Building an international brand
"Starting a business was never going to be easy, but I’m the kind of person who throws themselves into a project, full force."
When she graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1995, it didn’t take Babette Wasserman long to set up in the jewellery-making business. She’d spotted a gap in the market for innovative jewellery and accessories—but not just for women. “At the time, all the men’s accessories brands were making cufflinks with decorative fronts but ugly standard torpedoes at the back,” Babette explains. “I wanted to create a range that was equally beautiful from all angles.”
This was just the start; Babette’s first sterling silver jewellery range came three years later, comprising reversible silver pieces that could be worn in numerous different ways. Fast-forward to 2015, when Babette was named Designer of the Year by the National Association of Jewellers—an award that brought her to the attention of new audiences and cemented her standing as the figurehead of an innovative, growing brand.
Today, Babette Wasserman jewellery can be found in luxury stores across the world. Her pieces have been pictured being worn by celebrities from Sienna Miller to David Beckham. Babette has always known the importance of being connected to the world and finding platforms from which her jewellery can tell its own story. “I launched a website in my first year of business, when websites were few and far between!” she recalls. “It was the only interactive jewellery website in the UK where you could buy online—and it generated a lot of sales.”
Starting small, dreaming big
Although Babette’s growth may seem stellar, it’s been a steady climb to get to where she is now. “I started small,” Babette admits. “That was the only way I could finance the business. I got small customers onboard first and asked them to pay pro-forma, so that I could pay for stock in advance.” The strategy that paid off. Her team may still be small, but she now has 150 stockists in 30 countries around the world. “I feel very lucky to work in a field where I can take a product from conception all the way to a customer purchasing it from a luxury store,” Babette says. “I thrive on creating beautiful, saleable products.”
Finding a voice, online
Babette’s designs are capturing plenty of attention online, too. Her Instagram feed tells the story of how her collections are created as well as showcasing her innovative designs—of which, cufflinks and men’s jewellery are especially popular with her followers. Babette sees Instagram and Facebook as important tools for maximising her brand’s exposure across the globe. “We have no physical stores of our own, so Facebook and Instagram give us a platform where we can communicate directly with our customers—it’s our voice.”
Getting her voice heard in overseas markets was key to Babette’s success. She strongly believes in getting out there and meeting her potential stockists, building lasting business relationships with prestigious retailers around the world. Trade shows have also provided a path to international expansion. “Find the right show and it’s a great way of meeting customers from many different countries in one place,” says Babette, who’s even picked up a UK Fashion Export Award for achievements in worldwide export and business excellence.
Despite a host of accolades, there’s still plenty that Babette hopes to achieve. She’s just started working with a huge international brand, helping them design and manufacture their own label products. “It’s exciting and challenging,” she says of her latest major client. But there’s even more innovation on the horizon, too. “I’m also working on an exciting collaboration with a health brand to create jewellery that looks great—and makes you feel even better!”
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