Andrew Geoghegan is an award winning fine jeweller and founder of the AG brand, renowned for its innovative and meticulously designed jewellery which is regarded amongst the best in the UK.
Nurturing a childhood fascination for forging and manipulating metal, Andrew studied 3D design at the University of Central Lancashire where his passion for creating jewellery was realised. His interest in stone setting and unique philosophy of jewellery design has helped to develop AG into the success that it is today
Reaching finalist for 'Designer of the Year' 2005 and 2007 alongside the Platinum Innovation award helped to firmly secure Andrew Geoghegan as a tour de force in UK jewellery design and manufacture. Andrew says, “I see each jewellery creation as a sculpture where each view of the piece must be considered, balanced and beautiful.”
The tips that follow are not just about designing but more concerned with running a jewellery design and manufacture company. Naturally, these alone will not get you by but you may find them helpful.
1. Three words have always been rattling around in my head since I started my company – Quality, Quality and Quality. There have been times when we have not hit the mark but these mistakes have been learnt from. One jeweller said to me one day “make sure that the job you are doing is better than the last one.” These words have helped me develop my pieces to an extraordinary level of perfection. But ‘quality’ must be prevalent in every facet of your business, not just the finish or setting of your creations. From the photography you take of your pieces down to the way you answer the phone. In this industry in which service has become incredibly important, customers can drop you like a burnt sausage at a BBQ. So put yourself in the customers shoes and think how you would want to be treated or serviced.
2. I have a small team that work for me including goldsmiths, stone setters, marketeers (if that’s a word), administrators etc. It took me a while to find these guys but I am pleased to say that they work their socks off for me and they understand the quality I require. I have come to realise that it is important to challenge my team and also, as much as possible listen to their expertise. Challenge them in a way that makes them think outside the box or develop a new setting technique for example. Get them involved so as they really appreciate they are making worthwhile contribution to the business. Where possible give them some breathing space or some ‘experimental’ time to come up with something new and innovative.
3. This one is pretty obvious but coming from someone who is somewhat addicted to his passion it is important I stress this; TAKE TIME OFF! I made a decision to take January off a good few years ago – “bully for you” I hear you scream! This has proved to be essential for me as it gives me chance to not think about crown angles or who to tweet – in fact, it actually gives me a chance not to think!
4. I am going to use the M word now and it is something that I only recently, really started to understand how to do effectively. Marketing. Now this word is not just about the adverts you place in a magazine, it covers everything you do when communicating (or trying to) with your customers. Even something as small as your answer machine message is all part of marketing. The vastness and detail of the M word is far too much to go into at any great depth in this instance. But, one great piece of advice that has helped my business no end is the following; Have multiple methods of communicating with your customers. For example, one of the main ways that we attempted to connect and engage with the end consumer was by entering awards and then press releasing when/if we won. Now this did work but we relied very heavily on it and believe it or not we didn’t always win! So we decided to add a few more into the mix; Email newsletters, postcards, competitions with magazines, general press releases, blogging, Twitter, Facebook and the list goes on. Yes it takes time and money but we multiplied our ‘connections’ with our customers exponentially. We monitor which ones are working and drop or tweak the ones that do not. And the great thing is that it rather splendid fun what what!
5. Talking of fun, my final point would be to ‘Do what you love’. This may surprise you if I tell you that I love creating stone set rings – it is like I see it as a micro engineering challenge – how am I going to set a stone in an artistic, practical, durable and beautiful way? When you love something you get good at it and the process can become very natural. If your don’t then the job or task becomes forced and this can affect the results. I am not saying that you have to love every part of your job, but ensure that the things you enjoy feature heavily in your working day. Apart from sleeping.