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Flashback to 2000: Catching up with Christine Sadler

Tue, 04 December 2012

In 2000 Christine Sadler and Christopher Tosh won a Shell UK LiveWIRE Business Start-up Award and entered the Scottish Finals.
We caught up with Christine to find out how things have changed for their business, Christine Sadler Jewellery, since…

What can you remember about your involvement with Shell LiveWIRE?
We won the regional finals and went onto the national finals. Involvement with Shell LiveWIRE gave my business a lot of press coverage that we wouldn't have been able to get otherwise.

How have things changed for you since you won your Shell LiveWIRE award?
Massively. We went on to win the national finals of the Prince's Trust Royal Bank of Scotland Group Business Awards and we won Business Insider's Rising Star award. We were then named finalists in Best New Store in the UK Jewellery awards. We purchased the freehold of a commercial property in Glasgow and opened a second store. Our designs were chosen by Johnson Matthey to promote worldwide sales of platinum jewellery for men, and in 2005 we started manufacturing all of our designs in Scotland.

How have you had to adapt as an entrepreneur over the years?
Our business has had to constantly evolve over the last thirteen years. The jewellery industry has changed dramatically and as a sector is hugely competitive. The recession has had a huge impact on jewellery as the gold price went from $250 per ounce to $2000. Brands such as Links of London and Pandora have eaten into the market share of independent designers so we have been constantly changing what we do but we have stuck to our core values - manufacturing high quality handmade jewellery in Scotland.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have overcome in business?
We sold the freehold of our shop in Glasgow and leased it back. Our landlord broke our lease agreement just two months into a 25 year lease. His breach prevented us from obtaining insurance to trade from the unit. As a tenant in Scotland, there is no landlord and tenant act as there is in England and we were advised by several lawyers that it is highly unusual for a tenant to be able to get out of a lease. We had to endure a three year legal battle, incurring huge legal bills before we were able to end the lease. We didn't know if we would be able continue trading or if the costs would force us into sequestration. However, we have come through it and are now in the process of building up funds again to continue with our original plans to expand our business.

What are your top 3 tips for a young entrepreneur who is about to set up in business?
1) Never sign a lease with personal guarantees in Scotland
2) Listen to your customers and adapt your business to provide them with what they want and need
3) Expand out of cash flow rather than taking on loans

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