Episode #21: Louise Stokes and the fine art of jewellery retail

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What's in episode 21? 

Louise Stokes is the founder of Loulerie, a boutique jewellery store situated in Dublin's city centre. Louise started her journey in New York and in a sliding doors moment ended up working as an intern for a massive jewellery design business.

This podcast episode is a great listen for any business owner who wants to know more about having an online store that compliments your bricks and mortar shop. Louise believes as a business owner you have to be always evolving and looking for adding something new. Loulerie's online store is on the Shopify platform, where Louise loves the ease of being able to manage her business from her phone.

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Episode 21 Milk Bottle Shopify Ecommerce Podcast with Louise Stokes, Loulerie Jewellery

Louise: [00:00:00] So when I moved to New York, I actually worked in French Connection and then I was interviewing for an internship. I had my heart set on it being fashion, but you have to eat in New York, so I got a jewellery internship.

Intro: [00:00:14] Welcome to the Milk Bottle Shopify Ecommerce Podcast brought to you by Milk Bottle Labs, Ireland's top-rated Shopify experts, Milk Bottle Labs, build, upgrade, migrate and market Shopify and Shopify Plus stores all over the world. Milk Bottle will migrate you onto Shopify with zero interruption guaranteed, or optimize your Shopify store and maximize store sales. This podcast is kindly supported by our favourite Shopify app and the only app we install in every store. Rewind.io is the leading backup solution for your Shopify store. We'll talk more about Rewind later now over to your host, founder of Milk Bottle Labs Keith Matthews.

Keith: [00:01:02] Hey folks, thanks again for joining us on the milk bottle shop ecommerce podcast, where we discuss all things e-commerce and Shopify. Today I'm recording in Dublin city just behind the very well known shopping area, Grafton street, and I'm delighted to be joined by a very well known Irish jewellery entrepreneur, and a bricks and mortar retailer and curator, and owner of Loulerie fine jewellery, Louise Stokes.

Louise, how are you?

Louise: [00:01:25] I'm really good. Thank you so much for having me.

Keith: [00:01:27] Great. It's great to have you. You didn't have long to walk, sure you didn't?

Louise: [00:01:30] I Know. This is perfect. Like this is like, like feels like home. I love it around here.

Keith: [00:01:34] So you're probably, what, 500 yards from the shop

Louise: [00:01:36] yep. Yeah. Literally just off Grafton street. So right around from the Westbury hotel, so we're very lucky to have that location.

Keith: [00:01:44] I suppose for our international listeners; Grafton street really is the prime, would it still be the prime retail location?

Louise: [00:01:50] It's probably one of the main shopping streets in Dublin. So we are literally off the side streets. So to be so close, I think we're literally, [00:02:00] a hundred yards off the main shopping street, well in Dublin and in Ireland. So yeah, we're really lucky to have had that it was a total fluke, but I suppose that's, you know, that's how it goes. But yeah, it's, but now the city is really changing and there's a little hub of stores that are kind of collecting together. But it wasn't really like that when I first opened.

Keith: [00:02:21] So you're effectively on a tributary street off Grafton street. So do you get the overflow from the Christmas rush?

Louise: [00:02:28] No you do and you don’t. It's so different in retail because you get all the footfall figures. But you know, we're opposite building works. We've had buildings torn down. We've had rebuilding, we've had a new building going in. We've had paving like last year they paved our street. So you know, in our busiest time in November and December, there was cement outside. So you have all of those things as a deterrence. Like if somebody is walking down the street and they see the building, they actually won't turn.

You know, you can see that it's all to do with parking. So there has been [00:03:00] massive differences over the years. We've seen, like you used to see swarms of people, you know, kind of going off the side streets, but because of our location next to the Westbury and that has been a huge pull for us because that's a really nice, you know, walk by trade for us.

Keith: [00:03:15] Great and you've been there for 12 years

Louise: [00:03:16] Yeh 2007.

Keith: [00:03:18] Wow. That was just the start of the recession.

Louise: [00:03:22] Six months of the crazy pre-recession and then it all hit, so, yeah.

Keith: [00:03:28] Okay. That's great. Well, as I said, look, it's great to have you. I was doing some research and I've heard you on a couple of other interviews and the words girl crush on style crush were used. So,you have certainly created a wonderful reputation and you know, well done on that. And obviously we're in a discussion because we worked together. Peter migrated over to Shopify this year and we’ll get to that later on.

Louise: [00:03:55] Saint Peter. Yes.

Keith: [00:03:57] Saint Peter, Ha! He'll be [00:04:00] impressed by that description.

And so, personally, I think your use of, of digital, your use of social media, your personal branding, and also your, you know, your corporate branding. And I mean, you've taken the leap to sell abroad and obviously Shopify is a big part of that. So we'll talk about that in awhile.

Let's just go back to the start. An internship in New York. Let's just give us some details on how you, how you came across that because I've also heard you say that you're as interested in fashion as interested in jewellery. So a little bit history on that.

Louise: [00:04:36] I always call that my sliding doors moment.

So I was in Trinity doing sociology and philosophy. So obviously I didn't have like a massive career path waiting for me after that. I didn't know, I worked in Brown Thomas. Well through college, worked for Louise Kennedy. So luxury retail. It was my part-time job, so that it was a huge influence on me.

So when I moved to New York, I actually worked in French Connection. And then I was interviewing for an internship. [00:05:00] I had my heart set on at being fashion, but you have to eat in New York. So I got a jewellery internship and on, that's what I mean is the sliding doors, because I had no, I didn't know a Ruby from an Emerald, but been, it's the total gift of the gab, you have to, it's soul-destroying because anyone, anyone I've really admired has lots of bloggers. And the influencers have moved to New York. It's so hard. People don't see that side. You know, you're not known at all. You don't have the connections you have to bang down doors. So the internship I called a Game of Thrones. It was a huge, massive manufacturing company, and they took in 12 interns and you got assigned to a sales team.

And it was just, I mean, it was. Basically everything you need to learn about the jewellery industry in a day to day job, really, really hard, like crazy, like 90 hour weeks. But I then left them after a year and a half. So we had stone sorters, you had salespeople, merchandisers. The buyers were coming in, and I was probably only giving them bagels for breakfast.

Keith: [00:05:55] So you got to see, what we see now [00:06:00] with your successful brand is the front end of it. Okay which is the sexy stuff, but you actually got to see right down to the roots exactly how a jewelry business buys, sells, creates curators and distributes. Is that, would that be correct?

Louise: [00:06:12] Oh yeah. Like from the where are the stone sorters were there, they're washing out castings in the murky water, all that stuff that people don't see. And it literally was hilarious. It was like the below basement. Then it was basement and there was shipping, then there was invoicing, then there were sales. So to have an exposure, now you're an intern and you're invisible.

Okay? So no one even knows who you are, what your name is. But the exposure to that was the foundation for me. For me, what I absolutely loved was this idea that you know, you could create something and in your mind, it goes to CAD, and then you've seen it through the process. And that was, you know, that that sort of sparked my whole love of design on jewellery.

Keith: [00:06:49] It was online selling of jewellery was that, was that prevalent at the time or was that early doors?

Louise: [00:06:54] Super early doors at that time, the basis for any bit. Most businesses and fashion and [00:07:00] jewellery was a multi retail sales channel. So my, we, I worked on the JC penny account, so they had 1500 retail outlets at the time.

We also sell to Walmart. But then we would, you know, the kind of base level. Then there was higher-end retailers as well, like Bloomingdale's. So everything was about getting an, a piece of jewelry into a company with multiple doors. Online didn't even come into it.

Keith: [00:07:27] At what point did you end up getting contact with the Alexis Bittar then?

Louise: Oh so I, that was an intern that, that basically… Alexis Bittar was sold in Brown Thomas. I knew who was selling it. And she was like, and I love the brand. There was amazing. You have to just sent off - I had to send off a letter, I had to write a letter had to put my CV in and, yeah, like actually had to post it and I went intern for him during a show season.

So I did that before I got my other internship and that really opened my eyes because of what I had then was one very [00:08:00] short internship showing me the fashion jewellery side. I had never seen a piece of jewellery made of Lucite that you know, selling for like $500, all of the industry loved him.

He was the booth you couldn't get in. He was busting. So I had that, and then I had my fine jewelry in internship training. So then when it came time to build my brand, I was able to go back to both those people. Your connections you know are key.

Keith: [00:08:25] Okay. And then at what point did you realize then that you were going to focus on jewelry rather than fashion?

Louise: [00:08:32] I mean, I always knew I wanted to have my own business, like the whole way up through college and everything, but I never knew exactly what. Was it going to be fashion, design? You know, what was it going to be? And I suppose it was the exposure, living in New York, working for Alexis as an intern and you know, shopping in the markets, buying my friend's gifts, and they would be like, why those earrings are amazing.

And I was like, Oh, they were 60 bucks. I just saw them. And I thought, hang on this, there's a market here. You know, there was no room for another jeweler that was doing the same as everybody else. [00:09:00] And also it's a very historical, very family orientated business. Generally people's fathers and grandfathers.

I don't have a family history in that. So I knew if I was to do it. I was going to aim at a female customer. I wanted to bring, I wanted to merge my love of fashion with the jewelry. So the edit that I would stock would be from a fashion perspective. You know what people are wearing right now. So that's the focus that we built.

Keith: Does that make it hard? Because then you as Loulerie then have to also keep up with fashion trends, which you'd probably do that naturally. What do you do? You have to watch what the fashion, what fashion lines.

Louise: That's my life I love that. That's like, that's like. Complete, and I mean, that's not, it's not a chore. I adore that.

I drink and breathe and live. Love it. I, I watch what people wear when they get on a plane. It's not even just about catwalks now. I'm not about trends. It's not like, I don't believe in that.

And funny with this whole movement to sustainability, that's what Loulerie was always built on, was that you don't buy 10 of something rubbish. You buy one really good thing. So know that, I suppose the fashion [00:10:00] just informs my aesthetic. But, but every day I'm looking for inspiration.

Keith: [00:10:05] Yeah, that's very good. It's the most interesting point that you just made there, I think is the fact that you didn't have a family in the business that you didn’t…

Louise: [00:10:16] No. And that sort of sets you up. It's not easy to break into jewellery, you know, I had a lot of naysayers, people, now they'll say, it's like, people will come in and be like, what Alexis Bittar is made of lucite?! How can you sell that? And then I stocked Mignonne where Julia Roberts would have worn them.

You know, none of the brands had previously been sold here, so there was a lot of resistance. And why are you doing that and how come you're doing this and who are you and does your dad? One guy said to me, did your dad give you this shop? I took that well, obviously

Keith: [00:10:41] I say you won't forget that person.

Louise: [00:10:44] I don't deal well with that kind of, but it spurs you on. So actually realized, Oh, hang on, this is great. We are now so different. Let's go even more different.

Keith: [00:10:54] But you're also situated right smack, bang, amongst probably the top 10 jewelers in the [00:11:00] city that right?

Louise: [00:11:01] Yep. Yep. It's great.

Keith: [00:11:01] It's great because, you in technology terms, you effectively were a disruptor within the jewellery industry

Louise: [00:11:09] I never thought about it like that, but I always had, I think it's the New York training. You know, I remember moving home and somebody was really like, 'oh and where are you opening and hope you won't take our business?’ And that's, you know, I spent my twenties in New York - business breeds business.

That was my training. It was like competitors, you know, everybody learns from everybody else. There isn't this closed little small mind just there's enough for everybody. You just have to make it. And if you don't make it, well then you know that's on you. And I wasn't gonna be on some like Island on my own. The only jeweller.

Jewellery businesses altogether will only bring more customers and everybody has their own perspective. Like ESL moved to my street a couple of years ago and I was delighted. Deirdre came in. She's actually only one of the other few female owners and, it's brilliant for me because I don't do pearls, or we don't do like the higher end classic pieces. So I send them there. You know, there's a lot of jewelers [00:12:00] around that breeds business, so that's excellent for me.

Keith: [00:12:03] Yeah, it's funny. It's funny that you say that because, within the Shopify community, we are quite helpful amongst each other to our competitors. We're quite happy to share information. I mean, if the tide rises, all the boats will rise, so everybody wins.

Louise: [00:12:16] Well, I, that's definitely my, I mean, that's my philosophy, how I got all my jobs with. Somebody took a little bit of an interest or I got helped, you know? So I feel like you have to pass that back on. It's a big part of my job now, and I manage a team where I have young girls coming in and you know, they don't know where they're going.

Of course. Every one of them leaves to move to New York. So I need to stop with the, I'm telling people that, but you know, I did Going for Growth, which is an amazing community set up by Paula Fitzsimmons on, I got Louise Phelan as my lead. That was a huge influence on me because…

Keith: [00:12:47] That was the enterprise Ireland initiative.

Louise: [00:12:49] Yeah. So, it's Going for Growth and it's for businesses like mine, cause you get caught. There's loads for startups. But there's nothing for growth. So you know, I've been business at that 6 or 7 years, and I remember actually one person [00:13:00] saying to me, but why you doing this? You have a successful business?

Then I was like, no, in my business there is no standing still. You have to be prepared for change. So, and we all sat around and shared all our stories on the knowledge and the empowerment you have from that community is something that has stood to us surviving.

Keith: [00:13:15] Okay. Before we move off the topic of New York, do you miss New York?

Louise: [00:13:19] Oh yeah, of course. I do. My heart stops every time I see it on the movies. Like it's a running joke in my family, but I think it's a certain time in your life. You know, I have two young kids now. I went back for a wedding last year. What I missed, I suppose for me is the mindset and the ‘can do’ attitude and the moving there at 22 and saying, I want to be a rock star.

I want to be this. I want to be that. And people going, yeah, no worries. Like my boss in my last company, Howard, he was a Maverick in the jewellery industry. I walked in so cocky, like 24 I want to be this and I want to be this and I want, you know, I want to have my own accounts and I want to travel.

And he was like, okay, well you do two months and I want to see, and then, and then we'll go from there. And he gave me the accounts. So you know that [00:14:00] attitude where you have a goal, you work really hard people aren't trying to make you think small. That's, that's the freedom I missed.

Keith: [00:14:08] Let's take a short break and I'll share the one app we installed on every Shopify build. The team at Rewind.io have developed the leading backup solution for Shopify. Did you know there is no way of recovering lost data from the Shopify store? Rewind.io automatically backs up your store data in the event of a data loss, usually due to human error. Rewind enables you to rewind your store back to its previous state. It's so simple, and it's used by some of the world's leading Shopify agencies, such as Kurt Elster of Ethercycle and Kelly Vaughn at the Taproom. If your store is gaining traction, you may have multiple users making changes. Often store owners allow theme or app developers enter a store to add code. Sometimes mistakes happen and data gets deleted. You can reduce your business risk today and prevent a costly catastrophe by installing the Rewind.io app on your Shopify store. Get your first month of rewind for free by simply responding to any of the welcome messages or emails you receive after you begin your seven day trial and mentioned this podcast. Now. Back to the interview.

Keith: Yeah. It's the opposite. I'm very lucky actually. I spent quite a bit of time there over the last, I did the J1 over there, and then I spent quite a bit of time with work over there, five years in and out. And, it's an addictive city.

Louise: [00:15:27] Definitely addictive it's the energy and the pulse. Did you find that as well?

Keith: Absolutely. I think it's the 'can do’ you know. They just have this kind of unstoppable ambition, which sometimes I think is, is hard to express here. I think. I think the culture here is changing. I think that technology is driving that.

Keith: [00:15:46] But certainly, you know, regarding Loulerie we're talking about something that was happening in pre 2007, so, I mean, I don't think the culture was, the culture here was very different. Okay. So back in [00:16:00] Ireland, I'm going to ask you a very obvious question. Where does the name come from?

Louise: [00:16:03] Oh, yeah, that's my friend Marie.

That's not me. And no, we were, I was home from New York and I was telling them what I was wanting to do and all my friends call me Lulu and they're like, Oh, you should call it. You are, you should call it jewellery and Lulu. And I was like, why? And then they were like, you know, Lou and jewellery. So yeah, my friend Marie named it.

Keith: [00:16:20] And obviously now you're on Shopify, so you're now using Shopify, I think six months?.

Louise: [00:16:25] Yeh for the second time.

Keith: [00:16:26] Yeah. Let's just, let's just talk about that. So you were actually a Shopify customer five years ago.

Louise: [00:16:31] Yeah, so I probably, I had of all, we were one of the very early, businesses to have an eCommerce site.

So we had it, but it wasn't shoppable. I did all the stupid things, like had dragonflies on my home screen. Cos you think it looks pretty and you realize that nobody cares about that. So we did that. And then I just knew how important it was. I suppose the brands that I do are international and started designed my own line, and I thought, hang on, I really need to look at this.

So we use Shopify, but it would have been maybe four or five years ago. It didn't have what it has [00:17:00] now. And we moved away from that to a bespoke, which was excellent in terms of the beautiful aesthetic that we wanted. But. I suppose in one way it's with technology. I felt like our Instagram was actually better than our website and because we weren't able to change it quick enough, and that's what our business is.

You have to be able to change, you have to update your content so quickly. You have to provide something new, and it has to be done from your phone. I also opened, you know, a second store. We were doing popups and I needed something like my phone is my business, you know, and I cannot tell you how many, how much change it has made in terms of running the business from every side finance. It was Taragh who pushed for Shopify again, because she's our Marketing Manager and she runs the online, but every part of the business has benefited. I love the ching. It's my favorite. My kids are like, how much is that mummy?

Keith: [00:17:52] So for our listeners who don't use Shopify, when you download. The Shopify App, when you get to a sale, what's the sound?

Louise: [00:18:00] Ching! It's the best sound ever

Keith: [00:18:03] As a Shopify merchant, we run our own, we run a few stores of our own, and on a regular basis, my wife will run to the phone to see what value the sales were.

Louise: [00:18:12]Yeah actually, I'm super like nerdy. I love analytics cause I did, , part of that in my degree.So I'll click in, I look at who it is, where they shopped, what they've bought, and have they shopped at this before. You know, like I find that level of knowledge, I think I've had to really change for so long. I just set up a shop. That was what I wanted to do. I didn't realize that I had built a brand. You don't realize until you're in it.

And then with the, with the online, that's why we moved to Shopify. Cause for me, I already see the future. I think there's very much a partnership between, online and bricks and mortar. I think your bricks and mortar has to be extremely experienced based. It has to be very special. That has to be about your relationships. But you cannot do that without an amazing online. I worked the floor yesterday, and that's also an important part of my job, and I'd say 90% of people said, yeah, I was on your website last night. The [00:19:00] two go hand in hand. I think for many years I was like, will I do one or the other? Multiple retail expansion is just not there for me.

I think pop-ups are a fantastic way to do that. But the online and having that access through Shopify. We're packing up tomorrow to go to Cork. We were able to build a third location. We now know where all our stock is at one time. And just the analytics that it gives you. I've begun to, now I realize we knew so much about our customers coming in, bricks and mortar, and that's what we built our brand on. But you can also now do that online and people are expecting you to know that as well.

Keith: [00:19:36] I think with you, it's especially important in the you know, in the, in the space that you're in because your average order value is more than likely going to be higher than the average order value of a non-jewellery store.

A lot of people don't get that. I think what Shopify has done is we talked to a lot of people that have been burned in the past. Yeah. And they've been told that the system can do this and do that, and it hasn't. And they spend [00:20:00] two years deciding to move. And in that two years they've probably lost 10 or 20% of the revenue and they haven't even got any data on any of the subscribers that are our customers that they had.

So your experiences is identical to you know, to our experience. And now you're also using Shopify POS in your, in your retail location. How is that working? Because sometimes we've heard that it's not flexible or it doesn't have the features. Maybe that's a dedicated enterprise pos would have.

But are you finding it okay?

Louise: [00:20:29] No, my team absolutely love it. I'm the one that can't use it, but I'm a tech-phob, so that's fine. I find it easy. It is. It’s totally transformed how we run the business. Before we would have had to do maybe two days training, at least just on POS. Now our previous POS, they were fantastic company with a great relationship with them.

But you have to realize sometimes in business, I feel like there's that 18 months where you're actually using something that doesn't. Is that your business anymore? But you're just too terrified to leave. And for now the training would be like maybe 30 minutes an hour. It's a visual, [00:21:00] like it's absolutely foolproof.

In terms of, for us, we have a lot of changing stock. We've a lot of seasonal stocks, so being able to find that, there's lots of things like being able to print the gift receipt. Okay. There's always going to be a drawback and you have to weigh up your pros and your cons. But for us, the pros were the quickness of it.

The fact that we can bring an iPad to Cork and have our shop right there. That was. transformation.

Keith: [00:21:22] Also, just explain that to our listeners. So, as a Shopify user, regardless of what account you're on, you have access to POS, which is free. And so what you do then is you choose the location, you move the stock down.

So you create a location in Shopify, just download the app to it.

Louise: Yes you call it popup. And that means that on my phone, then I have access. So I know what's going, I know what the online store is doing, I know what the popup is doing and I know what our actual store is doing. I know what products they are and post popup or you know, post a week.

And look at, okay, what's in our online store, what's selling there? What can we improve? Like it's, it's unbelievable. I mean for Shopify, the [00:22:00] other thing is the ease at which you can update content.

Keith: [00:22:03] Louise, at the moment with our portfolio, Shopify customers that are predominantly online only, some of them have the Omnichannel and they have bricks and mortar as well.

They're seeing organic growth of probably seven to 15% without any effort. And the majority of them who properly utilize email are probably seeing more, maybe up to 25%. Do you, do you see retailers getting a bit of a bad hit at the moment? And that's a worldwide phenomenon that's not like it's, you know, it was in New York, it's London, it's everywhere.

Are you seeing that? Trend downwards or flat growth or, I mean, are you positive, let's say for the next five years of your, of your bricks and mortar store?

Louise: Yeah, I am positive. I think you have to change your expectations. And I think that now the focus of my business is that they grow hand in hand.

I mean, I would hope that we would still have our Chatham street store. That's my baby. That's kind of our flagship. It's very small and it's very manageable. I think that [00:23:00] that's a very important thing to talk about when everybody was opening these amazing stores. Uh, my budget was absolutely nothing. I didn't put, like I did everything myself.

You know, we ripped up the carpets. I had no credit card machine, so. I suppose the way I built the retail store was I managed with what I had until I earned the money to spend, you know, like in terms of a sign and a canopy. So I didn't have this ridiculous investment hanging over me. Now it's tiny and we've probably outgrown it, but I think what it is, is it's very special, it's very easy to manage.

And there have been some terrifying trends in retail where I did question it. You know, like I would've spent pretty much four or five years in college working Brown Thomas and working, you know, at retail for Christmas and Sundays and Saturdays were off the charts. You know, Thursday evenings. There's no predictability now.

Keith: [00:23:50] If one of you mentioned that, is Thursday night shopping, is that gone?

Louise: [00:23:54] Kind of, I think, yeah. It's just not like, say we used to open till eight or nine or I remember a couple [00:24:00] of years for Christmas, we would have to open, like we would be bursting at like seven and eight o'clock and yeah, I think it's not gone, but I think people are maybe more going for drinks now or popping in. It's the same thing with the weekends. I think people value their time. I'm a Mum too. I'm not trekking around in Loulerie on a Saturday afternoon. Now I'll pop in and out and I have to do things. And our location, again, there is key because we're beside all the amazing hairdressers, we're beside Brown Thomas, we're off Grafton street.

So you will still get that, but there isn't a... you cannot predict. You can't put a projection because the other thing is, I've, in 12 years, people are like, how's business? I'm like, we're great because, you know what, we've had a recession building works, cementing of our front road, snowstorms, ice storms.

You know, like you just have to roll with it. And then that was the point, actually. I think it was the second bad snow that I thought, Oh my God, hang on, you know, that's when online becomes your lifeline.

Keith: [00:24:55] Okay. For your particular brand and for your particular products. [00:25:00] it's curated.

It's very personal, and there's a value to it, so do you think that a brand like yourself would always need some sort of retail element because people, even though they may buy online, do they still want to go into the shop to touch it and feel it and look at it?

Louise: [00:25:16] Yeah, I believe so. But if you were to ask me now, and if I was starting, no, I would, I don't know if I'd start with a retail. I think popups, I think engaging. I think it's very interesting. Even let's take a company like Away who are so successful with the luggage. You know, they have a store in London. You look at, you know, anybody here who's like, really at it. Like there's, there's a lot of international brands that still do pop-ups.

I think it's really interesting that even the global luxury brands do a pop up in summer locations like Mykonos has become a big thing. So. I think there's lots of different, there are lots of different opportunities and I don't think bricks and mortar is essential, but I think it'd be a very sad world to live in without any individual beautiful boutiques.

And we have some amazing ones in Dublin, but I do [00:26:00] think your growth, if that's what you want to do, is online.

Keith: [00:26:04] I've been in your shop several times. I mean, it is, I think it's stunning.

Louise: It's tiny, the four of us.

Keith: That's part of the beauty. You know, I've listened to, and I've read, you know, in researching the conversation and you know, you are, I mentioned earlier on girl crush and style crush. There's a couple of heavy hitters in the fashion industry in Ireland. Would regard Loulerie as the brand, the ‘go-to’ brand actually. So, I'll give you credit where credit is due.

Louise: [00:26:33] Yeah, I mean with that though, thank you. But that came out of like the recession hit at six months.

It was amazing. And then, you know, the world fell apart in terms of retail and no one, like, there were tumbleweeds going down our street. So I was very lucky that I actually had a fashion background before I moved to New York. So the stylist, I realized, okay. Fine jewellery was what we predominantly were doing at the time.

And I thought, hang on a second. People aren't paying their mortgages and they're not able to pay their rent. I have to come up with something different. So we [00:27:00] put in some really, really cool edited fashion brands, and then stylists wanted to use them, and then Editors wanted to use them so that that developed our relationship with the press.

And then they knew, and then I thought, Oh great, we can go to Paris or London or New York and we can always have something new. So I kind of have always had a few chinks to the bow and you can't just have one. Yeah, chinks to your armour not to your bow. Yeah. You have to be always evolving and looking at adding something new.

Keith: [00:27:25] Okay. So in terms of the future of jewellery itself, do you see any trends? Do you see, I mean, the obvious trend when you ask anybody is, Oh, well it's going to be driven by Instagram or oh, well it's going to be doing the social media, but are you like. You were kind of ahead of the curve. So have people followed or is there a new trend that you see?

Louise: [00:27:46] I think it's a little bit of both. I think the whole point with having a brand like Loulerie is that we're supposed to be ahead of the curve. We're supposed to be finding things new and it's for, you know. I suppose the objective, the whole objective I always say is I don't want someone to click on our [00:28:00] site or go in or Instagram or walk by the window and be like boring seen that.

I want them to be like, Oh, do they sell bird earrings? That's the whole, you have to excite. So I suppose the one thing I've really seen is, my background, obviously in New York was a lot in fine jewellery and I knew always even through the recession that was our biggest area of growth because that's what people come back to.

Even if. You know, there is a recession and there isn't a lot of money around. It's, a luxurious product that you will have forever. You know, an investment in a fine jewellery piece is way better than something that is going to fall apart over, you know, a couple of years. So that kind of throwaway fashion jewellery, I have seen so many brands come and go in that.

So that's why I started to design. I started with three pieces and then I put four pieces into the store. And now I can't believe that we are, we're now shooting our own, editorials just for the fine jewellery. And that for me is the marrying off. I suppose we give a context, we show how you wear it with a cashmere sweater or a blazer, and it's a tiny little diamond piece.

So the love for minimalism, [00:29:00] has been my own aesthetic anyway. But you there is a huge trend right there. Of course, the Scandinavian designers, the New York designers, the Instagram brands that minimalist trend is out there, but we don't focus so much on trends cause I've seen so many come and go.

But it's great for me to see the people are now like there isn't a price resistance even on our Shopify. Our fine jewellery does sell really well.

Keith: [00:29:21] And when you talk about, when you talk about, you know, I suppose for the want of a better word, disposable jewelry, that's the equivalent, kind of a fast fashion is where people…

Louise: [00:29:30] yeah. You don't know what's in it. You don't know what the metal is. It's going to fall apart. It's a great price point. It might look brilliant, but jewellery at the end of the day is on your body. You know, if you're buying a necklace that's physically worn every single day or a ring, it has to be a precious metal. You have to have something sustainable. You know, there's so much work we do now with who we work with, where they source their stones, what kind of metal, we use the Kimberley Process. You know, there's all of those things, but the thing is you'll still have it in 20/30 years. It's supposed to be something that you get, [00:30:00] remember, and give to your children, or, you know, will outlive you,

Keith: [00:30:04] Louise it's been a wonderful conversation and I could talk to you, talk to you all day. I have to say it's an absolute pleasure to talk to somebody that is so passionate about what they do. So thank you very much for your time. I wish you all the best in the future.

Louise: [00:30:17] Well, thank you so much for having me.

Outro: [00:30:21] Thanks for listening to the Milk Bottles Shopify Ecommerce Podcast. All of our episodes are available on Spotify and iTunes. We really appreciate the support of our sponsor. Rewind.io, the leading backup solution for your Shopify store. Get your first month of rewind for free. Just to respond to any of the welcome messages or emails after you begin your seven day free trial and mention our podcast until the next time. Take care.