Online Luxury Jeweller, Astley Clarke Appoints Carmen Busquets To Its Board

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Online Luxury Jeweller Astley Clarke has appointed luxury fashion entrepreneur Carmen Busquets to its board. The business has recently secured a second round of investment funding from Ms Busquets, taking her total investment to $1.2m.

“Astley Clarke is one of the pioneers in building a luxury jewellery brand focused on e-commerce and the first brand to offer a full range of high end, iconic jewellery online, supporting a new generation of luxury consumer who wants the freedom online to

Online Luxury Jeweller Astley Clarke (http://www.astleyclarke.com) has appointed luxury fashion entrepreneur Carmen Busquets to its board. The business has recently secured a second round of investment funding from Ms Busquets, taking her total investment to $1.2m.

As a founding investor and board director of Net-A-Porter.com, Carmen recognized the potential early on of Astley Clarke because of the Brands online capabilities, its inherent understanding of the international growth opportunities of luxury online, its unique and infectious philosophy on luxury and the exciting development of its successful own luxury jewellery brand. The Astley Clarke brand uses a mixture of intelligent wit and sophistication to appeal to a new generation of luxury consumer; celebrating coloured gemstones and giving the customer the confidence to ‘Go Precious Everyday’.

Carmen Busquets commented:
“Astley Clarke is one of the pioneers in building a luxury jewellery brand focused on e-commerce and the first brand to offer a full range of high end, iconic jewellery online, supporting a new generation of luxury consumer who wants the freedom online to choose product that is right for them. I believe that Astley Clarke has the potential to become a global Brand online as well as offline competing in the International Retail Environment.”

The current round of funding is being used to increase brand equity and to look to international markets - its US dollar website launches in April ’12. The funds will also be applied to the development of new luxury jewellery collections and interactive technologies that aim to engage the luxury consumer online.

Alongside its online expansion Astley Clarke has initiated a retail strategy with key partners including Harrods and Liberty. After its first year of trading in Harrods in 2011, Astley Clarke is now one of the bestselling jewellery brands. Astley Clarke will continue to develop its highly successful jewellery Brand in addition to curating the very best jewellery designers from around the world.
“AstleyClarke.com is a pioneer in changing the way luxury consumers shop for jewellery online. We are passionate about our brand and are proud to have carved a unique niche for ourselves as a luxury jewellery brand and e-tailer that is far removed from homogenized mass luxury. Our online nature means that we can speak to the individual by using sophisticated technologies – this is combined with an incredibly high-end approach to customer service thus re-inventing the way luxury consumers shop.” Bec Astley Clarke

Editor’s Notes:
Carmen Busquets: Carmen was founding investor and board director of Net-A-Porter.com owning a 30% share in the company. As one of two principal shareholders, Carmen had shared control rights with Richemont Group for seven years; together with the founder they played a pivotal role in growing the value of the company. In 2010, she was instrumental in the successful sale of Net-A-Porter to Richemont Group. Carmen was early to recognize the digital opportunity for luxury goods and, in 1998 she began building a private portfolio of online companies.

AstleyClarke.com: Astley Clarke is a category disruptor far removed from traditional fine jewellery brands – it believes that sophistication, education and intelligent wit are the relevant touch points for today’s luxury consumer. This young, British luxury brand is growing quickly - a highly experienced in-house team in design, ecommerce, marketing, PR and logistics has helped to solidify expansion plans both online and offline. Founded in 2006 with the ambition of becoming the world’s leading luxury online jewellery brand and etailer, AstleyClarke.com sells 14 own label contemporary and fine jewellery collections and jewellery from over 30 British and International jewellery designers. The brand focuses on three core tenets: design, craftsmanship and provenance and prides itself on unrivalled customer service through its Personal Shopping team. The brand saw a 40% like for like growth over the Xmas trading period in 2011. Funding was secured by Chris Grew, Partner in the London Office of International law firm Orrick. http://www.astleyclarke.com. Board members include Ben Holmes from Index Ventures and Mark Esiri from Venrex.

Bec Clarke - Founder and Managing Director: Bec Clarke, Managing Director and Founder of AstleyClarke.com is the inspirational force behind luxury jewellery brand and etailer, AstleyClarke.com. Bec’s vision to create a luxury jewellery environment online was an industry first. Prior to starting AstleyClarke.com, Bec worked across luxury brand consultancy projects, was Commercial Director of iVillage.co.uk and Head of Non-Retail Strategy at Tesco.com. Bec oversaw an investment of GBP2.75m by Europe's largest VC firm, Index Ventures in May, 2008.

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Lucy Paton
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