Thomas Sabo partners with Preston jewellers, Peter Jackson

Thomas Sabo rings

Thomas Sabo rings - Credit: Archant

A unique partnership has helped to bring some added sparkle to a Lancashire shopping complex

Neighbours in the St George's Centre

Neighbours in the St George's Centre - Credit: Archant

ONE of the country’s leading jewellers and the international super-brand Thomas Sabo have joined forces to create a unique partnership in Preston.

At the tender age of 18, Peter Jackson opened his first jewellery shop in the city’s St George’s Centre in 1982 and since then he and his team have developed the business into an award-winning enterprise expanding into Blackburn, Bury and Carlisle.

In recent years, Peter has built up a strong bond with Thomas Sabo, the iconic supplier of global brands and unique designs with more than 300 outlets across the world.

So, when the store next to his shop in Preston became vacant, Peter was keen to expand and develop further. ‘I talked to the Thomas Sabo’s UK managing director, Jon Crossick, and we considered some sort of franchise but we decided the relationship was such that we didn’t need a formal contract,’ says Peter.

Peter Jackson at the new Thomas Sabo store

Peter Jackson at the new Thomas Sabo store - Credit: Archant

The result is two adjacent, inter-connecting shops – one branded Peter Jackson and the other Thomas Sabo but both businesses owned by Peter. This is the first time Thomas Sabo has agreed to such an arrangement.

‘It means they are putting a huge amount of trust in us – we are the custodians of their brand,’ he says. ‘While the shop is to all intents and purposes branded as Thomas Sabo it is our business.’

A major refurbishment of both shops means the St George’s Centre has two glittering new attractions. It has also boosted employment with eight more joining Peter’s team, bringing the total to around 50.

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‘In the time we have been in business there have been huge changes in jewellery trends and that’s reflected in the success of Thomas Sabo,’ says Peter, who is married with five children.

A Thomas Sabo display case

A Thomas Sabo display case - Credit: Archant

‘People now are much more brand conscious and not just for watches but for jewellery, too. Thomas Sabo is taking a leading role in the market because its range is vast and it appeals to such a wide range of people, producing delicate pieces alongside real rock chick jewellery. People fall in love with brands like this and become very loyal.’

Loyalty is something Peter has instilled in the business and it pays off. His staff turnover is negligible and some have been part of the team for 30 years.

‘I give my staff huge respect and you tend to find that you get that back,’ he says. ‘We really like to look after them because it’s important to have a happy team. I want their friends to be jealous of them because they work here.’

When the work on the new stores was at its most intensive with 30 builders working on site, Peter conjured up sundowners – a tray of gin and tonics. ‘Not that I make a habit of that,’ he laughs.

The stunning new interior

The stunning new interior - Credit: Archant

Peter left school when he was 15 and went straight into the family jewellery business for a couple of years ‘before I decided I was unemployable,’ he laughs. ‘I was fortunate enough to have a supportive family and was able to convince a bank that I was ready to open my own business despite being 18.’

He started off with Seiko as the top watch brand and his most expensive diamond ring was £800. While the Peter Jackson stores continue to cater for a wide range of customers, you can also pick up time-pieces by the likes of Raymond Weil and Tag Heuer for many thousands.

Several awards have come their way, including the coveted Independent Jeweller of the Year title, but perhaps the most prized accolade had nothing to do with jewellery.

In 2013, he was awarded an MBE for his work with many local charities, including the Trinity Hospice in Blackpool, where he is a trustee, and with the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. ‘We involve staff across the business in fundraisers, with every member taking part. It creates a good feeling and gives us all a reality check - and it allows us to see the amazing work that some people do when helping others. My father taught me to help people less fortunate’

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