Bec Astley Clarke is the Founder and Managing Director of Astley Clarke–Britain’s leading online jewelry e-boutique. The popularity of the business is evident, especially when most Americans are aware of this British-based company. Last October, the brand relaunched themselves by redesigning their website, packaging and shifted focus. Not only has Astley Clarke proven that luxury items can be purchased online, but they have changed the public’s attitude on the topic.
I caught up with the Founder to ask her a few more questions about her successful brand:
I launched Astley Clarke in 2006 with a vision to create a Luxury Jewellery Brand with ecommerce at its heart, celebrating design and craftsmanship in Fine Jewellery. I recognised a gap in the market between Bond Street and The High Street for design-lead Fine Jewellery. Additionally, I saw that big luxury jewellery brands were slow to move online and really own the space. Paired with my background in e-commerce at Tesco.com and a love for fine jewellery I decided to launch Astley Clarke. Whilst the business started as a multi-brand jewellery E-tailer housing the very finest edit of international, designer jewellery, in 2009 we opened a Design Studio in London and started to invest in creating our own collections – there are now over 10 Fine and Contemporary Astley Clarke collections to choose from. Many people didn’t think it was possible to sell Fine Jewellery online, including established jewellery powerhouses and potential investors, but we have proved them wrong. We have challenged the pre-conceptions of online shopping and shown that it is possible to sell Fine Jewellery online and to retain that Luxury shopping experience.
The past few months have seen some really exciting developments for Astley Clarke. Firstly, we launched a target smashing concession in iconic department store Selfridges – the reaction from staff and customers alike has been phenomenal! Secondly, we have just undergone a full re-brand. This was a big project which landed last October, involving a new website, packaging, everything. It’s been a really interesting project with loads of heartache and going backwards and forwards. For example, we have now designed our own giftwrap. It’s been a six-month process of getting an artist, sourcing the paper from Japan, finding the right hand-printers, so we’re going to the ends of the earth for each piece and are really excited about how it looks – utterly chic and beautiful.
One day last summer I was eating lunch in a Parisian café when I noticed a very chic woman nearby wearing a Baby Astley ring from the Astley Clarke Couture collection. It’s an amazing feeling whenever I see anyone wearing our jewellery. (photo below is the Baby Astley ring)
I want to continue to grow the British Luxury brand and reach out to more of an International audience, continuing to excite and inspire with engaging content and beautiful jewellery. It’s also dependent on advances in technology, will we be using computers in the way we use them now? How we will adapt to those changes? I think that in the next generation, sites will be just totally integrated into social media platforms where the traffic is already. We won’t have to wait for the traffic to come to us: we’ll be able to sit our store within the social media platforms. That’s what we’re all trying to do with content: build a destination where people are going regardless, and where they can also shop.
My new Cosmos Friendship bracelet from Astley Clarke Biography. We created the diamond micro pave Cosmos charm last season and it has been a huge hit since launch – we now have almost 10 Cosmos pieces, including the Cosmos Bolsena bracelets and charms in Gold Vermeil and Silver.