If you are yet to have heard of Blackacre, they are a luxury, bespoke jeweller with the aim to deliver the ultimate personal service. Known for their breathtaking engagement rings, Blackacre aim to bring your ideas to life, with each ring made to your exact desires. We caught up with the brains behind the business, Sam Stirrat, to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes…
Blackacre – an exceptional brand with a proclivity for providing the most luxury service
Interviewing Sam Stirrat
Hi Sam, when we featured an article on Blackacre several months ago the main thing that struck us about your company was that it did not have a shop or premises. What is the reason for this?
I’ll cut to the chase straight away. By not having a fixed premises, or a fancy retail space on New Bond Street, we are able to save significant costs, as well as be more flexible. By saving costs in this area, we have opted to invest in other areas which we feel have a greater importance to our clients, the most important of which is their purchasing experience. In the last month alone this ranges from sharing a glass of champagne in the Ritz with a client as part of the delivery of the final ring, to holding initial meetings at 7am in the morning outside central London. At the same time clients don’t miss out on valuable in person meetings as we are able to meet clients on their terms and locations that suit them.
And your clients enjoy this and are happy meeting at your regular locations of hotels and members clubs of central London rather than visiting to a shop?
Well if you would rather go to a shop to collect your ring than the Ritz then who am I to judge… In recent years a lot has changed and people now prefer the flexibility and empowerment a private appointment gives them. The best example of this change in dynamic is the advent of dating apps. Our client testimonials, professional brand and approach as well as a word of mouth led marketing strategy give us the credibility to hold this revolutionary appointment style approach.
Summarise what is special about Blackacre in one sentence?
We treat clients as we would wish to be treated ourselves when purchasing something so special.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
One of our biggest challenges is educating potential clients on the ring that is right for them and not letting them fall in to the traps set by lower cost producers. We spend most of our initial contact with clients trying to realign their knowledge of certain components where their view has been clouded by incorrect information that is so readily available online. Most of this information online is generated by lower cost companies trying to increase their profitability. The two biggest areas where we strive to improve client confidence are 1) diamond classifications and 2) the importance of jewellery quality. There is no point purchasing a beautiful stone if it is going to be set in low quality jewellery.
The question most people want the answer to is, what is the impact of the personal and bespoke service on the cost?
Again, we try to be as transparent as possible on this. Our prices are broadly aligned, if not slightly lower than the other luxury brands in the market. We choose to focus our costs and investments on areas that have a direct impact on clients and focus on a “word of mouth” marketing strategy, which lets the quality of our jewellery do the talking. However, in the name of transparency, as with most things in life, “you get what you pay for”. It is no different to doing a grocery shop – you can choose to buy a fillet steak from the local convenience store, a super market or the local organic butcher. We are the local organic butcher.
Is the myth about 3 months’ salary true?
We can never tell clients what to spend; we can only provide factual information to help guide them down the best path for them. Most of our clients come from professional backgrounds, and on average a client will spend from £8,000 to £15,000 on an engagement ring. So I guess you could argue that as a best estimate, the myth holds true.
You manage all the client relationships at Blackacre. Why do you choose to do this?
Currently, the trend appears that most retail companies are opting to distance themselves from face-to-face client relationships. We are running against this trend. I personally believe that for our clients, purchasing an engagement ring is something they have little to no experience in and it carries so much sentimental and financial significance that developing a trusted and transparent relationship is paramount to giving them peace of mind. By looking after the relationships, I can personally ensure that a consistent high quality and confidential service is provided.
What projects are you currently working on that you are most excited about?
There are two. Firstly, we are developing Blackacre’s premiere high jewellery line – a series of 3 bespoke statement rings. This means that we will have 4 principle areas, a high jewellery collection, as well as the existing engagement, wedding and eternity rings.
We are also currently in talks with a 5 star London hotel to create a brand partnership and become the in-house private jewellers, which I am really excited about.
Have you got any advice for anyone hoping to receive their dream ring soon?
Make it very, very clear what design or style you want! We have some clients that arrive with photos they have been tagged in – their other halves know what they are doing! If you can make your ring size known, then that makes everyone’s lives easier too!
Taking responsibility for Blackacre and some of the most important moments in people’s lives must be stressful. What do you do to relax?
It certainly has its moments! Well, I have two dogs, a Springer Spaniel and a Flatcoated Retriever. Trying to keep them under control on a walk would be a distraction for anyone! They are good listeners too – haha!
Make sure you visit Blackacre’s website and book yourself an appointment to discuss your requirements for a bespoke ring. Website: http://blackacreldn.com
What are your thoughts on Blackacre? Let us know in the comments below…