The Power List | Legends | Michael Wainwright, Managing Director, Boodles
Boodles’ Managing Director Michael Wainwright was recently named one of Walpole’s 50 Most Influential People in British Luxury. With a significant role in shaping the culture and legacy of British luxury, we discover the defining moment of his career, and the most important changes he’s seen in the sector…
Michael joined Boodles in 1984 and is Managing Director of the company. He is the fifth generation of the Wainwright family to own the business, which was established in Liverpool in 1798. He is also currently the Fundraising Trustee for the Rainbow Trust and is a past Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths Company.
What has been the defining moment of your career?
Personally it was opening our first London shop in 1987 – until then Boodles was known only as a regional county jeweller in the north-west of England. Professionally I think it was appointing our first ever branding company – Large, Smith & Walford in 1996 – they taught us the whole concept of ‘brand’. To be honest until then we were muddling away in-house not really knowing what we were doing.
What are the most important changes you’ve seen in the sector?
There are always huge challenges in business but one thing which has helped hugely has been the significant increase in wealthy British people, mostly as a result of them selling businesses. These people have become Boodles’ key customers. We are a British company that sells largely to British people.
People don’t want to buy from Boodles online – thank goodness in many ways because we would far prefer to them to come into our shops – so our business is remaining reasonably intact in the digital revolution. However, they are not going shopping as much – as a result our business is morphing from a retail to a hospitality business, believe it or not. A high proportion of our important business is carried out at lunches, dinners and events we sponsor. We do a huge amount of entertaining, which is brilliant for relationship building and also for business.
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