Case Study: Tustains Jewellers


To design and implement a marketing strategy for Tustains Jewellers to attract luxury brands and grow customer spend

Our business has been here for a long time which is an asset and also a challenge. Over the last 5 years, we have modernised the look and systems in place, invested in stock and training our staff to the highest standards. This however is all meaningless if you cannot communicate your offering effectively to potential clients. Aardvark helped us enormously in doing this by developing a trackable marketing strategy that really works!
Joe Milner, Managing Director, Tustains Jewellers


  • Winners of 4 national watch and jewellery awards
  • Approved by Luxury Brands to stock Tudor, Breitling and Mikimoto
  • Website shows a 258% increase in traffic, and better quality visits
  • Reputation for quality, service and upmarket brands in the store established by pro-active PR strategy in local and national press
  • Average spend per customer increased by 20%


Tustains Jewellers are a well-established family firm, celebrating 120 years of trading in Leamington Spa. They sell high-quality branded jewellery and watches, after-sales services and recently introduced their own hallmarked diamond rings. Sales had been static for a couple of years and the new generation of directors wished to increase turnover by introducing new upmarket brands to appeal to modern, affluent and younger customers.

We set out to create a marketing programme that was affordable and effective to increase sales and change the customer profile.


  • Luxury Jewellery and Watch brands vet their retailers very carefully to ensure a good fit with their premium brand values. Tustains needed to establish and maintain the right presence and reputation in the industry to convince the Brand Mangers for Rolex, Breitling and Mikimoto to accept Tustains as one of their exclusive stockists.
  • There is fierce competition for online jewellery and watch sales, driven by price comparisons. Tustains required website visitors to convert to store visitors in order to appreciate their exceptional individual service and advice.
  • The existing website needed refreshing from the non-editable version to full content management and integration with social media channels. The site needed to attract visitors with a higher disposable income.
  • Tustains advertising was limited to local newspapers and luxury brochures distributed in the store.
  • There was no social media presence for Tustains and no strategy for PR.

The Solution

We ran detailed customer interviews and an in-store customer service survey to check that the customer experience was consistent with the brand image. A new marketing strategy was devised to market Tustains both to the luxury watch and jewellery brand managers and to attract new customers.

Using our “Elephant, deer, rabbit” model we defined the ideal customer and a strategy to successfully attract them. We created and implemented annual marketing plans. The initial priority was to improve the online marketing, so a new website was commissioned. The website objectives were:

  • Move to a full content management system
  • Addition of both click and collect and full e-commerce functions
  • Integrated social media
  • A more upmarket look and feel
  • More welcoming and engaging to visitors
  • SEO activity to boost search visits

Over several years, we implemented a new PR strategy, to drive visitors to the website, increase footfall in the store and appeal to the luxury brand managers. The PR strategy included entering awards. As sales grew, the marketing budget was increased. Tustains advertised in targeted papers and magazines including Warwickshire Life, the RSC Swan Theatre and The Edge magazine, to position the brand as more upmarket. Tustains strengthened community links through Tissot watches for local sporting heroes. Selected sponsorships and public speaking built the Tustains brand awareness.

Project Management

Marketing activity was planned and implemented jointly by Aardvark Marketing, acting in a ‘virtual marketing director’ role. Monthly planning and tracking meetings supported by online project management tools ensured effective communication.

Aardvark helped Tustains apply for business support through the Growth Accelerator program, reducing the overall cost of marketing and training and enabling Tustains to gradually implement more of the marketing plan in-house.


The new strategy, better marketing and improved reputation won Tustains 5 industry awards: Retail Jeweller Hot 100 in 2012, Watch Pro Hot 100 in 2013, Pride of Warwick winners for customer service
in 2013, UK Watch and Jewellery finalist in 2014 and Watch Pro Hot 100 in 2015. Brands successfully added into Tustains were Tudor watches in 2013, Breitling watches in 2014 and Mikimoto pearls in 2015. The new hallmark Tustains Collection was launched in 2015.

Website traffic has increased dramatically. Over 80% of the search traffic is from local customers. The time spent by the average visitor increased to over 2 1⁄2 minutes and page views increased 10 fold. Bounce rate has been maintained at a low level throughout the 3 years, further proof of the success in attracting the right visitors. The site is mobile and tablet friendly and half the website visitors now come via these devices.

The new marketing strategy and planning process broadened the range of effective marketing activities that are run efficiently, on time and on budget. Marketing activities combine into a coherent strategy. Activity is measured and monitored on a regular, systematic basis, reducing the management time required to implement the marketing strategy.