Stephen Webster feels that, instead of complaining about the current conditions facing luxury, designers should be getting creative.
Over cocktails for the GEM Awards late last week, which Webster MC’d, the jeweler discussed his business’ adaptations in light of shifting global markets and consumer preferences. “You can either go down with it, or say ‘Alright what do we do next?’” he quipped.
“Everything is out of the box, nothing that was is really working at the moment…it’s about finding out where you fit in. If a shop down the road can’t sell my jewelry like it used to — what am I going to do, lay everyone off? I have got to get creative. I think it’s a bit of that.”
The Englishman sells through his own retail units as well as third-party sellers like Net-a-porter.
“I think America is a very exciting place to do business, the Russians will come back at some point. [As far as Trump goes], we don’t know yet. I’m going to go with the positive side, I know no more than anyone else.”
Webster admits that luxury consumption and prioritization is changing, particularly in light of Millennials’ income maturation: “You’ve just got to bounce around a bit and find where the new luxury is being sold, bought and enjoyed and what that luxury is. Millennials like things — no question — they like things. But the big diamonds, it’s not that. They like things, though, they like jewelry as big as ever — as part of a wardrobe.”
Webster also resigned that Brexit has begun to set in as reality amongst England’s liberal populace. “I think there’s a sense in England now that we don’t know what we are facing yet, but we are facing it. If you are 25, that’s a big deal — but I know from my 25-year-old [daughter] who lives in Berlin, at first she felt ‘Oh my god, what have we done,’ and now it’s more ‘OK, so how do I fit into this?’
“You need a bit of rebellion, you need a bit of reason to be rebellious. Nothing comes out of anything boring.”