A diamond is foreverBuying diamonds, or other substantial jewellery, is one of life’s biggest decisions and uniquely personal. An engagement ring is not only about the amount of money you spend but (hopefully) it will have a permanent place in the most important relationship of your life.
“Buying an engagement ring is one of the three most important decisions you could make … so the sort of amazing connection you get with the customers and being a big part of their journey is really rewarding.”Aware that the story doesn’t stop with the purchase, but continues through years, decades, and even centuries as precious jewellery is passed down through generations, the Chalfen team stand firmly behind the company motto “A Promise, Set in Stone”. Cutting-edge technology brings Chalfen of London’s unique bespoke design service online with an exceptionally high degree of personalisation. The Chalfen customer experience as unique as the jewellery itself.
The diamond expertAkhtar first joined Chalfen of London while studying law, having seen the job ad on a university noticeboard. Employed as a runner making pickups and drop offs across the industry, the role gave him an inside view of all aspects of the business. Confident he’d found his true calling Akhtar dropped out of university and started working full time for Chalfen of London.
“I fell in love with the business. Luckily, I was around some great leaders of the industry and got taught or picked up everything I needed to know.”
In high demandRegularly approached by VIPs for his help in sourcing and creating bespoke pieces, Akhtar is under various NDAs. Suffice to say, his skills, services and keen eye for detail are in high demand. Immersed in the diamond industry his entire adult life, Akhtar understands the best way to present any precious stone. His passion and depth of knowledge are obvious to even the most casual bystander. Whether your budget stretches to silver, gold or platinum, Akhtar knows which stones will look the best. The level of detail with which he is able to discuss the various grades of diamond, and how the grades sit within a chosen setting means whatever you’re buying, you won’t get less than the absolute best money can buy. In a highly competitive industry, switching from being a wholesale jeweller to a retailer takes grit and determination. Akhtar undoubtedly has plenty of both, but having an excellent online presence is paramount. Which is where tech genius, Paul Hudson comes into play.
Cutting-edge technologyA self-confessed geek and Certified Ethical Hacker, Hudson has taken on the challenge of digitising Chalfen’s unique jewellery buying experience. Now co-owner of Chalfen of London, he’s built and sold many IT businesses, working “with the tea boy all the way up to the directors”.
“I’ve helped out with digital change in businesses. I’ve done IT support for businesses, I’ve built cloud-based businesses, billing and provisioning environments to spin up voice handsets and virtual desktop servers. All this sort of stuff.”Using ‘bleeding-edge technology” to bring jewellery to life online, Hudson’s first task was to rebuild the entire website for retail customers and monitor how they engaged. With an understanding of how people interacted with the site, Hudson explored the psychology of the customer and discovered untold riches in his data.
Flawlessly personalHudson wanted to ensure a seamless journey. This entailed creating in-house backend systems and teaching staff new ways of working.
“I’m using analytics to properly grow the business in the right way, working out the customer journey, and how that’s dealt with inside the business. You can’t grow a business at scale unless you’ve got proper communications in place.”He’s spent time ensuring that even the “unsexy things” work well, streamlining and making efficiencies throughout the internal sales process. Something which wasn’t always easy for others to adopt.
“People don’t like change so there’s a lot of things to manage when you do a proper digital transformation in a business.”A streamlined backend office system helps keep the business efficient, but the priority has always been to make the experience of buying jewellery from Chalfen of London uniquely personal.
An immersive experienceThe untold riches in his website data revealed a sharp view of the female psyche. His fully interactive “ring render builder” lets passionate girls design bespoke rings on their phones. Choose your stone, band and setting and watch your jewellery come to life, engrave it and see how it will look. Combine Hudson’s ability to create a seamless digital experience with Akhtar’s depth of knowledge about sourcing and creating the best jewellery and, while an onlooker might have a tendency to call them finicky, it’s this level of perfectionism which sets Chalfen of London apart.
“Our diamonds, our product is amazing. The skill level, and the type of product we’re selling is all about perfection.”
Diamonds really are a girl’s best friendWhile Chalfen is owned and run by men, Akhtar and Hudson know it’s women who matter.
“Jewellery is for women, and we get ideas, and we get our influences from the women around us to produce this jewellery. I mean, essentially, I run the business but the ideas and the designs, they’re all coming from women … At the end of the day, that is what the jewellery is about.”Women are the biggest buyers of diamonds. You could be forgiven for having to read that twice. When Akhtar began his career, only “about 5% of all the sales” were to women. “Now it’s 60% women.”
“The majority of the people that come to me now are women. Women that love to be able to treat themselves and not have to rely on men.”“There should also be more women in our industry and influencing our industry,” Akhtar says. Adding to his list of goals as he works to address the imbalance. Akhtar, Hudson and their team of designers and craftspeople “make everything in the heart of London, with the same attention to detail and passion that began over a century ago”. Now they’re offering the same incredible service and “incomparable jewellery” direct to consumers at a “more competitive price” than you’re likely to find anywhere else. Connect with Chalfen of London. Visit their website or follow on Instagram or Facebook.
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