As more and more of us are choosing to save time and money by shopping online – a report by the Centre for Retail Research says the rise in online sales is expected to account for 21.5% of all retail sales by 2018 – a Shropshire-based jeweller has joined the ranks of savvy entrepreneurs who are harnessing the power of the internet to grow their businesses.
Anne Reeves Jewellery, which specialises in individually handcrafted solid silver jewellery and gifts, saw turnover double in 2012 after setting up an e-commerce website and developing relationships with online marketplace retailers. Sales via Notonthehighstreet.com are running at £60,000 a year and, after broadening the range of items available through Amazon, the firm has seen orders rocket from two per month to one a day.
Ten years ago Shrewsbury businesswoman Anne Reeves gave up life on road as a stationery sales rep to raise a family and has turned what started out as a hobby into a thriving business with a loyal customer base throughout the UK and overseas. She is convinced that recent business growth is a direct result of her decision to invest in online retailing.
“The latest collections have gone down a storm and I’m not only buzzing with ideas for new designs, but am also excited about using online marketing to engage with people looking for that special gift for a loved one or choosing a small treat for themselves,” says Anne.
“The internet plays a vital role in my business because as well as opening up new opportunities, the flexibility and control it brings have enabled me to achieve a positive work/life balance.”
After the birth of the first of her two boys, Anne signed up for a couple of short taster courses in silversmithing “for something to do”. However, she has always had a creative streak and quickly became hooked, teaching herself new techniques as she made bracelets, earrings and pendants for family and friends and sold items at Shropshire craft fairs. Exhibiting at events most weekends helped Anne to make a name for herself, but she was enjoying less time at home with her family and so decided to explore opportunities to grow her business via the internet.
Investment in the e-commerce website www.annereevesjewellery.co.uk, which has recently undergone a major makeover, is really paying dividends and, thanks to a social media marketing campaign, Anne is attracting a growing community of fans online as more people discover her unique silver jewellery and giftware. Anne Reeves Jewellery already employs a part-time assistant and as business booms Anne plans to recruit another team member to help with day-to-day administration so that she can devote her energies to designing new collections.