Finnies the Jeweller is an iconic brand in our city centre, founded over 60 years ago by Ron and Peggy Finnie. With customer service at its heart, the passionate Finnies team helps people find the perfect pieces for themselves or their loved ones - and it’s clear to see how they have earned such a loyal customer base.
It is a common occurrence to find three generations of the Finnies family working in harmony on the shop floor, providing customers with a loving and familiar atmosphere each time they visit.
We caught up with one of the family members ourselves, Dominique, to find out the key to Finnies’ success, her favourite pieces right now, what it is really like to work alongside loved ones, and much more.
What 3 words best describe Finnies?
“Family, professional and fun - and we hope this comes across on our social media, and in the experience in our store. We are there to sell beautiful jewellery, but there is a lot of fun behind the scenes too, and we never want to be too serious.”
What makes Finnies such a special place here in Aberdeen?
“At the core of the business is a warm, friendly, family atmosphere - this is what people often associate with us. I grew up with a lot of the team members, and they genuinely feel like part of our family.
“There is also a huge sense of passion and love for the work we do, which really shines through across the whole team. The team is just as excited about jewellery as we are - and this makes it a really enjoyable place to not only visit but to work too! We are very lucky to have such a passionate team.
“Forming relationships with our customers, suppliers and team is also very important to us and really does pay off.”
What is your role within Finnies?
“Much like my family members who work in the business, I don’t focus on just one area and my role can differ everyday. Most of the time I work within the jewellery team, which is very lucky as this is where I can share my real passion for the pieces.
“The versatile nature of the job means that no two days are ever the same - so it certainly never gets dull! I can be on the shop floor selling, looking after our customers, supporting the team, or away on trips buying new pieces.”
What do you love the most about your job?
“Although it may sound cliché - I love jewellery. I love to follow jewellery trends and also fashion in general.
“Even though Finnies is a family business, I was encouraged to do my own thing. I studied economics at university, but then went on to study gemmology. I moved to London for almost 5 years, and worked for Chanel in the fine jewellery department of Harrods. This was an incredible job, and there was so much to inspire you in London. My biggest sale there was £1.8million!”
What insights into jewellery trends can you share with us?
“From my experience, there are certainly styles that will never go out of fashion. For example, the elegant look of rings, pendants and earrings with diamonds in a claw setting, or the timeless look of a gold watch on a classic brown or black leather strap - these pieces will never age.
“However the trend of the year seems to be stacking gold necklaces. These aren’t excessively expensive either - ranging from £50-£100.
“I usually attend jewellery fairs twice a year in Italy and London. This is where I get a lot of inspiration and new ideas, and bring things back to Aberdeen. I also get inspiration and insights into the world of jewellery from Instagram, lifestyle bloggers and other retailers. I love this side of my job.”
Do you have a favourite piece in store at the moment?
“Yes! I actually spotted this at an Italian jewellery fair and it has finally arrived here in store. It is a gold wire choker set with diamonds. It is simply beautiful, and showcases how you can bring fashion into fine jewellery.
“I also love that we have such a mix of pieces in store. We have traditional, elegant pieces mixed in with things people would never think about. This adds to the experience, and that’s part of our job - to present jewellery that people wouldn’t expect.”
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned from working in the business?
“Definitely consistency - finding out the right things to do and then repeating. This will secure you in a good position.
“Looking after your team as well - not just financially but genuinely treating them like part of the family is definitely key. This has allowed us to hold on to so many long serving members of the Finnies team.”
What is it really like to work with family?
“Well I’d say 90% of the time it works brilliantly and is a lot of fun. However you definitely have more emotion and passion, and sometimes we don’t always agree.
“At family dinners, the main topic of conversation is work - and we often have meetings over a BBQ in the garden.
“We also don’t have the conventional processes and layers of management - we can make decisions very quickly, and change things when we want to. There’s a lot more flexibility I think. My family is very supportive, and happy for us to run with our own ideas to help evolve the business."
Are there any exciting future plans for Finnies you can share with us?
“We are very excited to be developing the building next door, which will allow us to double the size of the store. The wall was meant to come down the week before lockdown, and the project unfortunately had to be postponed until next year.
“We have big plans for 2021 - with this whole new open space. We have an Italian jewellery company designing all the interiors, so it will look very different. It will be the modern day version of Finnies!”
Why do you think it is important to support local right now?“Local, independent businesses keep the buzz and excitement in the heart of Aberdeen. They create change and opportunities, and it’s been incredible to see business owners quickly adapt throughout lockdown.
“For us, it has given us the opportunity to offer personal delivery services for our online orders, reply more promptly to customer queries and talk people through sales individually with no distractions.
“Recently, I was able to visit a customer in their garden with loose sapphire stones, and by Saturday we had the stones set in a platinum ring setting and then delivered in time for the customer’s anniversary. That is something large chains and businesses could not offer to their customers as they often lack the ability to adapt quickly. We also personally signed off all our orders during lockdown, thanking people for supporting local.”
What are some of your favourite local businesses?
“Having done a lot of deliveries in Inverurie, I have used Marshalls Food Shop in Kintore. They have a good selection including fresh vegetables, cheese and cakes.
“My boyfriend and I both love cooking, so we are big fans of Chattan Butcher and JK Fine Foods. And the first places we’ll be visiting when they reopen are Moonfish and Yatai, as well as The Chester for drinks.
“I also love Laura Mcrimmond’s Sunday community yoga at Foodstory - she also teaches at Love Yoga. I’ve been going to Laura’s classes for 4 years now and she even organised Zoom yoga over lockdown.
“I had a couple of bouquets from Nicky Walker Florist delivered to staff who absolutely loved them!”