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Nelson’s international jewellers continue growth surge

5 September, 2013

Jens Hansen, Nelson’s international jewellers continue growth surge

Successful international jeweller Jens Hansen has grown its business so much that it is expanding to occupy two buildings.

Jens Hansen will be moving part of its business into a vacant building on the corner of Church Street, opposite the current Selwyn Place shop, which has been the home of the Jens Hansen workshop for more than 30 years. The new Church Street premises will initially act as an administration and design hub for the jewellery business, which is split 40/60 between international and New Zealand customers respectively.

The award winning jewellers are the most experienced in Nelson, having served Nelson continuously since 1968.

Jens Hansen is a second generation business, which has been managed by Jens’ son Halfdan Hansen, since Jens passed away in 1999.

“We still make many of my father’s classic designs, and once a year we release a Jens Hansen Legacy Collection piece that we haven’t made since Jens first created it,” Halfdan says. “Customers love our original designs, telling us they are both distinctive and recognisable as Jens Hansen jewellery.

“We are also one of the very few New Zealand jewellers who still manufacture our own jewellery,” he says. “Our qualified jewellers have international experience, and enjoy making my father’s designs, as well as creating their own contemporary jewellery."

Halfdan says the expansion across the road is the logical next step for the growing business.

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“We have been waiting for the right time to expand, and given that revenue has grown by 50% in the last five years, with last year being our best ever year, now is a good time,” Hansen says. “We have also been blown away by this year’s winter months so far, which have exceeded our ambitious budgets.

“Being the makers of The One Ring for Peter Jackson’s movies would be the main reason we effectively became a global business,” he says. “We have visitors coming to the store to buy The One Ring replicas every day, and there are no signs of this slowing down. Interest in our ring kept going for years after The Lord of the Rings movies finished in the cinemas, so we are confident interest will continue for years after The Hobbit finishes as well.

Afterall, the J.R.R Tolkien books are still being sold more than 80 years on.

“We are not resting on our laurels though. We have built on our reputation as the ‘Makers of the World’s Most Famous Ring’, to introduce our other jewellery to our international customers,” he says. “Back in 2009, as the economic downturn took effect, the business purposefully put more focus on our diamond engagement and wedding rings, which now make up 60% of our business. We sell diamond and dress rings around the world; from customers in our region to my father’s birth country of Denmark.

“We have carried out a lot of our own marketing and PR to attract these new customers, but are also very well supported by Nelson Tasman Tourism, who regularly introduce us to international media,” he says. “I also personally love technology, so I have put a lot of time into growing the number of visitors we get to our online store through social media, google advertising and blogs, etc. This investment in time has paid off.

“Occupying the corner opposite our established retail studio will allow us to retain the original workshop that my mother and father established, keep staff close to each other, and ease the space pressure in our intimate studio and workshop,” he says. “For a start we will move our admin and online sales people and CAD design into the new space over the road. It will also house Nelson’s only laser welder, which means we can offer fast, safe, and less expensive jewellery repair. Eventually, we are also looking to create a private consultation and design space for customers.

“We are very proud of being Nelson’s international jewellers, and feel that by expanding into a neighbouring building we can stay proudly local,” he says. “The world loves what we do, which I think says something about the trust people have in us, as well as how they feel about our home town of Nelson."

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