Mandy-Sargeant,-RL-Austen

This year has seen R.L. Austen move from a small retail environment to a much larger property, consisting of a ground floor and first floor retail area. For Mandy, this represents exciting new possibilities, especially in terms of visual merchandising. She says: “We now have a double-fronted unit of over 30ft of window space with jewellery and gifts on the ground floor and a dedicated watch department on the first floor.”

R.L. Austen was established in 1794 and Mandy was determined not to lose this heritage in the new space. She says: “Our new shop had to be brought up to the 21st century but not lose its identity. New showcases of cherry and walnut have lightened the shop floor and work well with our dedicated Rolex area.” She adds: “We still retain our customers from many years standing but we are now seeing many more younger customers who think that RL Austen is a new shop in town.”

With footfall and turnover up since the move, Mandy has also been able to take on new prestigious luxury brands who are equally impressed with the fresh surroundings. “Certainly as things stand at the present time our future looks good and should go from strength-to-strength.”

Aside from jewellery, Mandy breeds and shows Shetland ponies and has been involved with horses from a young age. She says: “When my son and daughter were very young we decided to buy a small Shetland pony for them to ride and this is really why I am now still with Shetlands. I no longer ride but I enjoy having a breeding stud of fourteen ponies of all ages. I am a judge for Shetland ponies and this can take me abroad or throughout the UK with a recent visit to the Shetland Isles to judge their main show.” In case you were wondering, Mandy is pictured with one of her favourite home-bred mares Champlers Vesta, and her colt foal, Champlers Viking.