Across the past decade, founder and director Abtin Abbasi has grown his brand A Jeweller to become the go-to jewellers for A list rap and grime stars such as AJ Tracey, Aitch, Headie One and top footballers, Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. The business was set up by Abassi in 2008. He recently launched a new flagship shop in Hatton Garden taking big steps, moving from a small office to a luxury hot spot.
Jewellery and hip hop have had a long-standing relationship. Jewellery is not just about aesthetics and decor with many rappers using the chains to represent a rags to riches narrative and send a message out about their status and hip hop culture, whilst also telling others just like them that they too can achieve their dreams despite the discrimination, oppression and odds stacked against them.
Jewellery is not only for the glitz and glam but also a ritual for many rappers. The tradition began in the early 80’s with hip hop groups such as Run DMC and artists such as Slick rick pioneering hip hop and rocking big chains as a symbol of rap culture.
We spoke to Abtin about how he started out and grew this brand to becoming the go-to Jewellers for our favourite rappers and celebrities as well as gaining an amazing reputation across Europe. He gave us an insight into the business, cultural and fashion aspects of A Jewellers ,check out the interview below
Where did it all begin with A jewellers, what inspired you to get started?
Abtin: There are 2 spectrums that drew me to opening A Jewellers. firstly the design and art aspects, from a young age I’ve always been into fashion design, Drawing chain designs, doing graffiti & art. I didn’t enjoy academia apart from maths but found I had an interest in jewellery fashion particularly inspired by hip hop style jewellery. This grew into a talent & something I really loved to do.
Secondly, the business aspect drew me. From a young age, I’ve had a natural gift for buying & selling. Starting with sweets at school as a side hustle. I have always been business-minded, buying and selling sweets at school as a side hustle. After I turned 18 I went from selling sweets to selling clothes. I started to come into contact with expensive clothing and jewellery. I was offered my first expensive watch and I definitely took an interest. I took it to Hatton garden, sold it for more than I got it for and got connected with other sellers. I began selling gold watches and diamonds building my network of buyers over the years, finding customers to sell to and building the brand, I started with artists and celebs that really put me on the map and that’s when I started with A Jewellers.
How do you think Jewellery plays a part in the UK Rap/ Hip Hop scene?
Abtin: It’s part of the culture. Part of the Hip Hop and rap scene all around the world, Its always been a part of things. it’s cool, it’s blingy and shiny. Originally from the streets, people would buy jewellery when they make that bit of money to kind of show off and show their cool. It’s now gone into the fashion scene with celebrities rocking big chains and bling.
What was a big milestone you have crossed?
Abtin: Some of my big milestones include presenting AJ Tracey a custom made special piece we created for him and the first time he saw it was on stage at his show. On the business side of things opening up in Hatton Garden moving from a small office was a dream, from the first time I had gone there to sell my first watch, I had dreamt about having my own shop there and 14 years later I managed to do so. I started to realise we had moved up and turned into the go-to place for people to shop for their bling. Opening the store opened up more opportunities and a different level of customers, for example, getting Floyd Mayweather to shop at A Jewellers, he’s known for having some of the best jewellery in the world, it was great to have him shop with us, we showed him around, explored pieces and just got to hang out.
What are some of your core values that you feel your clients relate to?
Abtin: We’re known for having the best craftsmanship and prioritising quality and innovation in terms of our stock and stuff we make, this keeps us on top, we’re always setting trends, we don’t follow but we keep creating and innovating. We provide the best service, give the best prices and we stay a big part of the culture.
What’s the vibe in store, what kind of experience are you trying to give to your customers?
Abtin: We have a real chilled vibe in-store, people can expect luxury, classy and chic interior and service. As soon as you walk in that’s what you will notice, marble flooring, a photography room to show them the graphics, silk carpet, gold flutes, Big VIP rooms. For both us and the customers, we have a play station room where we go to just hang out and chill. We really give our customers the full luxury experience, make them feel calm and make shopping at our store a fun experience.
Do you have any advice for someone aspiring to start a business in this industry?
Abtin: Read motivational books, be consistent, and keep trying, don’t expect to run before you can walk, just keep taking steps to keep moving forward. Build up your skills through networking, research and getting experience, whatever that may be and don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. There is a lot people don’t see about me and the business, the sacrifices and negative experiences I had to go through, I never did well in school and my teachers told me I’d never amount to anything but you have to believe in yourself and when you do you won’t listen to anyone else. Have patience and understand the sacrifices you will have to go through.