An award-winning Worcester jeweller is celebrating the first year in her new premises following a six-figure investment.
It is 12 months since jewellery designer Anja Potze, who creates bespoke pieces for a wide spectrum of customers, ploughed £224,000 into the purchase of her new premises in the city’s Friar Street.
It is a move, which after 17 years in Worcester, she believes has helped take her business to a ‘whole new level’ despite turbulent times for retailers.
Over the past year Anja has attracted many new customers to her shop at 10 Friar Street who have been drawn by the 43-year-old’s national reputation for designing and retailing tailor-made jewellery.
Anja, who moved from her native Netherlands to England when she was 21 after becoming fully qualified in Amsterdam, has been designing jewellery since she was nine and counts a number of well-known faces as clients. During her career she has designed pieces for the late Baroness Thatcher and spent five years with London-based Asprey & Garrard Group who hold a Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales.
Anja said: “It has been well documented that thousands of retailers have found the past few years tough, particularly those selling luxury items such as jewellery.
But we managed to maintain our loyal customer base.
“However, with one eye on the future, last year I decided to focus my efforts on preparing the business for the years ahead by ensuring I was ready to grasp the opportunities the economic recovery has started to bring.
“Investing substantially in our new premises, concentrating on our bespoke ranges and launching fresh designs formed a major part of that plan. It’s an investment I believe is paying off as over the past 12 months it has provided a platform to lift the business to a whole new level.
“We are welcoming new customers through the doors from across Worcestershire and beyond who recognise that we offer quality jewellery, backed by good customer service, which appeals to all ages, tastes and budgets.
“The reaction and feedback has been fantastic not only from regular customers. Many are people who haven’t been to Worcester previously and go away having fallen in love with the city. That’s a win-win situation for the local economy.”
The investment into the new Worcester shop, where Anja moved to after 17 years in a smaller premises just two doors away, also coincided with her being
named the 2012 UK Innovative Retailer of the Year by prestigious Italian jewellery brand Fope – a brand she stocks alongside Dower & Hall.
Anja added: “As with every major business investment there were risks involved. But we are situated in a fabulous shopping street in the city where it’s clear we, alongside other independent retailers, are bucking the trend of declining town centres.”