Grow Wellington has launched it's premiere Wellington Innovation Profile and has featured the Inspired Group alongside 17 other innovative and developing Wellington businesses. 

The very first Innovation Profile focuses on the diversiry, distribution and density of innovation in the ICT and high value manufacturing sectors accross the Wellington Region.

The Inspired Group was selected out of over 900 businesses, this database was then reduced to 300 by identifying those which were highly innovative. From the 300 the database was reduced to 50 by those leading in their sector by innovation.

Read the full article below:

Creativity and quality of craft behind jewellery brand’s international success

Twenty-three-years-old and newly married with a large mortgage, Ian Douglas started a small jewellery gallery and workshop in 1981 in Kelburn, one of Wellington’s more affluent suburbs. Madly ambitious, his dream was to build the best jewellery store in New Zealand’.

 Working as a retailer and designer by day and craftsman by night, the business grew and so did his ambitions. He decided he wanted to build the best jewellery store in the world.

 Jewellery has changed a lot since Ian founded The Village Goldsmith. There are now manufacturers in India and China with thousands of staff producing huge volumes of high-end diamond jewellery for sale all over the world.

 While some people in Ian’s position might see such developments as a threat, he sees them as great opportunities. “Those big manufacturers are aiming for vertical integration as we have, but they don’t have the design or prototyping expertise we do, so they come to us for that.”

 Ian believes that anyone can compete on price but “when a design resonates with a customer, we know we’re on track”. He attributes the company’s international reputation to the exceptional quality of creative talent in New Zealand. “Every design starts with a hand drawn sketch.” He deliberately recruits architects, artists, graphic and industrial designers to ensure there is a breadth and depth of design skills across the business.

 His global ambitions are well supported by business partners Chris Benham (CEO), Christine Douglas (COO), a team of 22 staff in Wellington and customers all over the world including China, the US, Hong Kong and India.

 The boutique and innovative design and manufacturing business has recently evolved into The Inspired Jewellery Group which includes: The Village Goldsmith (its flagship store in Wellington); Inspired Jewellery (its specialist international brand); and Wilshi (its brand which allows men to propose with a temporary engagement ring before a couple chooses the perfect ring together).

 Ian says there is an upside to being distant from its international markets: “Most countries in the world are constrained by their history and tradition. That’s not a recipe for innovation. It’s in our Kiwi character to be different.”

 Adapting to suit the needs of different markets has been fundamental to the company’s success. Visits to new markets with trade commissioners via NZTE help them make connections they wouldn’t otherwise have. “We always do our homework first – some countries have traditions and customs that mean we need to rethink almost everything.” In China, building strong relationships with government is important. In contrast, Ian jokes that “in India, it’s more important to understand cricket!”.

 Ian says there is no better place than Wellington. “It’s the simple things. I walk to work every day – I couldn’t afford to live so close to work in New York or London. We rely on graduates from Wellington’s world-class design schools. You see people you know around town – it’s a very open, creative, collaborative and connected place, and full of interesting characters. For all those reasons, we’re happy to call Wellington home”. 

Find out more about The Inspired Jewellery Group.