As Production Manager at Deakin & Francis, Sue oversees the manufacture of cufflinks from start to finish and is an expert on the thousands of Deakin & Francis cufflink designs.
Growing up, Sue’s parents owned two antique and jewellery stores, ‘that’s where my love of antique jewellery came from. My sisters and I would potter around the shops in the school holidays and at weekends, so we were always around antique jewellery.’
After leaving school, Sue worked for luxury jewellery store, Mappin & Webb. ‘Our parents never put pressure on us to go into the jewellery industry, it was just what I enjoyed and I’ve stayed in the industry ever since.’
Nearly 20 years ago, Sue joined Deakin & Francis as an Assistant Production Manager. ‘I would process wholesale orders and assist with ensuring the manufacturing process went smoothly. A few years later I took up more of a customer centred role, keeping an eye on customer orders and ensuring they had everything they needed in their stores.’
As a familiar face at Deakin & Francis, Sue has become a friendly voice at the end of the phone for many customers, occasionally visiting trade shows and meeting people after months of telephone conversations. ‘I have a great relationship with lots of our customers, some of them I have been speaking to on the telephone for years so when they appear on our stand at trade shows, it’s great to finally put a face to the name!’
As well as communicating with customers, Sue has always been very involved in the production and became Production Manager in 2014. ‘It’s my responsibility to make sure that our craftsmen, enamellers and finishers have all of the necessary tools and components they need to fulfill cufflink orders on time.’
Sue’s personal love for antique jewellery is apparent and she can often be seen around the office wearing a mizpah brooch, a special piece from her mothers jewellery collection. Mizpah brooches were popular pieces of sentimental jewellery from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. WW1 Soldiers would gift them to their sweethearts before leaving for the war, as a token of their love. ‘My most treasured piece of jewellery is actually a gold watch which my mum and dad gave to me for my 21st Birthday and had engraved. I only wear that on very special occasions’.
Having such an important position at Deakin & Francis doesn’t come without its rewards, ‘the most enjoyable part of my job is completing an order and having happy customers. It can be challenging just after trade shows as lots of orders come in, but our craftsmen work really hard and when you hear how much the customer loves their new vitreous enamel cufflinks, it’s all worth it.’