attests to the quality of the product. At this stage, it would seem that 35% of customers make a second order.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
We work from home. We intend to have fun, enjoy ourselves – that is rule number one!
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
Stock management and ordering has been a complex challenge. We probably ordered too much of certain product lines before establishing a sales pattern. Gradually we are getting on top of this.
One of the issues with jewellery, particularly rings, is that there are so many sizes so knowing which to stock has been to some extent a bit hit and miss. As a consequence, we now have quite a lot of stock of rings that sell very slowly simply because they are of unpopular sizes.
Managing stock levels for a new business is always tough because you need to have enough stock to make yourselves look like a grown-up business but at the same time, there are obvious budgetary restrictions. Another aspect to this is that a large part of our jewellery is crafted in India and of course lead times can be quite long leading to stockouts and overstocks.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
We love the freedom that being an entrepreneur provides and we also love the thrill of the chase.
What is your least favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Totally unpredictable revenue, and occasional worry that we have got it all wrong. But you have to believe in what you set out to do, and follow a consistent path.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
We love the new entrepreneurial podcast Hope and Patience.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
One or two more employees, though still small and neat. We should have a team of young, enthusiastic sellers travelling and generating sales around the UK. And 20,000+ followers on Instagram.