How to shine brightly in a competitive industry

Seizing an opportunity to stand out from a crowd isn’t easy. It takes an excellent eye for detail and a great deal of creativity, agility and hard graft. Especially in the well-established jewellery and luxury goods markets.

But winning a share of these sectors is certainly worth vying for. The luxury goods market is worth £32bn to the UK economy and it employs 113,000 people.

Because of its established customer base, its pool of creative talent, and the heritage of many British brands, the UK is a natural hotbed for companies selling and manufacturing high-end goods.

This week the 100 Stories of Growth campaign is shining a spotlight on two SMEs from that specialise in jewellery and luxury goods. Their passion, commitment to excellence and innovative ideas helped them to carve their own niches in the competitive sector.


Rachel Jackson London: designs on A-list celebrities

Founder Rachel Jackson has built a celebrity-endorsed jewellery brand with a £1m turnover while making a living from her passion.

Her entrepreneurial fairy tale-like story has been created with hard toil. Jackson found her true calling during a trip to Brazil in 2009. But before she secured a first retail deal, she’d spent two years doing a full-time job in the music industry while running her Sunday stall at Spitalfields Market in London.

I was working seven days a week. Running the stall was hard physical work with pretty rotten conditions.

Setting up the business completely solo, Jackson got used to being involved in every single decision. As the company grew, so did the extent of her responsibilities. But she wouldn’t take her foot off the pedal.

A turning point for the business and Jackson personally came when the company was selected for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses mini MBA mentoring programme. She realised she had to give up some responsibilities to let the company carry on growing.

Jackson appointed a new MD and stepped back to indulge in her true passion of design as creative director.

Today, Rachel Jackson employs a team of 10, collaborates with 70 retail partners while its turnover has been growing 11% year on year. [Read Rachel Jackson London’s story]


Xupes showcases pre-owned luxury collectables

From a vintage Picasso drawing to Cartier earrings. Family business Xupes has sold pre-owned luxury goods worth an impressive £26m.

In 2009, father and son, Frank and Joseph McKenzie spotted the flaws of the luxury collectable market and snapped the opportunity to perfect it. With quality, trust and exceptional attention to detail at the heart of their business, Xupes has sold 12,000 luxury items and its customer retention rate is 30%.

Being the best requires a blue-ribbon team. The McKenzies employ 37 specialists with wide-ranging expertise who help select items of outstanding quality and build customers’ trust and rapport.

To accelerate Xupes’ scaling ambitions, the company took £3m of investment from Downing Ventures in 2017. The money helped the company acquire more stock and expand its team of experts. Joseph McKenzie explains:

They joined us when we were trying to find an investor who shared our vision and understood our business.

Right now, Xupes generates a healthy £8.7m turnover, but Joseph McKenzie is adamant about scaling the business to even headier heights. To achieve his ambitions, the company will have to invest more in goods which requires more financial capital. [Read Xupes’ story]


Join the 100 Stories of Growth campaign as we continue to explore how fast-growth companies are using financial, human, intellectual and emotional capital to successfully scale.
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