@sh_chance_to_sparkle creates route to market for pre-loved jewellery


Sarah Hutchison creates new pre-loved market for contemporary handmade jewellery

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Sarah Hutchison creates new pre-loved market for contemporary handmade jewellery with SH Chance to Sparkle using Insta.

Sarah Hutchison’s career as a well known silversmith and jeweller pivoted 12 years ago when she opened her own contemporary jewellery gallery in Edinburgh's Morningside. The stylish boutique come gallery showcases the work of over 40 different makers and has a loyal following of clientele. Sarah uses the shop to also sell her own work, she launched a new collection in the Spring, and very recently added a thriving ecommerce website to the mix to facilate sales and spread the gallery’s reach further than its geographical location.

With her continued entrepreneurial spirit, this Autumn, Sarah launched a new Instagram account ‘SH Chance to Sparkle’ aka @sh_chance_to_sparkle to experiment with an idea that had sat with her for a while. The Insta handle, as she saw it, could be used as a platform for people to buy and sell preloved contemporary jewellery.

In inspiration came from a conversation with one of her gallery stockists about the lack of places to sell preloved contemporary jewellery. Sarah instantly saw a niche in the market - antique jewellery is a specialised market serviced by dedicated retailers and auction houses, for costume or branded jewellery second hand online platforms like ebay. Depop an Vinted existed.

With her business nous she realised that there was a whole pre-loved handmade contemporary jewellery market which stands quite separately to the traditional take on jewellery retail. “Trying to sell special pieces on ebay to a wholly unappreciative audience would feel quite wasteful.” She said.

“In a time where we are all so aware of our own carbon footprint, the need to be less wasteful and socially conscious this felt like the perfect time. Sustainability is the buzz word within the jewellery industry and what could be more sustainable than reselling jewellery which is often in 'like new' condition. The ultimate circular economy.” She added.

In order to test the market Sarah set up initially with 6 of her own items and was amazed when 5 of them had sold within 24 hours. In the 2 months since offering this re-sale service to her clients she has listed over 120 items with more than half selling already, to a modest following of 500.

“People's reasons for selling their jewellery are wide and varied; a change in career, hairstyle, an unwanted gift or simply taste in styles and metal colours change”, she states.

Sarah has found that often the clients selling their jewellery spend what they make by  buying more jewellery, either by upgrading or buying different styles. “Buyers are hooked”, Sarah says, “They watch excitedly to see what will become available next. This works on so many levels – for those selling, they can pass on their unwanted jewellery to be loved by someone new. Yet it gives buyers access to some highly desirable pieces at a fraction of the cost. Opening contemporary jewellery to a wider audience.”

Sarah is being selective in the pieces that she lists, keeping to 'hand made, designer, contemporary jewellery'. The range is broad however, from lower price points to high ticket items from designers such as Ami Pepper, Ruth Tomlinson and Graeme MccColm.

The model she currently uses is to take the work in, clean it, photograph it and appraise each item. She will suggest a guide price for selling based on the item’s original purchase price or current price and arrives at a decision with the client about a re-sale value.

Taking a percentage commission Sarah stresses that often the work of getting the pieces back into the marketplace often outweighs the time invested when it comes to some of the less expensive or precious pieces. Yet she’s is excited about the project and believes in the concept of the circular economy so much, that she has already bought three of the pre-loved items for herself.

“The reception by the industry as a whole has been a positive one” she says, “with people expressing 'why hasn't this existed before now?' There has been some unease from a small selection of jewellers and designers, yet thankfully most people see the initiative as a positive sustainable new way to invite people to invest in handmade, designer contemporary jewellery.”

Using her position as a well known personality, reputed maker in her own right and trustworthy business person within the trade, Sarah feels she is the perfect person to roll out and expand the concept. She can already boast that she is commanding better re-sale prices than achieved through the auction option with a much smaller commission rate to boot.


Rebecca van Rooijen


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