A top UK award is just the latest highlight for Sonny’s Jewellers, an independent who is delivering added sparkle to the Jewellery Quarter
An independent jeweller in Birmingham is sparkling in style on the national stage. Sonny’s based in Vyse Street, has just claimed one of the UK’s most coveted accolades after winning the Retail Sales Team of the Year title at the UK Jewellery Awards.
The honour is the latest high point for Manish ‘Sonny’ Jogia, who aged just 27-years-old, borrowed money from friends, family and any other finance available to open his first jewellery retail store in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter in 2015.
Sonny’s Jewellers started out as a brother and sister team and in six years they have grown to be a team of 25. Sonny says his dream, vision and passion has always been to be the best in the Jewellery Quarter – and now he has a UK Jewellery Award to prove it!
“My father and grandfather were jewellery manufacturers in the Jewellery Quarter, and I grew up playing in their small workshops,” said Sonny. “Back then it was a very different world, and we are allowed access to all areas. Health and safety would never allow that these days. This gave me my first buzz for the industry. Seeing designs sketched out, models made and heading out on the road selling these items during my holidays to retailers was incredible.”
After graduating from university studying Business Economics, Sonny says he always had a dream of putting his life lessons into action. “This is how I started Sonny’s, as a jeweller that married together the manufacturing of fine jewellery direct to the public.” With the support of a few suppliers, Sonny slowly filled his store with stock and then set up an in-house workshop. As the business developed and grew, Sonny’s opened a sister store, JQ Diamonds in the midst of the 2020 lockdown.
Sonny admits opening the new outlet during the worst of the pandemic restrictions was ‘a bit of a gamble’. He said: “When I first heard about the lockdown, I was terrified, Once I knew we could weather the storm we started planning our next steps. During the 2020 lockdown, between January and April, we refreshed the store at Sonny’s, made it safer for the customer during Covid and opened more floor space, increasing the amount of stock on display.”
Sonny says his businesses concentrate on delivering the three P’s – products, people and passion. “We carry one of the widest ranges of jewellery, available immediately in the Jewellery Quarter,” he explained. “Using the knowledge and expertise of our people – highly skilled diamond experts, gemmologists, designers and goldsmiths – Sonny’s offer a completely bespoke service that takes the clients ideas from concept to reality. And our passion is that everything we do is centred around the customer experience.”
While the big chains have their place in the industry, Sonny says they don’t pose a big threat. “We pride ourselves on our customer service and being able to bring a wide variety of products direct to the customer. We also offer a bespoke service so if we don’t have what you want, we can make it or source it for you. By being independent, we are also able to pivot and alter our strategies when we are faced with challenges, such as the pandemic.”
Looking to the future, Sonny says: “In the short term I would like to see Sonny’s become the family jeweller for everyone in the Midlands and over time expand and grow to be the nation’s family jewellers. We are always looking for how we can improve and grow. We are aiming to continue our year-on-year growth from £500,000 four years ago to £2million last year which beat our 2019 figures. We achieved this despite being in a pandemic and losing three months of trading. Furthermore, we will continue to grow and expand in other areas of Birmingham in order to expand as a business.”
So, as we continue to experience difficult economic effects from the pandemic, what words of advice does Sonny have for others looking to set up in business? “Plan and look at the data,” he says. “I have made a lot of mistakes and I am sure I will make more, but over time I have learned that by using the data which is out there and by planning, the difficulties you face will be easier to overcome. Also, don’t be afraid to give it a go. What is the worst that could happen? You will just end up back where you started – and many entrepreneurs will tell you, they all failed once.”