Great Companies: Please tell me something about the business and how did you come up with such an idea?
Philip Spencer: When I founded London DE in 2013 it was with a passion for gemstones and jewellery, combined with a long-running urge to start and scale my own business from scratch. After serving in the armed forces, followed by a spell in financial services, I wanted to break out and do something new and creative. I took the decision to start the business in summer 2012. As my 30's dawned I began to feel the pang of 'it’s now or never’. Then as a spectator watching the London 2012 Olympics, I was inspired to create a brand based around London as a trademark.
Great Companies: What are the various services and products provided by your company?
Philip Spencer: We specialise in bespoke jewellery creation and colored gemstones, including Colombian emeralds and sapphires and rubies from South East Asia. We work with both the trade and retail markets.
Great Companies: Why should one choose you over others in this field?
Philip Spencer: We operate in a well-established and competitive market. We have unique selling points that differentiate us from some of our rivals with similar business models, including: Leibish; 77 Diamonds; Blue Nile; Taylor & Hart and James Allen.
We distinguish ourselves from these businesses in several ways; our main focus being upon the ethical standards and integrity of our business. This means we take great care in confirming the provenance of the materials and gemstones we use, ensuring fair trade and environmental principles and standards are maintained.
We have a unique set of relationships with South American emerald producers and suppliers and a European exclusivity agreement with one of the principle emerald dealers in Colombia. This allows us to offer one of the widest ranges of products and services in our industry. As a result, our consumers are provided an unrivaled level of choice, along with price guarantees and a deeply personal buying journey from start to finish.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Philip Spencer: My journey has been tough and rewarding in equal measure, with ups and downs, successes and failures but I gradually learned my industry and entrepreneurship little by little. Crucially, family and friends in the gemstone and jewellery industry and the gemstone trade gave me access to the partners and support that I needed to create a niche and USP - the ethical sourcing and supply of colored gemstones and bespoke jewellery from mine to market.
Great Companies: What do you think are the few main things which are most important for a successful business?
Philip Spencer: The mining and processing of colored gems is a multi-billion-dollar international industry. Despite the high profile, an ethical, sustainable mine-to-market supply chain for these materials is a high priority to reduce the impact on the physical environment and quality of life for laborers.
Our mission is to deliver precious gemstones and bespoke jewellery to business and retail markets in an ethical and cost effective way. We ensure the integrity of our products, from mine to retail market, with a fair trade approach.
One of our key USPs is a hybrid proposal to an often impersonal buying journey - achieved with a consultative based sales process and personalised 'click & buy'. The impact of the business model is increased choice and satisfaction.
By cultivating our working relationships, we are in in a strong position for growth. With an additional capital injection, we plan to increase revenues and employ extra staff to meet the increasing demand for ethical gemstones and jewellery.