Name: Steven Coll.

Age: 59.

What is your business called?

Tom Coll Jewellery Ltd


Where is it based?
We’re located on the fourth floor of the Argyll Arcade Chambers in the heart of Glasgow. We recently refurbished our showroom and workshop and that has been a major success.

What does it produce, what services does it offer?
We make and sell diamond jewellery and also buy and sell pre-owned Rolex watches. We reckon we have Scotland’s biggest range of pre-owned Rolex watches.

To whom does it sell?
Our principal market is the general public. Very occasionally we will do some jewellery work for a trade colleague but usually we are making and selling to the public, especially to couples who are on the lookout for engagement rings, which are a big part of our business. Our Rolex customers come from all over the UK and beyond.

What is its turnover?
Since investing in the makeover of our premises we’ve seen a positive rise in sales. We really ramped up social media activity during 2019 with a clear strategy in mind and that has contributed to a lot of fresh interest. We’re delighted to report that in 2019 we had our best December ever. In the current climate we were chuffed about that and we kept business ticking over nicely in January and February too.

How many employees?
We’ve a six-strong team which includes my two sons, Kieran and Jonathan.

When was it formed?
The business was launched in 1984 by my father Tom with me. He’d been in the jewellery business all his adult life so had lots to share with me. He had a great circle of contacts in the profession.

Why did you take the plunge?

Jewellery was in our blood. We had both worked for others and decided to give it a go on our own. We reckoned if we were committed and worked hard we could see a positive benefit. We just put our heads down and threw ourselves into establishing the name out there.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

We started off small and used savings to buy and fit-out our first salesroom and workshop premises, where we now have our staff kitchen and workshop. The office space cost us £10,000 back in the mid 1980s and we were lucky to secure some ‘pre-loved’ display cabinets and other bits and pieces of equipment for not a lot of money.

That initial showroom was a fraction of the space we occupy now but it suited us then and allowed us to grow gradually without incurring big borrowings. That was important to us both and remains so to me as head of the business now.

What was your biggest break?
Being able to expand our premises and increase the sales showroom space.

What was your worst moment?
A security scare which impacted on the family. Caution is always the keyword in this business.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?
I love dealing with our customers and learning about what they need or want and coming up with solutions for them. There’s nothing beats the reaction when we reveal a newly-created piece of jewellery to a client. I also love being able to work with my sons and the rest of the team who’ve been with us for a long time.

What do your least enjoy?

Paperwork, as it used to be known. Never been a fan of the administration side of running the business. Thankfully much of it all is computerised and so it’s all a matter of pressing buttons to deliver the necessary reports and form-filling. I’d rather be out on the sales floor chatting to our customers.

What is your biggest bugbear?

City centre parking charges. The out of town shopping centres and retail parks offer free parking.

I feel it would help city-based retailers if the local authorities even eased the charges over a weekend. I know they’ll argue it’s to reduce traffic and improve the environment but if less shoppers impact on our High Street then that hits the economy.

What are your ambitions for the firm?

I want to keep the business growing and developing its product ranges so I can pass the firm onto my sons who can keep our brand going.

What are your five top priorities?
Maintaining high levels of customer service.

Maintaining a strong and happy team.

Expanding our workshop potential.

Securing pristine examples of pre-owned Rolex watches to share with our customer base.

Continuing to increase our brand awareness.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish Governments do that would most help?

Come up with more initiatives to attract people into the retail areas of towns and cities. Doing nothing just isn’t the answer. We need initiatives that can help all businesses and do more to increase business confidence. There’s regular chat in the media about helping the retail sector – I feel we need to see action soon. Maybe governments need to establish a task force with real power to get things done.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

The importance of a positive customer experience and how that in turn can lead to brand awareness via word of mouth.

How do you relax?

I enjoy spending time with my wife Janice and my dad who’s now in his 90s and always keen to know what’s happening in the business world.