Luxury Leader | Victoria Houghton, CEO of Hamilton & Inches

Walpole’s Luxury Leader series focuses on member CEOs and MDs, to discover their vision for their brands, how they define success, and what inspires them. This week we meet Victoria Houghton, the new CEO of Hamilton & Inches.

I achieved an Honours degree in Cultural and Historical Art and an A grade certificate in Gemology, before establishing my career within retail and business. My experience includes leading negotiations to take on the country-wide franchise for Next in Romania and firmly establishing it with four profitable stores in Bucharest. I also held the role of Fashion and Accessories Buyer at Next plc, River Island and M&S, and relocated to Bangkok, Thailand under the position of Product Developer for Next plc. I was appointed by Q5 Business Management Consultants working with Burberry on its strategic business transformation and change management project and joined Hamilton & Inches as non-executive in June 2018. I am delighted to share my new appointment as CEO at Hamilton & Inches last month.

What does British luxury mean to you?
Innovative design, quality, heritage and bespoke client experiences.

What’s your vision for the company?
My appointment as CEO is to lead a new era for Hamilton & Inches, reigniting its rich heritage of holding the Royal Warrant for 120 years, whilst introducing a new contemporary style to the brand. The vision for Hamilton & Inches is to double turnover to £20 million over the next five years. This will be achieved through investment in the existing team and the appointment of new craftsmen and women within the jewellery and silversmith workshops. We will develop new fine jewellery collections, a bridal and Scottish Gold collection, all handcrafted in the traditional Edinburgh workshop. The showroom on George Street will be renovated to champion Edinburgh as one of the leading shopping destinations in the world. The Hamilton & Inches own watches collection and partner collections with Rolex, Patek Philippe and Bremont will be further developed. Growing Hamilton & Inches locally and internationally into the US and Asian markets will also be a focus.

What do you see as the future of luxury?
British-made brands, championing craftsmanship and delivering innovative shopping experiences.

What was your big break?
I was privileged to join the Hamilton & Inches board as a non-executive in June 2018 and gained a great insight into the business. The past year granted an opportunity to showcase my business, creative buying and strategic management expertise and I am honoured to join Hamilton & Inches as CEO.

What piece of advice would you give to someone entering the luxury sector now?
Don’t worry about where your career starts because there are so many opportunities which will present themselves along the way. Be open to all contacts and relish introductions, it’s an amazing industry.

In a parallel life, what would you be doing?
Since the age of fourteen I have been making and selling jewellery – this is what I am destined to do!

What’s your favourite luxury?
Time and family.