Beo London: Starting up in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter

After launching her own jewellery brand in October last year, Béo London founder Kelly Hart has already opened up shop in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter and is set for further growth. BQ caught up with Kelly to hear about her start-up journey so far.

Bringing together the skills of a select team of designers, artisans, and craftsmen, Béo offers a selection of designed and crafted jewellery trading from both its Birmingham store and online.

By launching Béo, Kelly has setup a business she hopes will break away from the modern jewellery shop business model, by bringing complete personalisation to the table.

Speaking to BQ, Kelly said: “There are three sections to the business; bespoke, collections, and designer.

“The designer section is set to support new and up and coming designers and brands.  The bespoke section creates unique one off designs of the customer’s choice guided by an experienced designer. Collections are previously designed pieces of jewellery by Kelly hart available to buy.

“I have always wanted to develop my own brand; from a young age I had developed a love of art, 3d design and fashion. 

“Many of my family members have set up their own companies, so I guess it is in my blood! I also have a few friends that have established businesses, therefore I had an insight into what it could be like to run your own and the highs and lows that come with it, but still had the drive to go for it!”

When starting up the company, Kelly looked to her family and peers for support and also sought finance from other avenues.

She told BQ: “My business venture was funded by a mixture of both my person savings and funding from the bank. I wrote a business plan and secured a business loan with RBS within a few days of setting up.

“I get advice and support from many places; reading blogs, forums and researching online.  I am also lucky to have support of my partner, also an extremely experienced product designer who is great to bounce design, marketing ideas and company strategy around with.

“I have friends in different areas of business such as web development, accountancy and design.  All have been a great source of support and advice. I am also constantly educating myself in different aspects of business and jewellery, completing courses in the basics of book keeping, social media marketing, and gemmology.”

As online retailers continue to grow, Kelly knew a tidy shop front wouldn’t be enough to carry the business forward. This led to the launch of the Béo website.

She added: “My biggest challenge has also been my steepest learning curve, which was building my website myself, with no prior web experience.”

Looking forward, Kelly is eager to continue growing the brand and is also looking to take on staff.

“I have some great ideas for new Béo collections and collaborations and my focus will be working on these, researching which trade shows will work for me and compiling a marketing campaign around my new collections.  I’d also like to expand my team in the near future.”

Speaking about life as a start-up entrepreneur, Kelly believes it is the constant work load which is the most challenging aspect of the lifestyle.

She said: “The most challenging is that as a start-up it’s not your ordinary 9 to 5 job, you are always working or thinking about it. 

“The most rewarding thing about being a start-up for me is the diversity; one minute you're wearing your finance hat, the next you're thinking about designing collections and going to exotic places for inspiration.”

Standing out from the crowd and ensuring the brand was different to other high street jewellers, Kelly looked to make the brand as personal as possible to win over her customers.

“Part of the Béo philosophy is to create a personal experience for the customer, educating them about the products and what the best available piece they can get for a specific budget.

“Béo focuses on the bespoke experience allowing them to become a designer and involving them in every part of the process.

“In a year I see Béo with a bigger team of people a new design studio in Birmingham, expanding the collections and designer area on the website. In the future I would like to have design studios in London, New York, Belfast, and Birmingham.”

As Béo London continues to grow, BQ will continue to cover Kelly’s story as the business goes from strength-to-strength.


In partnership with: Startup Britain