How we're adapting in changing times…
Darwin said we need to ‘adapt to survive’ didn’t he?
I want Basingstoke to still have a brilliant independent jewellers at the end of this corona virus crisis, so how we survive with a closed shop and almost no obvious demand for our jewellery and services?
Everything needs to change… but how do we do that without changing what’s at the core of what we love doing, that personal contact, empthay and #sharingthesparkle?
That’s quite a challenge. Here’s how we’ve approached it…
1. DOORSTEP REPAIR COLLECTION & DELIVERY SERVICE
People’s jewellery means so much to them and when it needs fixing or doesn’t fit anymore it does have an emotional impact. We wanted to be able to continue to offer our repair service so with a couple of our trusted goldsmiths working from home anyway we can come to you and collect your jewellery and deliver it back when it’s finished.
Lots of businesses have struggled with finding that their supply chain has closed down. this has been a great opptunitiy to find new suppliers, mainly sole traders that work from home, are super keen to help and keep donig business. We now have a wonderful new setter for exmaple; he’s been trained to the highest standards and is supper efficient and keen to please - that’s exactly what we need inorder to dleiver on our high standards too.
As lockdown is easing we’re now able to take in repairs at our shop, The Cottage at the Viables Craft Centre in Basingstoke, we’re donig this ‘by appointment’ so we can control numbers and manage contact and hygene procedures. It’s worknig really well.
I see us continuing to offer our Doorstep Repair Collection & Deliver Service beyond Covid though; there are always gonig to be people that will struggle tro get to us, sao let’s go to them and offer the best service we can!
2. remote design consultations
Special life events such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries don’t just disappear because we’re in ‘lockdown’, in fact they arguably mean more during these tough times. Using video calling applications such as Zoom or What’s app we can go through the same process as we would in the shop; still seeing and understanding emotional drivers, your taste, show you examples, draw sketches and advise on technical options.
3. our whole shop is now online
It might sound obvious but putting all of our physical shop stock online is a ‘no-brainer’ but we hadn’t done it before. Normally we don’t have the time or resources to do this well, photographing each piece and writing descriptions for the online store has been a massive undertaking but it’s been so worthwhile.
4. remote afternoon tea design experience!
Our Afternoon Tea Design Experiences have always been wonderful ways for family members to get together and share the stories behind the pieces of jewellery. We’ve been finding this is even more special during the lockdown period as loved ones are separated - they really value having a reason to share old memories and perhaps discuss having new ones made.
5. create a unique nhs angel collection
When Boris Johnson came out of hopsital and personally thanked the two nurses Jenny McGee and Luis Pitarma for their during his time in intensive care I had a really clear image of an angel design come into my head.
It’s actually a design idea I’ve had for a few years now, but have never got round to sketching it out and having it made. Now seemed like the perfect time! Our talented goldsmith Behzad has created a gorgeous collection of little angels using the lost wax method by carving the design out of wax and then casting it in sand clay.
We’ve been taking orders on our website and have sent two to No. 10 Downing Street for Boris to gift to Jenny and Luis along with a clear message to our Government: in this nation of shop keppers and manufacturers, small businesses are donig what they can to keep things going.
6. children’s design competition
Helping people, especially children, understand how you can turn an idea into reality is a really passion of mine. We had our inaugural chiller’s design completion last year and the entries blew us away so we’ve decided to launch a Lockdown Competition - it gives families something creative to do and it’s a lovely way to be part of our wider community.
7. children’s jewellery design tutorials
Sharing our knowledge and expertise is something we can still do and if it helps inspire children and grown ups alike that will be an extra bonus. I recorded a series of video tutorials for an After School Jewellery Design Club and asked friends to share this with their children’s schools too. We were going to go around school assemblies this term to talk about ‘Design & Manufacture’ offering opportunities to design and help make pieces in our workshop - but this is a fabulous alternative.
Case study title
Sharing the Sparkle since 1979
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Established in 1979, Petra Jewellery is an independent family jewellers based in Basingstoke, run by mother/daughter duo Petra and Mitch. We make all our jewellery in the UK and source our stones from only the very best fair trade dealers in Hatton Garden. All Petra wedding rings come with a lifetime guarantee and free annual cleaning.