London jeweller Vincent Seymour, co-founder of The Wedding Ring Workshop, says going online was the main facet of what has become a gem of an operation. Three years ago, Seymour and his partner Simon Lewis augmented their high street shop by creating thediamondshop.co.uk. Today, there's a sister wedding-ring site (weddingringworkshop.com), plus two new web portals in the pipeline. The online presence is now responsible for 60% of the company's turnover. Says Seymour: 'When we first launched thediamondshop.co.uk in 1998, we hired people wearing sandwich boards to advertise the site. Today it stands on its own and brings in more than pounds 20,000 each month.' Orders have come from customers as far away as Gran Canaria (for a pounds 10,000 sparkler) and as near as the doorman from a local nightclub. One couple even flew in from Nigeria after seeing the web site.
'Before we went online,' recalls Seymour, 'most of our customers came from within the trade. The web has allowed us to get in front of everyday customers.' As a reflection of this, the site now includes photographs of diamonds, information on gem types, cuts, colour and clarity, and an explanation of the carat weight system. Seymour has just signed a deal with the wedding-planning site confetti.co.uk to run competitions and promotions. Sparkling.