Words: José Berrocoso

Joanne Milner joined Garrard as Chief Executive in February 2016, launching a period of regeneration and renewal for the much-loved British jeweller. Drawing inspiration from the House’s long and distinguished heritage, Joanne is focused on building a brand that is as relevant to women today as it is proud of its rich legacy.

Her luxury expertise is informed by four years as Chief Executive of the etiquette specialist, Debrett’s, where she made the esteemed British business great again and its advice newly desirable in this digital age.

Fifteen years in private equity complements this experience, enabling Joanne to balance focusing on global growth with strengthening Garrard’s reputation as one of Britain’s greatest and most trusted jewellers.

Her accomplishments since joining the House include the opening of its first boutiques in China, Beijing and Shanghai, raising Garrard’s profile in the Middle East and expanding the digital reach of the business, both organically and through digital luxury platforms, driving omnichannel sales.

Joanne was also responsible for reinstating the apprenticeship scheme at Garrard and was instrumental in earning the House the Butterfly Mark from Positive Luxury, which is awarded to luxury brands that are verified as having a positive impact on people and the planet.
In recognition of her contribution and commitment to the jewellery industry, in 2019 Joanne was invited to become a Freeman of The Goldsmiths’ Company.

“At Garrard we are proud of our remarkable history and have a very compelling story to tell. My goal is to ensure we remain the go-to British jeweller for the next 300 years,” says Joanne. “We are also renowned for delivering the very best service at our flagship store in London. By making this available on a global scale, many more clients are now able to discover what makes Garrard so unique.”

Garrard expands further into the Middle East with Kuwait opening at the Ali Bin Ali Luxury multi-brand store. This expansion within Kuwait will also showcase a curated selection of Garrard jewels, many of which will be available in the GCC for the first time.

City Pages Magazine: Could you kindly share some insights into why you chose to expand into Kuwait with Ali Bin Ali? Why was now the right time?
Joanne Milner: Our presence in Kuwait represents the exciting next stage in our ongoing expansion within the Middle East. We wanted to better serve our loyal Kuwaiti clientele and we are thrilled that they are now able to enjoy the wonderful Garrard experience much closer to home. Since partnering with Ali Bin Ali Luxury, our relationship has gone from strength to strength, and our latest opening in Kuwait reinforces this.

CPM: What are Garrard’s future plans for further expansion into the GCC region?
JM: We are known for delivering the very best service at our flagship store in London and opening this up on a global scale is central to our vision for the brand moving forward. The GCC market has always been important to us, and Garrard is becoming well-established across the region. We are thrilled to be expanding our digital presence in the GCC with Ounass, as well as our physical presence with the recent opening in Kuwait. We also look forward to welcoming new clients to discover the world of Garrard. In terms of further expansion, we are amidst planning the opening of a store in Riyadh – stay tuned!

CPM: What Garrard collections are displayed?
JM: A curated selection of Garrard jewels is showcased in Kuwait; many of which are available in the GCC for the first time. With precedence given to the new and the vibrant, they include a range of diamond Albemarle jewels, that are a bold and abstract twist on a much-loved collection, alongside our Fanfare Symphony, Wings Embrace and Aloria collections.

CPM: What specific designs or stones do particularly well in the GCC?
JM: Coloured gemstones are a favourite, as evidenced by the ongoing demand for our Fanfare Symphony collection. The malachite and emerald pieces have proved especially popular. The wonderful contrast between the banded hardstone malachite and the lush vibrancy of faceted emeralds really resonates with our GCC clients.

CPM: Do you find the jewellery market similar or vastly different across countries?
JM: Organically, we are increasingly being recognized for our bright and beautiful stones, which is something that every market is gravitating towards.

CPM: What is the Garrard of today?
JM: The Garrard of today is colourful, contemporary and conscientious. We are committed to building a sustainable future, which is not only reassuring to our clients but also makes our business stronger.

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