Wainwright runs and owns the couture jewellery business with his brother Nicholas, who’s based in the north. “We’re lucky. We haven’t had an argument in 25 years of working together. We speak on the phone about three times a day and we see each other a couple of times a week,” he says.
The two siblings are the sole shareholders of Boodles, which was established in 1798. Between them, they own the lot. “We’re a fifth-generation, multi-million pound business and yet we never have board meetings. It’s just me and my brother.
“That’s becoming an issue. If we’re going to expand our chain of stores, we’re going to have to make some changes.”
Step in a female director. “My brother’s son Jody and my sister’s son James recently joined the company and the four of us tend to have a very ‘male’ sense of humour,” admits Wainwright, who employs 95 people. “While it’s men who typically sign the cheques in our stores, it’s women who make the buying decisions.
“We definitely need more female input at the top end.”
And then what for the uber-stylish jeweller? Wainwright says the company is hovering on the brink of international expansion. "We’ve commissioned a piece of research into the opportunities overseas."
Monte Carlo, Moscow, New York and Shanghai are all on the list of potential new markets. "If Monte Carlo takes our fancy and fits the brand, that’s where we’ll go. We’re a family business; we can do what we want, not what the city wants. We’re not answerable to anybody. It’s a nice position to be in!"
Read the full interview with Michael Wainwright in the February edition of Real Business magazine.
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