Getting to know you: John Greed

What do you currently do?
I am the Founder and Managing Director of John Greed Jewellery. John Greed Jewellery currently has two stores in Lincoln, as well as a rapidly growing online aspect to the business.  We are one of the largest online jewellery retailers in the UK, stocking a huge variety of brands including Pandora, Thomas Sabo and Calvin Klein as well as some of my own designs.
What is your inspiration in business?
Looking at exciting branded clothing stores and thinking “Why can’t jewellery be sold like that?” I wanted to redefine jewellery by creating a much more exciting and theatrical retail environment. This has been achieved at our Flagship store by designing it around a night club theme, with low background lighting and pools of light on just the jewellery and counters, which we designed to look like bars.
Who do you admire?
Richard Branson, he is an iconic entrepreneur that has created such a fantastic brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way.  He has a way of reinventing traditional services and rebranding them in a fresh and exciting way. I’m not really the tough Alan Sugar type as I leave a lot of the business analysis and decision making to my excellent executive team. I’m more involved in the design and creative side of things.
Looking back, are there things you would have done differently?
My business has doubled its turnover every year for the last 8 years.  I tried to manage too much of the expansion myself and instead should have created my executive team earlier, to help take over the day to day running of the business and allow me to get on with what I do best, designing.  Learning to delegate and trust people when the business is your baby can be a difficult, but is a necessity.
What defines your way of doing business?
When I opened my first store back in 1994 my aim was to create a jewellery shop that was set aside from the norm, stocking unusual and interesting brands that were different to those already available on the high street. This mantra remains to this day, and I still love sourcing quirky brands.  John Greed Jewellery also place a great importance on customer service, and the constant drive to meet customer needs is reflected in our ‘everything matters’ attitude, continually changing shop graphics, inventive displays and the diverse jewellery we sell.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
If you have a great idea save yourself a whole lot of money and trouble by doing a bit of research first. How much are other people making doing a similar thing? Is it a shrinking or expanding market? Is there a need within your market or target audience that is going unmet? Could you fulfil this need and make it your unique selling proposition? Essentially do the research and maths first.