Ethical jeweller Cred has closed citing tough trading conditions and difficulty getting hold of enough Fairtrade Gold as the reasons.
Cred, which had been an industry pioneer when it came to responsible practices, was originally founded by ethical campaigner Greg Valerio in 1996, with the aim of improving the lives of small-scale gold miners, and later acquired by Alan Frampton in 2011.
Since taking over Cred, which latterly operated via a standalone store in Chichester, an office in London and online, Frampton has been a passionate industry campaigner and the main supplier of Fairtrade gold to the UK market.
In 2018 Cred scooped the Ethical Jewellery Business of the Year award at the UK Jewellery Awards and in August of that year was responsible for bringing a 19.1kg shipment on Fairtrade gold into the UK, the single biggest import of Fairtrade gold to date.
Speaking to Retail Jeweller today (November 27), just as Cred’s trade customers had been notified of its closure, managing director Alan Frampton explained: “In July of this year I ordered 23 kilos of gold and just couldn’t get hold of it.
“I had 11 kilos come in in September but, it wasn’t enough. I have ordered 60 kilos of gold this year and have only been able to get hold of 22 kilos. Last year I had 45 kilos come in and even that wasn’t enough.
“I have been pushed out of the Fairtrade gold supply and it is very concerning for my trade customers here as they now can’t get hold of the gold.”
In addition to the supply problems he has experienced, Frampton also spoke of Cred’s sales being almost 50% down against the five-year average for the last three months and cited this as another key reason why he couldn’t continue in business.
“It would be too easy to simply blame the economy, Brexit and footfall for drop in sales,” he said. “I am sure that has something to do with it but, I think at some point in business you have to hold you hands up and admit you tried your best but, that it just hasn’t worked out.
“I am not really sure what has caused such a drop in sales because, if I knew that, I would try to fix it but, we just can’t continue to trade when things are so tough.”
Frampton described feeling “absolutely gutted” and said: “I have put in eight years of hard work and an awful lot of money and I have always felt very strongly about responsible sourcing.
“I feel very sad about it and I am gutted for everyone who has worked so hard with us and supported us on this journey.”