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BATH LIFE AWARDS: WINNER’S PROFILE Fabulous


Managing director Jo Stroud on 10 years in business, and becoming part of the Bath community


How did it feel to win a Bath Life Award? It was fantastic! We still feel like relative newcomers to Bath, having opened in 2010, so it is genuinely fantastic to be recognised. ll


How did you get into jewellery? By chance initially. I had a background in retail and marketing, but not in jewellery. I visited a jewellery store up in the Lake District 10 years ago and came away disappointed by the experience. I felt there was a real gap in the market for a much more relaxed, browseable, fashion-led jewellery retailer, with more emphasis on the customer experience. I opened my first store nine years ago, and now have four stores. ll


What do you think makes Fabulous special? We are 100 per cent focused on seeking out exciting designers and brands that we think our customers will love and then finding interesting and enjoyable ways of engaging with our customers – from simply having a relaxed store environment and being active on social media, to hosting fashion shows and garden parties. We employ friendly people who love talking to customers, and train them in depth to ensure the advice they give is knowledgeable and passionate. ll


Has the business met with your initial expectations?


Yes, very much so. We first opened in Bath in 2010, in a small store in Southgate, and were doing so well within two years that we moved into the much larger premises where we are now, on the corner in Southgate. Pandora was also doing so well for us in Bath that we opened a dedicated Pandora boutique too. ll


How have you made sure targets are met?


Our main focus is on delivering excellent customer service. As long as you get the product right, and great customer service remains your priority, sales will automatically follow. We carry out a lot of marketing activity as well, designed to really engage with women who enjoy fashion and jewellery, and also to remind people that we are here. ll You’re very involved with the community, do you think that’s an important part of local business? I do. We very much feel part of Bath, and have been involved in the big events like Race for Life, the Midnight Walk and Bath in Fashion since we first opened. This year, we have also launched ‘Reloved’, our not-for-profit jewellery upcycling initiative to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign, working with jewellery design students at Bath College, which is a lovely way of us getting even more involved. ll


What are you working on at the moment?


Alex and Ani bangle stack – bangles from £24


Later this year we are launching our very first Fabulous own-brand collection. It’s a sterling silver collection which puts our customers


right at the heart of the design. And ‘Reloved’ will keep us busy, as more donations of old and broken jewellery pour in. We also have some really exciting new brands launching, some of which we are the sole UK stockist for, so continuing to develop our offering in Bath is a key focus for me. ll


What’s your favourite collection at the moment? Alex and Ani is the new US collection that we launched in January, with stacking bangles made from recycled brass, all imbued with positive meanings and messages. We have all become a bit addicted to it – I have over half a dozen already! ll


What’s been your highlight? All of it, to be honest. Owning your own business simply doesn’t feel like work. It’s certainly been stressful at times, with major commitments on things like rent and rates, and having to trade through tough economic times, but the upsides far outweigh the downsides, and I still absolutely love it every day, almost 10 years in. ll


What advice would you give to someone looking to get into jewellery?


It’s a highly competitive business, so have a very clear proposition for your product or service. Many of the new ‘big ideas’ in jewellery aren’t coming out of the UK, which is really disappointing so I would urge young British designers to be much more bold and ambitious in their ideas, and to really develop a ‘concept’ rather than just creating designs. For more www.fabulouscollections.co.uk


Jo with buyer Sinade Prosser


BusinessInsider


Business Foodie


The Shirley Kelly, owner of Aria


Lingerie on George Street, shares two favourite local eateries


LA PERLA GENUINE WARMTH


This is a favourite of ours when we just want to catch up with mates over a meal. They do a fantastic paella and the team create a relaxed atmosphere. The service also has a genuine warmth which brings us back again and again. www.la-perla.co.uk


Be sure to try the paella


THE CIRCUS CLEAN, FRESH COOKING


This is my all-time favourite restaurant in Bath. I love both the fish and meat dishes – all locally sourced where possible. The cooking is clean and fresh every time, and our meals have always been spot-on. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the service is friendly and unobtrusive – a perfect combination in my eyes.


www.thecircuscafeandrestaurant. co.uk


Shirley enjoys the relaxed atmosphere


www.mediaclash.co.uk Bath Life 91


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