'Immersion sessions' on the cards as Scots jewellery chain Laings outlines multi-million investment
Scottish jewellery and watch business Laings has outlined plans for a multi-million-pound expansion and makeover including new workshop visits.
The family-run firm, which last year celebrated 180 years of trading, said it planned to invest £10 million into the company over the next two years as it strengthens its presence across the UK.
Through six generations of family ownership, the firm has grown to become a luxury jeweller with six showrooms across four locations – Glasgow Edinburgh, Southampton and Cardiff. It now plans to transform its showrooms and workshops, “reimagining the customer experience while ensuring traditional jewellers’ crafts are kept alive for generations to come”.
The first in a series of transformations will be unveiled this autumn with work already underway to treble the size of the St David’s Centre Cardiff showroom, allowing the company to introduce Swiss watch brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe to its Welsh customers.
Bosses are also looking to “revolutionise” the way customers at the store experience diamonds and jewellery with the introduction of private viewings. The expanded showroom is set to include dedicated diamond and jewellery areas so that clients can view the curated collections in private with a glass of champagne.
Laings’ workshops in Scotland are also set to see “significant” investment with clients invited to join the watchmakers and goldsmiths behind the benches to see their skills in action.
Upon opening, the workshops will play host to “client immersion sessions”, luxury events and “meet the makers” demonstrations to showcase expertise.
With a recruitment plan spanning all areas of the business, the company aims to grow its team by up to 25 per cent, providing opportunities for apprentices and existing watchmakers and goldsmiths in locations where there have traditionally been fewer positions available.
Stuart McDowell, retail director at Laings, said: “The expansion in Cardiff is in response to our client’s enquiries – catering to the watch collectors of Wales who might not have Laings at the forefront of their minds now, but hopefully they soon will.
“The showroom is right in the heart of the capital city and our expanded presence means we can give the brands we represent the stage to shine. No longer will Cardiff clients need to travel outside their home city to access these brands.”
Over the next 24 months, the company will embark on a “journey of evolution to challenge jewellery and watchmaking retail experiences”.
Chief executive Joe Walsh added: “The workshops will create a special experience for our customers. Not only will they be able to talk to the watchmakers and see them working, they’ll also be able to attend events where they can gain a deeper insight into the craft – taking watches apart, seeing how the mechanics work and putting them back together.
“People are looking for experiences now and that’s what we want – to deliver a new form of retail that captures the imagination of our clients.”
Laings opened its first retail space in Glasgow in 1939 and today three of its showrooms are located in the Grade A listed Argyll Arcade jewellery quarter.