“I was hopeful, but you really never know,” Gary Ingram says. “It’s always a surprise to be nominated.”
We’re at TheDiamondStore’s headquarters, the place where the magic happens. In the interview hot seat is the man behind it all, Gary Ingram, the online jeweller’s CEO and founder. We’re discussing their recent announcement as one of the UK Jewellery Awards 2015 nominees – and some very exciting new jewellery items.
So you’ve won the Awards twice now? In 2014 and 2013?
Ingram: – Yes. That’s why it’s such an honour to be shortlisted again. A lot of time and effort went into putting our entry together again this year.
How does it feel?
Ingram: – Fantastic! For me it’s a sign that all the things we’re doing in the online jewellery arena and the sheer hard work the team has put in are being recognised.
How would winning the award for a third time affect you?
Ingram: – (smiles) It would be quite something. To our knowledge no one has ever won the UK Jewellery Awards three times running. So to score a hat trick, it’s going to be really hard as there are some serious contenders. All I know is that we’ve really worked hard and done our best this year.
What did the judges love most about TheDiamondStore at last year’s Awards?
Ingram: – Last year and there were several things… but the one they were most impressed with were our HD videos and images that we produce for our customers, to give a real sense of the jewellery items we offer.
Going back, when did TDS first launch? Can you tell us a bit about the early days?
Ingram: – I can still remember the first piece of jewellery we sold. It was a pair of diamond stud earrings. That was when we launched in 2006. Of course we had plans and ideas, but the reality is that when you get your first order, you go, ok what do we do with it now? So we emailed our customer, packaged the earrings and let them know the tracking number of the delivery. Every system since then, we’ve tailor made to fit our business as we’ve grown.
So how much has TDS grown since then? How have things changed?
Ingram: – Off the scale, there’s no comparison. One thing we’ve been very good at has been making sure we can always supply the jewellery we offer on our website. Of course there’s so much more we’ve done, but that’s the key factor. Otherwise we couldn’t have grown as much as we have.
What’s the best part about running an online jewellery store?
Ingram: – I didn’t know this when I started, but the best part for me is that nearly every item we sell is for what we call landmark occasions; anniversaries, birth of a child, engagements. When I stop and think about that, I’m always awed. We get to play such an important role in our customers’ biggest occasions.
What do you think your clients value most about your business?
Ingram: – Ultimately I think our customers really sense that we do everything in our power to ensure the gift they’re buying is the very best one. They also trust what we’re selling them is of a really high quality. And that they’ve made a huge saving compared to the high street.
What’s new in jewellery for you this year? What’s your favourite piece?
Ingram: – Bridal sets and really substantial engagement rings, with more diamonds going down the shoulders of the band and more diamonds clustered or arranged in a “halo” around the solitaire. We’ve also introduced a stunning new collection of yellow diamond jewellery. These are the biggest things right now.
My favourite piece? Our “Kate Middleton ring”, a sapphire and diamond cluster ring. Actually, we were already selling it before Kate and William got engaged, but now its popularity has gone through the roof. It’s beautiful, really high quality. We’ve never had anyone say they don’t like that ring.
What kind of jewellery ideas would you love to realise in the future?
Ingram: – What I really want is for our customers to be able to custom build their own rings. Choosing their own gold type, diamond type, gem type. And a few other things that I can’t reveal right now… watch this space!
We will! Congratulations again and good luck at the Awards!
Ingram: – Thank you. We’re waiting with bated breath, really looking forward to the big night!