HOT 100 2013: Tom Milner and Joe Milner, Tustains

The brothers behind the Royal Leamington Spa store Tustains go from strength to strength. A year ago we pro?led them in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100, telling how the duo Tom and Joe Milner – who took over from dad Barry three years ago – had effected a modern, sexy shop?t.

Looking back, Tom says: “The refurbishment in 2011 was very symbolic, and almost every system we had has changed, but in terms of Tustains DNA, the task is probably maintaining it rather than ‘Joe and Tomming’ it.”

Nonetheless the Joe and Tom effect has taken hold of this 118-year-old store and Tom reports that in the 12 months up to June 13, revenue is up 10%. The duo has convincingly repositioned the store at the premium end, their ambitious improvements including delivery of a new website (ready to go live “any time now”) and a steady upping of the watch offer.

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They already retail landmark names and looking ahead Joe says their ambitions “include a lucrative website, exclusive own brand jewellery, in house goldsmith and watchmaker, destination standalone watch gallery, and more time off”.

They have battled against the loss of key personnel this year, losing three key staff since the refurb, but they are not letting it slow them down or dampen their spirits and their appearance in this Hot 100 is testament to their increasing relevance.

As young guys in a prestigious industry they represent a real freshness, but they do so with genuine respect for their trade. Tom says: “If I’m honest, I like the idea of a trade where you have independent shops in towns all over that are generations old but still totally relevant, in the hands of the current dude battling against whatever the threat or competition of his particular time might be. The thought that we might be the underdogs today makes it even more exciting.”

This is a duo that can definitely make the business feel exciting, as they did this year with an Omega event that coincided with the release of James Bond film Skyfall and if they keep talking and playing a game as good as this, they will only attract more marquee brands to the store, which is exactly the plan.

The Retail Titans were sponsored by Bremont.

To see the full version of the Hot 100, click here.

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