Meet Laura Jo & Adam from Adorn Jewellers
Adorn Jewellers, situated in the heart of the historic Shambles in town, love to offer something different. Their strapline is ‘independent, individual and inspirational jewellery’ and in a nice way … the same can be said of owners Laura Jo and husband Adam, independent, individual, and inspirational people!
I caught up with Laura Jo to discuss life in the Shambles and how they’ve managed to pick up so many awards over the past years.
“We opened our doors in 2010 in the middle of the recession,” Laura Jo opens with. “It was a tough choice, but we thought if we can make it succeed now then the future will be bright.
“I worked in a major jewellery retailer with branches across the UK and people were constantly asking about the pieces I wore at work. I have always sought out independent and unique pieces and it got me thinking. Was there an opening in the market for a shop that bought these fabulous independent makers under one roof?”
Promotion beckoned for Laura Jo, but it was this that lead to the decision to go for it. “I wanted to go it alone so went about finding a number of suppliers whose products felt right to stock. These guys couldn’t sell through larger retailers as they don’t mass produce but their high quality, strong designs and reasonably priced products were spot on.
“We always want to be unique, and we strive to have pieces of jewellery that you’d notice across a room, ‘independent, individual, and inspiring’ pieces for people who want something different.”
Laura Jo and Adam haven’t always been in the jewellery business; they met in Butlins, Skegness - not on holiday but when Laura Jo worked as a Redcoat and Adam was a lighting technician. They both had a desire to travel and see the world, so took a job on Ocean Village Cruises. ‘For people who don’t do cruises’, here they were at their best, making people feel good and entertaining them.
A small green shop front in the Shambles, but with arms that reach across the globe.
“It’s this that’s centred around all the roles,” explains Laura Jo. “In the shop we want people to enjoy their experience, it’s not just about selling a piece of jewellery but about them becoming friends, someone who will call in again and again. Over time we often see generations of families shopping with us as they wear their pieces and news spreads.”
Today Laura Jo and Adam are joined by Gandalf, their Cairn Terrier, whose job title is ‘head of security’!
Laura Jo took me back to their very first day, the worse snow in years fell and they had to dig the shop door out. “Adam was still working in theatre at the time, and I had a bit of a panic, 'what have we done? I thought.' However, we’ve now been in business for 11 years and we are still finding new customers calling in, and our number of loyal customers continues to grow.”
The location was important to them. They sat in coffee shops and cafes and watched how people use the Shambles. It’s a cut through between two busy streets between the High Street with M&S, and down to Central Pavement, a great spot with a high footfall and a strong chance that people will notice their enticing shop window full of glittering jewellery.
I was surprised that they only have about twenty makers who they work with. “We’re quite strict about who we will take pieces from, they really do need to stand out from the crowd,” says Laura Jo. “We need them to be right, we need to get the right reaction to their work, it’s a bit of an art really.”
Adorns jewellery is mainly silver but they do have gold and other precious metals, gemstones include, sapphire, rubies, blue john, agate, labradorite, diamonds and others. “Our jewellery is easy to identify, we get people say it’s like being in a secret club, they spot others wearing pieces and give a casual nod. It’s lovely to know people feel this way about what we do. I feel that every piece we have has an owner, occasionally we get pieces that seem like they’ve been in the showcase for a while, but I don’t worry, it’s just that its owner hasn’t been in yet. These pieces always find an owner in the end.”
So, COVID and lockdown, any comments I ask? “If you look back to my very first Facebook posts they were all text – no images!” laughs Laura Jo. “Since then, things have changed a lot, although we are first and foremost a traditional high street shop and that’s the experience we sell.
“It was a step change in our use of social media through lockdown. We started up our Friday Night Live sessions, 7pm on Facebook we do a 30-minute live video stream and then the same on Instagram. These have been great fun, we talk through our personal jewellery collections, show our new pieces, discuss how to style with your jewellery, last week we cast the next James Bond film after Daniel Craig's last Bond film! It’s a bit of fun that has allowed those customers who often call by the shop just to say hello to stay in touch with us. One customer told me she found the back editions and watched them all … that’s a lot of Laura Jo for anyone!”
“Our online shop features a selection of our pieces and has been busy throughout lockdown, but we always have so much more to offer in store.
“We love it when the guys call in. I like to think they’ve already got it right if they’re in a jewellery shop, they’ve done the research online, selected the right piece for the occasion and are in and out with military precision … almost James Bond like,” Laura Jo adds.
Adorn is a great asset to our town and have won multiple awards from both the Chesterfield Retail Awards and the Derbyshire Times Business Excellence Awards, they are extremely grateful for everyone who voted for and supported them. Laura Jo was keen to point out that it may sound cliched, but it really does mean the world to them, the tears on the award pictures are testament to this!
They are also selling their products across the world. Customers have called in whilst on holiday and continue their relationship with Adorn through the website and social media channels. A small green shop front in the Shambles, but with arms that reach across the globe.
It was clear that the experience is what makes Laura Jo tick. “Recently a customer called in to pick up her wedding rings, she was really looking forward to seeing them and when she did it made the whole wedding seem real after months of planning and dreaming, the emotion flowed,” says Laura Jo. “This is why we do it, it isn’t just jewellery, it’s an emotion, a partnership for life, a new home, a first baby, a special celebration or whatever reason you choose, and that piece will always remind you of that.”
If you’ve never stepped foot in Adorn Jewellers, perhaps it’s time you did. There’s a big day in a couple of months and after a couple of years of uncertainty they have some great pieces to show people how much you care.
Laura Jo adds, “we’re here supporting people through life, some say that when they wear our jewellery, they are putting their armour on.Together we can help each other through the day.” What a great way to think about what you do.
7 Middle Shambles, Chesterfield S40 1PX
Text: Paul Chapman
Images: Adorn Jewellers