IWD: Interview with LBJ Jewellery Director, Annabelle Davis
To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting influential women within the jewellery industry all month long - Discovering how they got to where they are today and the strong female figures that have inspired them along the way. Last week we had the pleasure of speaking with journalist and Editor of The Jeweller Magazine, Belinda Morris.
This week we're staying closer to home and chatting with our very own Annabelle Davis, Director of LBJ Jewellery who now runs the family business.
Tell us a little bit about your role and history at LBJ.
The last 5 years has been a real journey in terms of my role and responsibilities at my fathers company LBJ. It has been part of my life growing up and I think I always knew somewhere that I wanted to work in the business eventually, it was just about the timing. At the beginning I took a big pay cut from my job In London, moved in with my Papa in Northampton and learnt the ropes from the bottom. Now I oversee all aspects of the business from the accounts, administrative activities, buying, selling on the road, and everything else that comes with running a small business - ‘head of everything’ :P
What do you love most about your job?
I love the diversity of the job, but mostly it’s about the people and the product. We are so lucky to work with talented designers and makers all over the world, and also our customers - our ‘raison d’etre’. They are the heart of our business, and many we consider as friends due to the relationships we have formed and the length of time we have worked together.
How did you get to where you are today?
I studied Chinese and Management at the University of Leeds, I have always loved languages and this combination - although hard, was highly considered. We spent 3 years in Leeds with our second year in Shanghai - one of the best years of my life. After that I worked for multinational retailers Uniqlo and Ted Baker on the shop floor and in head office. My last job was working within the e-commerce team at Ted Baker and that definitely gave me a strong foundation for understanding the importance and know-how to put together the LBJ wholesale website (with the help from Lion Sorbet).
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career so far?
I am not sure - my career has definitely not been easy - I have had many ups and downs. I think take as many opportunities that come your way as you don’t know where they might lead.
What female role models have you had in your life and why?
I think my biggest female role models have definitely been by mother, sister, and all of my girlfriends who have been part of my life. I always looked up to y sister as she is 9 years older than me and everything she did I admired and wanted to be like her. My Maman is an incredibly strong, loving and an astute business woman in her own right. I strongly believe that all of the women in my life have made me the woman I am today.
What are you most proud of doing?
I’m not sure it phased me at the time, but moving to China when I was 19, when I look back to it, it was quite a big deal. Also climbing Kilimanjaro and being on QVC in China and Paris - mini career highlight.
What did you dream of doing when you were little?
I actually wanted to be an aromatherapist… random but I loved massaging feet! Retail is definitely in my blood and that has been evident with all the jobs I have had since I was 16.
Which female jewellery designers are ones to watch?
We work with some brilliant designers and makers, so it’s only right that I mention them. We have worked with Hagit for over 30 years and following our recent trip to Israel we will be bringing out some new collections with her this year. She is an incredibly talented designer, the way she sculpts silver is an art form.
We also work with Saphirim Rahav, a manufacturer in Israel and their team of designers are bringing out some very exciting and beautiful jewellery this year.
What advice would you give to any budding female entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself - even if it is hard. I still need to listen to this advice all the time, but following your gut instinct is really important. Don’t be afraid to take risks and try, it will work out in the end. It’s very rare to find the one perfect job, it doesn’t exist for many people but there are good elements to all businesses and roles that will spark your creativity, that you will enjoy and those are the things to cling on to.