Stockist in Focus – W.E. Clark & Son

Michel Herbelin stockists are a special breed. As we select only one store in each area to solely stock our brand, our preferred partners are quality independent jewellers who put the same personal touch into their sales and after care as we do as the distributor.

Interior shot of the newly refurbished Eastbourne store

Interior shot of the newly refurbished Eastbourne store

Now run by the fourth generation of the Clark family – David Clark, W.E. Clark & Son has a rich history in Lewes, where it all started back in 1819. Today, the Lewes showroom has been magnificently refurbished and their second showroom, in Eastbourne, has been beautifully modernised. 2012 was very much the year that W.E. Clark & Son brought their jewellery stores up-to-date without losing the special feel of heritage within the business.

The watch and jewellery trade is a uniquely specialist industry. Knowledge is often passed down from generation to generation, with the second or even third generation taking over the reins from original family members. Often with the family name above the door, many jewellers take pride in continuing traditions by offering a first class service. Retailers like these often have loyal lifelong customers who trust the familiar faces behind the counter.

The value of personal service in some retail sectors is something that is associated with a bygone era, even seen as laughable in the case of the grocery store, where every item had to be requested from an Arkwright style shop assistant to be taken down from the shelf behind the counter. Time is money and the fewer people that have to handle a product, the quicker it can fly off the shelf – or so it seems. This might be true of a watch that the customer might consider throwing away when the battery needs changing, but when an investment is made in a quality product, the customer is also investing in a relationship with the retailer and indeed putting their trust in us as the manufacturer.

The retail jeweller is the face of the Michel Herbelin brand and the pride they take in nurturing their relationships with their customers echoes the solidarity and support Michel Herbelin UK aims to provide their stockists – and in turn Michel Herbelin head office provides to their distributors (both also family companies).

In some ways, the traditional characteristics of the Independent Jeweller are old fashioned, but this is their unique selling point. After all, Selfridges or Harrods will never go out of fashion. Customers undoubtedly want to be made to feel special and the knowledge, experience and overall time spent by experienced retailers with each customer is often above and beyond what you might expect.  However, the actual fabric of the building has to move with the times to show that up to the minute products are being stocked in warm welcoming showrooms. Balancing these two elements is the key to the success of retailers like W.E. Clark & Son – the family jewellers in East Sussex.

W.E Clark, Eastbourne showroom with comfortable seating areas

W.E Clark, Eastbourne showroom with comfortable seating areas

Mr Clark says, “The Eastbourne showroom required updating and after much careful planning and consideration, this happened in November 2012. The result is a modern, welcoming shop with two comfortable areas for clients to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee whilst viewing the beautiful ranges of jewellery and watches.”

In January 2013, after many customer requests, Michel Herbelin were delighted that W.E Clark & Son decided to introduce the collection into both their Eastbourne and Lewes branches. According to Mr Clark “Within weeks of the watches going on display, it was clear to see that the right decision had been made with many happy customers now wearing their beautiful Michel Herbelin watches.”

Perhaps the more time you are willing to invest in a product, the more it will pay you back.  Of course this depends on the product proving more intriguing the more you know about it. It seems that watches are just the sort of things that spark our imagination with their endless dial options and amazingly intricate movements – with or without deployment buckles or fold-over clasps. Some automatic models even providing a tantalising little window into the exciting miniature world of the watch movement through their glass casebacks.

Michel Herbelin collection display in store

Michel Herbelin collection display in store

The customer is discerning and they expect luxury treatment when they are considering a purchase and this takes time. What a lovely idea to offer your customers a comfy chair and a cup of coffee to enhance their experience. Mr Clark says that “selling a Michel Herbelin is a pleasure, I sold one yesterday to a lovely couple who saw it on our website and wanted to try it on. I invited them into our Lewes showroom, and there were two watches on the table, and the quality of Michel Herbelin shone through above the other branded watch. The weight, the finish and the style won the customer over. I sat with them for around half an hour, they had a cup of coffee and enjoyed the experience, and purchased the watch.”

The attitude held by Mr Clark and the whole team is that “W.E. Clark & Son exists because of its reputation and continues to grow by recommendation of others. People know when they come to us, they will get carefully attended to ensuring that they are purchasing the right item. If I don’t see a customer after their first visit time and time again, I see that we have failed. We have some really lovely relationships with our customers, and they truly enjoy coming to see us.”

Traditional values, good old fashioned depth of knowledge in a modern, fresh and comfortable environment.  If you would like to visit W.E. Clark and Son, their Lewes store is open 9.15am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday and their Eastbourne store is open 9am – 5pm, Monday to Saturday.

 

Links of interest:

http://www.weclarkandson.co.uk      

https://www.facebook.com/weclarkandson           

https://www.facebook.com/michelherbelinuk

http://www.weclarkandson.co.uk/blog/articles/we-clark-and-son-lewes-grand-re-opening/

http://www.weclarkandson.co.uk/blog/articles/lewes-showroom-build-from-start-to-finish/

http://www.weclarkandson.co.uk/blog/articles/the-re-fitting-our-eastbourne-showroom/

http://www.weclarkandson.co.uk/blog/articles/w-e-clark-son-eastbourne-re-fit-finished/

12 June 2013

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