EC One was established in 1997 by husband and wife team Jos and Alison Skeates. England was in a new era of politics, music and fashion and our bit of London – the postcode of EC1 – was a great place to be. We opened our first jewellery store complete with open plan workshop, on Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell.
From the beginning, part of Jos and Alison’s vision has been to source fashion-led jewellery pieces from around the world. As well as finding new jewellery designers and collections at the bi-annual London, Paris and New York jewellery shows, EC One makes a point of encouraging and nurturing developing jewellery design talent. For example, EC One’s graduate design competition, EC One Unsigned, not only offers recent jewellery design graduates the chance to stock with EC One, but to monopolise on our experience in marketing and design and develop their collections. Over the years, EC One has discovered great jewellery talents, from Alex Monroe and Jana Reinhardt to Ungar and Ungar and Niessing.
Fifteen years on, and EC One has established itself as a leader in the jewellery industry. Our position as an independent jewellery shop has won us ‘Boutique Retailer of the Year’ at the 2011 UK Jewellery Awards, following previous wins in ‘Best for Fashion’. Other awards include First Place in Retail Jeweller’s “Inspiring Independents”, and London Magazine’s “Great Little Shop Awards”. Meanwhile, Jos is still active within the Goldsmiths’ Company, and sits on their Craft & Design Council, whereas Ali’s eye for design has led her to sit on the selection committee for London Fashion Week. Is it any wonder they were both included in Professional Jeweller’s Hot 100?
More important to us than industry recognition, though, is that the EC One brand is trusted and valued by our customers. With the majority of our staff having a background in jewellery design, and consultations with our goldsmiths available for bespoke hand made jewellery or engagement rings, customers can be confident that they are receiving the best advice possible. We know we’re doing something right when customers drop by for a chat when they’re passing, or recommend us to friends.
One of the things that makes EC One unusual is our on-site workshop at our Clerkenwell branch. Here our goldsmiths make bespoke pieces, carry out repairs and re-model customers’ jewellery to suit their wishes. Using the most up-to-date techniques, our talented and experienced goldsmiths can do anything from repairing a broken chain to designing and crafting your dream engagement ring.
EC One – The First Fifteen Years
Jos & Ali reminisce about the highlights of their first 15 years at EC One!