December 6 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 18, 2013
Ipswich jewellers runners-up in Ipswich Independents’ Competition
Mark and Tessa Riley originally came to Ipswich when his job brought him to town; managing another jewellers.
But nine years ago they decided to branch out on their own and launched Riley and Riley in the Buttermarket.
“I have been in the business for 32 years now,” he said, “I have always been in the trade.
“Tessa is younger, of course. but we did meet through it, and she has been in it all her working life too.
“This is the first business we have run of our own.”
Mark had worked in a number of management roles for Prestons, a Bolton-based business which took over the former Croydons jewellers in Ipswich.
“I had worked for them almost 20 years, managing shops in various parts of the country.”
He had left Prestons, planning to open his own business, before that company closed its Ipswich store in 2002.
“We had already been looking for premises and opened here nine years ago.”
The stylish premises, which they fitted out themselves with Italian display cabinets, had previously been home to a travel agents and an opticians.Working in a jewellers is heart-warming, he said, because they are often serving customers in happier times, when they are buying wedding or engagement rings, or presents for special occasions.
“It is one of the best things about the jewellery business. We are dealing with people at their happy times.
“People who have bought engagement rings come back for wedding rings, or later for eternity rings.
“We have built up a strong group of customers.
“We have a lot of regular customers who come in to collect certain things.”
The collectables included charms and other items under the Aagaard - Lovelinks brand, Muru and V (British made vintage inspired silver jewellery.
Mark and Tessa have developed their own in-house brand, Creo, which includes bead, silver and gilt jewellery.
Mark makes a variety of silver items at his workbench including silver torc bangles and Aldeburgh Pebbles.
He collects unusually-shaped pebbles from the beach, makes a mould, and produces individual pendants.
“Every one is unique,” he said, “and the pebble can go back on the beach afterwards.”
Riley and Riley was chosen as a runner-up in the Ipswich Independents Awards for 2013, alongside Alaturka Turkish Restaurant.
“We were absolutely delighted,” he said, “We had over 500 people who nominated us.
“We are really pleased. You really do need to highlight and support independent and individual businesses in the town. They are so important.
“Business hasn’t been what it was three years ago.
“It has been hard for the last couple of years. Confidence is returning.
“It is going in the right direction now, but it still has some way to go.”
Earlier this year they expanded when they took over a jewellery branch in Aldeburgh High Street, after the retirement of its previous owner.
“It has been a successful move. It is going well,” he added, “though it is a totally different dynamic and trade to here in Ipswich,” added Mark.
52 Buttermarket, Ipswich
High Street, Aldeburgh