Customer experience is quite literally, the jewel in Fenton’s crown. Taking the knowledge amassed across decades in fine jewellery industry to create a disrupting model, that removes the conservative unease around walking into a traditional jewellers and replaced it with a relaxed, personalised buying experience. We dropped in to meet the team and see how even the way they’re using their space at Canvas Duke Street is a little bit different.
Hey guys! Great to meet you both and thank you for talking to us today. Can you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about what you do?
“I’m Lily, I’m the general manager here at Fenton which means I get involved in all different parts of the business… sales or marketing, project management and general running of the place. I’ve been doing this for 6 or 7 months now. Our business is very customer focused, aside from the product we create and everyone in the business is geared towards the customer across every touch point. My role’s about keeping eyes on that and continuing to deliver the best possible customer experience by way of relationships with our team but also delivering as good a product we can.”
“I’m Hanna and I’m the operations lead at Fenton, so i’m responsible for a lot of the behind the scenes, back end of our products, and customer relations as well, whether that’s through our packaging, our inventory or liaising with our production team. So it’s mainly the things you don’t see from a customer side. I help get the team set up for sales, getting things ready on time and making sure the product looks its best before someone sees it.”
How many of you are currently using the space?
“On a day when we’re all in the office there’s 16 of us now. It fluctuates quite a lot given we’re a start-up. We have half of the business based in London and the other half in India, so all of our London-based team are in the same room. There’s some hot-desking but we don’t often all come in on any one given day.”
And we’ve just come from your lovely showroom – can you tell us how you like using that space? It’s unusual to use office space like that..
Hanna: “We opened our first show room in April 2021, and the idea was we were initially an online only business. But with such sentimentality behind a lot of the purchases and being able to customise absolutely anything, a lot of people wanted that physical experience with our brand. And to really help push our vision forward, to have a space that encompassed what our brand values are and having an inviting space for people to come to is wonderful.
Quite often in our industry it can be intimidating. You walk in to a shop and you immediately feel like, “Oh gosh, I don’t want to touch anything!” So we wanted it to feel more like the most sophisticated and fun living room you’ve ever been in, where you also get to see our product and meet with our team to get advice. Education is a big part of what we do. It’s a very niche area of knowledge so that plays a big part in it. But definitely having a welcoming, inviting space is very important. We’re always thinking ‘how can we do it better?’ So that you walk in and you feel comfortable immediately.”
And have you always used the space this way or have you changed it round?
Lily: “We’ve moved round, yes. So this is actually our second show room in Canvas. Our first one is now our operations room, we kept the wallpaper in there though so there’s the option to extend the showroom into the ops room if we want to in the future, and we can see as many people as possible in person. But that was the first one until we out-grew it and we moved into the one next door.
“We use this as meeting space too, I think Canvas was very accommodating when we asked to touch-up this room given that it’s not ‘ours’ per se, but it’s the place we’ll take overspill appointments if we need to, or interviews and meetings with external members of the team and things like that, so its nice to have our pictures up on the wall.”
“We like people to come here so we can give them an experience they’re going to enjoy, and that’s easiest for us to do here. Also, when you have a kind of group of jewellers in a similar area to go from one shop to another shop to another shop, by the time they reach here, ideally the feeling they have is that we’re a little oasis in central London where they can have seat on a sofa and have some water or a cup of tea, use the bathroom, that kind of thing.”
And does location play a big part in that? Was Mayfair where you always wanted to be?
Lily: “Yes! This area has always been the goal and as a retail business, its really nice to look out the window and see Selfridge’s across the street. It reminds you of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and it grounds you as well, so absolutely it’s an important location. It was the area we were after for quite a while, and I don’t see us moving from this location any time soon.”
Hanna: “I think it helps us to distinguish ourselves from other brands as well. As Lilly mentioned, there’s a concentrated area of jewellers in one specific part of the city. Not being there is actually an advantage in a lot of ways so that by the time the client does see us, immediately they know we’re different from the rest, in a positive way.”
You’re direct to consumer at the moment. Are there any plans to expand that?
Lily: “As Hanna said, it’s an industry that is potentially a bit overwhelming perhaps for many people that haven’t been privy to it beforehand, and the way we’re set up is quite different from your traditional jewellers, especially in London, and it does work for us. It’s very difficult to say what we’re going to be doing in five years when in the last four years we’ve been operating, we’ve had a pandemic and a cost of living crisis, so we try and remain adaptable to a micro climate. But what we do know, is no matter what we do, we know it’ll be in the best interest of our customer. That’s the most important thing.”
Are there any trends in your products? What’s doing really well at the moment?
Hanna: “We have our classics and best sellers, and we know the Uk is the second largest gemstone market in Europe behind Germany, so there’s always that demand. There’s a few new products that we’ve launched that have performed really well.”
In terms of your audience, do you get a lot of international customers from different cultures and walks of life?
Lily: “Yes, and that’s actually quite important for us. The whole point of what we do is that it’s accessible fine jewellery for as many people who are looking for that as possible. One of the things that helps distinguish us from some other traditional jewellers is that whoever walks through the door gets the same treatment, that’s very central to what we do. In terms of international clients, it’s a funny thing because we don’t always know who’s looking at us.
One of my favourite things to see is when someone rings the doorbell and says ‘oh i’ve come here for three days from Belgium’ or wherever, ‘I’ve been following you guys on Instagram for two years and I really want to come and meet you guys’. That always perks up our day a little bit, doesn’t it?’
Hanna: “Absolutely. I think how they find us, whether they’re from abroad or whether they say ‘Hey, I’ve taken the train down from Manchester and I wanted to see you guys” and we know, regardless of what they’re coming for that their experience is sort of front and centre of what we’re thinking of – to be able to give them the best possible product and experience.”
And from a marketing point of view, we’re looking at how we can encourage the connections between the companies that have space with us. How important is it for you to have that community feel at work? Do you meet people from across the business or within the building?
Hanna: “Across the other buildings less so, but there are a few people in this building that we’ve met who are from really interesting businesses. There’s a business upstairs who we sometimes see outside of work which is really nice. I think there is an element of wanting to know who is in the building as well, and it’s always great to meet new people and see what they’ve been doing.”
You guys are quite unique with your show room, your private office and the communal meeting rooms, do you ever use the multi site access across the buildings?
Lily: “We haven’t done it yet because we have the show rooms which our customers want to experience. We also have a relatively high value product, so it’s less practical for us to taking the jewellery to and from different places. I think for us it would be a lot more beneficial if we’re using those meeting rooms for external meetings with non-clients, say with brand partners, that we might do at some point.”
Is there anything you’d like to see more from Canvas from a community perspective?
Lily: “I think the portal you have is helpful for most businesses. When you speak to some of the people in the building that you don’t necessarily know who they are or what they do, and when you do make the effort to speak to them, there’s some interesting business ideas that can come from that. It’s great because you have some brands across the Canvas buildings that work in a similar-ish space, in retail or in beauty – but creating the environment or the occasion for different members of the Canvas community to come together and chat works really well.”
What’s your relationship with Cara and Tsubi [East and West Cluster Managers]?
Lily: “Oh we love them! They’re both great! We have a lot of fun with them. It’s nice to see them around. Also practical things like, they answer emails really quickly which is super helpful for us because we can fire off a question and its answered within 20mins. Also, they’re just really nice people so we end up having a laugh on the stairs or wherever we are. Having that presence without it feeling forced. Being able to ask questions and the dissemination of information is really helpful too. They’re both just super approachable.”
How do you use your space and what do you like about it?
Lily: “For us and our product specifically, natural light is really important. So, to have a lot of that actually helps us to do our job. We often do quality control on gemstones so we really need that natural light coming in. Everything we need in a space is catered for in a way where you feel you’re working with the building and the building managers.”
Have you worked in a flexible office space before, and what are the main differences between us and the places you’ve worked with in the past?
Hanna: “The biggest difference for me here, is that it’s a co-working space that doesn’t always have to feel like one. I’ve working in a co-working space before where the space itself was very open plan, and you worked in and amongst other businesses which for some works well, but for us it didn’t work as well. So having our own room and office space is really helpful for us here.
Plus having the communal kitchen and really helpful office managers work well for us. Being in a space we’re able to grown in and grow with is quite important too. Being a younger company, our needs have evolved, so being with a company who can take that and embrace it has been great.”
We choose our locations for the neighbourhoods they sit in. Do you have any recommendations in the area for great places to eat, drink or just get a coffee?
Lily: “Yes we actually had a customer meeting yesterday in the Beaumont Hotel which is a lovely environment. Lunch-wise, we like to go to Mercato, it’s right around the corner, its really cool and there’s lots of options to choose from. Barley and Mo which opened relatively recently is great for a glass of wine after work and some live music. Attendant, the coffee shop next door is great too, they’re always really friendly and the coffee is actually good!”
At Canvas, flexible office space means just that. We create the space you need for your business to flourish. From boardrooms to showrooms, come and talk to us about the space you need and we’ll make it happen.