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Anna Blackburn: A sparkling performance



Family-owned jewelry business Beaverbrooks shined brightly in 2019 when it celebrated its centennial and its most profitable year financially ever. Then it was the year 2020.

As the director of operations, Anna Blackburn, explains: “We were at the top of an upswing. We then came out of the centenary year and entered lockdown from the highest of highs down to lower lows.”

Stores shut their doors, and uncertainty was present, and, as retail businesses around the world, the St Annes firm was thrown into a world that was not yet known.

It’s fair to say that it has performed very well. In reality, it can even be said that Beaverbrooks has experienced a successful disease. To quote the government’s slogan “Building back,” it has done more effectively.


In the year of the centenary, the profits exceeded PS17.8m. The company aims to surpass PS30m which is an annual increase that is more than 30 percent.

It’s a fantastic performance that has the unique ethos of Beaverbrooks at the heart of it. There’s beyond this Lancashire business than the sale of jewelry, and it’s a success in achieving them.

As part of its goal to “enrich lives,” Beaverbrooks contributes 20% of the profits it earns. Additionally, it has been a regular participant in the United Kingdom’s annual ‘100 Great Companies to work for’ being ranked for 18 consecutive years. In addition, it was listed as the top ‘Best Place to work in the UK in the year 2021/22.

The more successful we become in our business, the more profitable we become, and the more we can contribute to the community.

The attention, even before the pandemic, was on the people. When Covid hit, that focus grew. Beaverbrooks made significant investments in PPE and safety measures throughout the company, rearranging the working environment in warehouses and stores and providing home-based work for the head office staff.


The bright room that is airy and spacious, which is surrounded by photos and documents that reflect the company’s rich background, Anna, who has been recognized by many as among the UK’s top leaders, considers the driving factors that led to what she calls a “brilliant year.”

She states: “It’s a combination of things. The jewelry industry has performed very well. It has seen more income available, people not capable of traveling, and people getting fed up.

“We saw a lot of people who wanted to pamper themselves with the most exclusive Swiss watch. There were many engagements. Many people have wanted to present gifts to their loved ones to show how much they appreciate them during tough moments.”

She continues: “From the very beginning of the pandemic, we examined our strategy, reviewed our position, and considered the worst-case scenarios.”

“I believe that none of us anticipated that we’d be in a position to stay for the entire calendar year. However, we needed to ensure that we emerged from this, however, it was, as solid as we could. The colleagues were aware that they had our backs They knew they were the top priority for us.”


Beaverbrooks has 71 stores in the UK and employs around 1,000 employees. Anna insists that the company did not make any redundancies due to Covid.

She continues: “I had to spend time with landlords negotiating and having some fantastic discussions about partnerships. I also ensured that we were with the most forceful arguments we could. We worked with lots of our landlords, sharing the burden.

“We continue to put money into new products, transformed our entire office and warehouse to run our online-based business. We took 19 days to redesign our warehouse.

“During lockdown last year, we have created a brand new luxury prestige brand. We have also purchased two stores. The brand’s name is Loupe We are extremely excited about it. We believe it will become a game-changer in the market for luxury. Loupe is all about the quality of its products and a space where people want to be in.”

Loupe is an eyeglass used to make jewelry and is a crucial instrument for watchmakers. A Milton Keynes flagship store and an additional Croydon boutique are scheduled to open later in the year, and an online store is coming soon.


Along with the growth in online shopping, which has continued even though the country is opened its doors, massive rises in Beaverbrook’s mail order and phone sales.

Anna states: “We’ve talked a lot about confidence, about resilience and investment within the business.”

And she’s looking at the near future with cautious optimism despite the imminent inflation-driven crunch. “There are plenty of reasons why business could be a struggle,” she states. “But it is true that there are many reasons as there is to be a reason why our strengths as a business will not diminish.

“There’s the three-year recap on weddings. There will be a desire to mark meaningful life important events. This is why Beaverbrooks can help with the high-quality of our products and the service we provide to our customers.

“There’s no doubt about the decline in footfall in the high street, but we are finding customers are spending longer in-store and are spending more money.”


Anna joined the company as a graduate student in the year 1998. After progressing through the ranks, she then accepted the post of chief executive officer in the year 2013.

The appointment was significant in two ways – she was the first female CEO and the first non-family member to assume the position.

The position was re-defined after she was appointed the managing director in 2018, which made her the only non-family member on the board and confirmed her position as the most critical member of the organization.

Anna’s first job was as a sales consultant for Beaverbrooks’ Trafford Centre store. She was a candidate after returning from a period of travel following her university studies in Manchester, in which she was a student of sociology and economics.

She said: “I thought it was the right time to find an opportunity to work. I love jewelry, so I noticed the job ad and then went to learn everything about the company prior to going to the interview.”


She was pleased with what she saw. “I’d spent the entire year in Africa working in one of the Aids orphanages located in Malawi. I was determined to help make a difference.” Anna explains.

“The company I worked for at the time was donating 10 percent of their profits every year to charities. That has now increased to 20 percent. I was amazed that I was able to participate in the company.

“It was the family feeling and the values that attracted me. I also had the chance to progress, even though I didn’t think I’d find myself in this post. I believed that there could be a career that was worth it. The people’s investment, cause, and work ethic all convinced me to say “yes to this; this is the place I’d like to go’.”

Anna was a frequent traveler across the United States throughout her career as her business grew, with a few trips near the north-western border region of Scotland and meeting the man she married at Beaverbrooks. They have two kids, aged between 10 and 14, and are located near their home at St Anne’s head office.

Anna has spent her entire career pioneering and is an individual who has made an impression. But when she is about making an impact, she believes that it’s not about gender. Instead, it’s about having what she refers to as “emotional intelligence.”


She continues: “It is the ability to make a tough decision and then justify the reasons for it. Empathy and compassion are the essential qualities of any leader, male or female.

“Our products are great however, we’re ultimately a business run by people. Empathy and listening to your customers are essential. It’s all about building relationships and the power of the people.”

Ensuring that people are empowered and developing Beaverbrooks’ values in business have been at the forefront of her work in developing Beaverbrooks and how it has emerged from recent difficulties.

She has set out to demonstrate that treating employees right is reflected in the bottom line. Since she took on her role as a senior manager, she has been working to build an extremely responsible, committed team with high levels of satisfaction with work.

To achieve this, she speaks regarding “fairness” and “trust” and a “level of honesty,” that is, she claims, “because we want people to do well.”


Anna says: “It’s a culture where people aren’t afraid to open their arms and admit they did the wrong thing’. It’s about accepting the idea of engaging in open and honest discussions.

“We are determined to be a good employer and an excellent workplace, which requires engagement from all employees. They must feel that they can contribute to the company’s success and feel believe they are accountable towards their team members, themselves, and the business.

“The feedback culture we’ve implemented is vital as it shifts the culture towards one that is collaborative. It’s the importance of having the appropriate people in the room, and being open, honest, and open.”

She also hosts focus groups that allow her to connect with colleagues from all over the business and hear their opinions.

Overall, it’s an effective strategy. Anna mentions that one in five of Beaverbrooks’ staff has been with the company for over ten years.


She adds that at the close of the current year’s financial year, the company will have donated PS17.5m to charitable causes since 2000 and is a patron of more than 250 charities.

She adds that “It’s not just about the charitable aspect. Our entire ethos and mission as a company is improving lives.

“The more successful we are as a business, the more profitable we are, the more we can give to the wider community, and that is a massive driver for me personally.”

The commitment to give continues for her even after she leaves the workplace. Anna is active in charitable work and cooks for The Streetlife homeless charity based in Blackpool.

She’s also done long-distance hikes to raise funds for charitable causes. She’s considering the possibility of a tower-to-tower virtual trek, which would mean walking similar to Blackpool from Paris by miles.


Walking was therapeutic during the epidemic as it allowed her to re-energize and develop her awareness.

Anna states: “I was exhausted by the time the year ended. I was constantly reassuring people and keeping things in order. I’ve learned a lot about myself through the ability to bounce back.”

And her tips for people at the beginning of their career? “Find something that you love and love. When you’re working on something that you like and enjoy doing and you’re skilled doing it well, you’ll have success.”

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Apple Plans To Double Its Digital Advertising Business Workforce.



The move raises industry concerns following the launch of privacy guidelines which make it impossible to create ads that are tailored to iPhone users

Apple plans to more than double its workforce within its rapidly growing digital advertising business in less than 18 months after it enacted radical privacy rules that crippled its larger competitors in the lucrative business.

The iPhone maker has about 250 employees per LinkedIn advertising platforms team. On the Apple careers website, it’s looking to fill additional 216 positions, which is quadruple the 56 positions that it had hired in the latter half of 2020. Apple denied the claims. However, it declined to provide any further details.

The digital advertising industry has been apprehensive over Apple’s plans for advertising since the company introduced privacy regulations this year, which have shaken up the market for digital ads worth $400 billion and made it more challenging to customize ads for Apple’s one billion+ iusers Phone .


Since the new policy was implemented, Facebook parent Meta, Snap and Twitter have lost billions of dollars in revenue and a significant amount in market valuations, even though other contributory factors exist.

“It was almost like a global panic,” Jade Arenstein, global service director at Incubate, a South African-based marketing performance firm, was quoted as saying about the impact of Apple’s recent changes.

The once-flourishing advertising business is “incredibly fast-growing”, according to an ad for jobs. The business has grown from a mere few hundred million dollars in revenue in the last quarter of 2010 to an estimated $5bn in the current year, according to research firm Evercore ISI, which expects Apple to be able to grow its $30 billion advertising revenue within four years.

Compared with Google and Facebook and their 2021 revenue from advertising was $115bn and $209bn. For instance, Apple’s business in advertising is small. The digital advertising industry is worried that it will increase due to establishing rules that critics and rivals believe provide it with an advantage.

“Building new ad systems to effectively compete with incumbents with tens of thousands of employees and 10 to 20 years of maturity would normally be an impossible task,” said Alex Austin, chief executive of the ad tech group Branch. “Unless,” he added, “you were somehow able to disadvantage those competitors on your platform.”


Apple has been for a long time the most prominent Big Tech outlier for not taking part in “surveillance capitalism” — the practice of offering customers free services but making money on their data through targeting ads on them.

“We could make a tonne of money if we monetized our customers — if our customers were our product,” chief executive Tim Cook said in 2018. “We’ve elected not to do that.”

However, with Apple having twice the number of developers who can purchase ads on the App Store over the last two years and preparing plans to expand, the critics are seeing Cook taking a significant turn.

David Steinberg, chief executive of Zeta Global, a marketing technology firm, said Apple had been “Machiavellian” and “brilliant” in implementing privacy regulations that required rivals to revamp their advertising infrastructure while creating an opening to fill the gap.

“They could build out (their advertising business) dramatically (and) the ‘air cover’ is they are protecting the consumer’s privacy,” said the researcher. Added.


Apple did not comment on its long-term plans. The job advertisements tell prospective employees that the company’s goals are nothing more than “redefining advertising” for a “privacy-centric” world.

The 216 positions Apple wants to fill are managers and designers of products, in addition to data engineers and sales experts.

An advertisement for an engineer, released on August 24, is a reference to “Apple’s most confidential and strategic plans” and explains how the company plans to “build the most secure technology-driven, technologically sophisticated . . . Supply (Marketplace) Platform and Demand Side Platform”.

These are the core aspects of an ad tech company that allows advertisers to purchase and sell ads across multiple exchanges, possibly advertising in mobile applications downloaded through the App Store. Apple may be able to consider apps for mobile “first-party” data because all activities take place on the iPhone, which is in line with its privacy regulations which ban third-party apps’ contentful monitoring of users.

The positions are predominantly located in the US. However, there are at least 27 roles in Europe and 12 in China and 12 in India and four located in Japan, as well as two positions in Singapore.


“That’s a giant team — that’s bigger than most small companies,” Arenstein said. Arenstein. “Wherever there is smoke, there is fire, and that’s some smoke.”

Apple has never been averse to advertising by itself. Its CEO Steve Jobs even tried to create an in-app advertising business in 2010, so that iPhone apps would remain completely free. Cook is against how personal information is purchased and traded by opaque third parties without iPhone users’ consent.

Yet, Apple set the rules regarding how advertisements should function and later expanding into this very subject is seen by many as unsatisfactory.

At the moment, it’s more secure — in terms of the economy of surveillance using an Apple phone over one that is a Google phone, as Google has designed its products to support surveillance, while Apple isn’t, in its essence, an advertising firm,” said Claire Atkin co-founder at Check My Ads, a surveillance agency. “But if Apple suddenly delves into that realm, they won’t have a that competitive advantage.”

Apple might be putting its image at risk if regulators and consumers oppose its privacy claims which have been a significant part of the recent iPhone campaigns. If the argument prevails, Apple would have an unobstructed runway.


Margo Kahnrose, Chief Marketing Officer at Skai, an omnichannel advertising platform, has said that she believes it “makes absolute logical sense” for Apple to develop its advertising network, following the lead of Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Adtech’s power has, she explained, for a long time been flowing from the decentralized “open web” to “walled gardens” run by one company that can control how ads are purchased and served, as well as how they are measured and tracked.

“The world has been unnerved by Apple’s ambitions for a long time,” she said. “There are a few companies that have vast quantities of power, and Apple is the one that is sleeping.

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Six Ways To Maintain A Growth Mindset While Running A Business.



To be successful as an entrepreneur, starting your business with the appropriate mentality is essential. A growth-oriented mindset implies always striving to improve the product or service you offer or the ability to communicate with people in your industry. Many companies start as small, but they expand in time to become massive businesses that impact people’s lives in the millions. However, this kind of growth isn’t a quick process – it requires a lot of time and effort, and it’s all with constant improvement.

Six Ways to Maintain a Growth Mindset While Running a Business.

1.) Change your outlook

If you’re in the business of managing, it’s easy to become caught up in the day-to-day and forget about the bigger perspective. However, if you’d like your business to flourish, keeping an attitude of growth is essential. Being able to open your mind to be fully engaged in the things you believe are the best for you is crucial.

2) Are you in your comfort zone?

One of the difficulties of managing a business is it’s easy to get into a routine. Once you’ve discovered a method that works, it might be tempting to stick to it. However, staying with the same formula with different outcomes isn’t intelligent. If you’re looking for your business to expand, make sure you alter things with slight adjustments to ensure that your business feels fresh and exciting.

3.) Be prepared to take the risk

Nobody said creating and running a company was easy, regardless of whether you’re putting together an exercise calendar or an entirely new line of clothing. It’s one of the most challenging tasks you’ll ever have to do. If you want to succeed, you must have a mindset of improvement. Create a staff around you. Find people who can assist your company in its growth. It’s not necessary to shoulder all the responsibility for your company. After all. Make sure you take sensible risks. There is undoubtedly a danger involved in taking risks, but when you take calculated risks, you reap a calculated reward. The most successful entrepreneurs realize that sometimes it takes a long time to bring an idea to fruition. Therefore, they remain in the game and push forward.


4.) Connect with others who are adamant about your abilities

One of the most effective methods to keep a positive mental attitude is to surround yourself with people who are confident in your abilities. If you’re always around optimistic people who believe in your ambitions, It’s easier to stay inspired and push ahead.

5) Discuss your concerns

If you’re in charge of an enterprise, it’s simple to become distracted by the day-to-day and forget about the bigger overall picture. It’s possible to worry about how to make ends meet and meet deadlines or having to deal with demanding customers. Discussing these concerns with the rest of your entrepreneurial friends and colleagues is essential to ensure that things stay on the right track.

6) Be focused on progress, not perfect

When you’re an entrepreneur is effortless to be caught in the pursuit of perfection. You’d like your service or product to look flawless before launching it, but the reality is that it’s impossible to be perfect. It is essential to keep in mind that the pace of progress will always be better than perfect. Start by taking it one day at a. The advantage of keeping a single day in mind at a time is that even should things not go as scheduled. It doesn’t matter since tomorrow is another day to start from scratch. Create workable goals. After creating some feasible goals, please keep track of them and assess how they performed based on outcomes rather than the amount of time and effort poured into them.

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What Is Good Debt and Bad Debt for a Small Business?



There are two kinds of loans for small companies. Find out which one is best and which one is not.

For many people, the term “debt” has negative connotations. However, when setting up a small-sized company, it is not necessary to stay clear of debt completely. There’s “good debt” that is essential for growth when you start an enterprise, but there’s “bad” debt that could cause long-term harm to your financial situation.

The difference between good and bad debt and how to manage your company’s finances to keep them in check.

Good debt in contrast to. Credit card debt What’s the distinction?

Lyle Solomon, principal attorney for Oak View Law Group, states, “good debt returns money to your pocket, but bad debt takes money from your pocket.”


“Debt that increases your future net worth is considered good debt, and debt that reduces your future net value is referred to as bad debt,” Solomon added.

Good debt

Kenneth Hearn, fund manager and director of research for Swiss One Capital AG, describes good small-sized business loans as the money borrowed to finance things that contribute to the development and growth of their company.

“This could be for anything from paying for improvements to meet new safety regulations or expanding your human resources team,” the man explained. “A general rule of ‘good debt’ is debt that is low-interest, or will increase the overall net worth of your business.”

Paying off your debts shows you have a good payment history, which your credit rating can show. The more debt types you can manage responsibly and pay off, the more favourable. This means that more lenders will permit you to get in the future.

Bad debt

When a lender takes out money to purchase an item that doesn’t increase in value or produce revenue, it is often regarded as bad credit. Any loan or borrowed funds that could lower the value of your company’s net future must be avoided. The signs of bad debt are the high-interest cost, fees, and strict loan repayment conditions.


Examples of lousy credit include cash advances and payday loans, usually called “predatory loans.”

“These loans . Target people with bad credit or low income with few options to consider,” Solomon added. Solomon. “[They often] come with exorbitant interest rates and unethical terms.”

Things to think about when making a “good debt an investment

If you are considering getting a loan, entrepreneurs in small businesses should consider the type of debt they’ll be taking on. If the lender takes out a loan for an asset that isn’t going to depreciate, for example, real estate, education, or their own company, on favourable terms, it’s considered to be a good debt.

“Healthy debt entails borrowing money for investing in items that do not depreciate over time,” Solomon explained. Solomon. “Keep the above in mind when you borrow money to run your business. Use the funds to minimize the chance of a catastrophe or loss.”

One approach small business owners may employ when borrowing money is to commit to the lowest rate of interest possible.


“Your interest payments are tax-deductible,” Hearn said. Hearn. “These tax deductions could help you get over the red line and into the realm of profitability. If you manage your cards correctly, interest rates can benefit you rather than against you.”

Strategies to get out of credit

If a small-sized business owner is trying to escape the burden of bad debt, There are options to overcome the situation. First, examine the company’s budget and financial statements.

“Financial management software has come a long way over the past couple of decades, and having proper procedures for data entry and its use from the start of your business is crucial to managing good or bad debt,” Hearn said. Hearn.

For business owners who are in “bad debt,” Solomon advised consolidating debts to one loan.

“Debt consolidation is an intelligent debt management approach to ensure you’re paying the lowest rates and on the most optimal or flexible terms available,” said the expert to CO–. “Such a move would benefit your business, as you can avoid worries regarding payments.”


Companies must ensure they have the funds to repay this consolidating loan, or it could negatively affect their business credit and financial situation. However, if used properly in the right way, consolidating or restructuring multiple debts is an innovative method of managing the finances of small businesses.

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