HOT 100 2013: Dominic and Melanie Wakefield

Bringing Rolex into Wakefields has without doubt been the biggest change our business has ever seen,” says Melanie Wakefield, one half of the sibling pair that owns Wakefields Jewellers in Horsham that, after 102 years in the trade, embarked on its first sales of the marquee brand this year.

She continues: “The change has not only been physical, with the building of the Rolex room, but lifting our game in terms of product knowledge and customer service. We have always been hot on these topics but selling luxury without discount is now something we excel at.”

Brother Dominic agrees. “It’s raised our game,” he says. “We’ve had a fantastic year with double-digit growth year on year. It has helped us to bring new customers to the shop from further afield.”

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And he notes that this helps to develop the rest of the retail business too, kind of like a virtuous circle – better stock means better customers means more better stock, and so on onwards and upwards. The duo – who also own a Pandora store in Brighton – are now looking to refit more areas of the store.

You really do get the impression that the whole operation has taken a quantum leap forward. But it has been challenging. The investment was a big one and that made cash flow harder than ever and security is an issue that has demanded thought and spend but, as Melanie says, the short term is challenging but the long-term view is positive.

She adds: “I believe we are one of only two Rolex accounts opened in the last few years, but I don’t think we charmed Rolex. We were very much ourselves. We are a family business, whose team shares our values, not a faceless multiple with a remote manager, so maybe that helped.”

Perhaps most heart-warmingly the duo tells us that after visiting numerous Rolex boutiques and stockists, other Rolex retailers were happy to share their experiences and figures, proving what a helpful and friendly industry we work in.

And now the business is in the position to choose its brands, the duo pledge to do so carefully, no doubt maintaining an upward trajectory. The decision making, at least, will be easy. “Ah, siblings,” says Melanie. “Dominic and I work very well together. The best thing is the total trust we have in each other. The only drawback of sharing an office is listening to the cricket commentary in the summer… boring!”

And if she needs to find him after work, she knows where to go – the local snooker hall, where Dominic’s league-winning team will be practising.

The Retail Titans category was sponsored by Bremont.

To see the full digital version of the WatchPro Hot 100, click here. http://www.watchpro.com/emagazines/w_106.php

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