Shaper: Steve Bennett

Show aired on 11th April 2015

Transcript

Steve Bennett is a businessman and entrepreneur who founded The Genuine Gemstone Company in 2008. During his career, Steve has started 27 businesses, first starting out in the IT industry at the height of the dotcom boom. However, when an opportunity presented itself for him to return to his passion for gemstones and minerals, Steve turned it into a successful and profitable venture. Seven years later The Genuine Gemstone Company employs approximately 500 people and has been listed as one of the UK’s fastest growing privately owned companies, with an annual turnover of £100 million. The retailer is the umbrella company for jewellery brands Gemporia, NOWSEEN and Jewellery Maker. From travelling the globe searching for the next big gemstone discovery to presenting on the brands’ TV auction channels, Steve makes sure he is heavily involved in the day-to-day running and overall direction of the business. Steve is also a keen fundraiser for the company’s affiliated charity, The Colourful Life Foundation. Most recently he returned from a trek to the North Pole in a bid to raise funds to develop communities in need around the world.

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevegemhunter

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“My father kept saying to me, ‘you are going to be a sax player one day’….but he overlooked one thing – I wasn’t very good at playing the sax.”

“I think confidence underpins everything.”

“We started out with very little finance so you learn to do everything. You learn to do the VAT return, you learn to do all the paperwork, you learn to sell on the telephone…”

“I had a parent who was saying ‘you can, you can, you can’ rather than ‘you can’t you can’t, you can’t’ ”

“I am just coming up to fifty, I’ve got child number seven on the way.”

“…even a year ago, I still felt guilty if I wasn’t in the office when I could be in the office. You know, I’d feel guilty if I had taken a morning off to go for a run or to go cycling…”

“I had this massive ceiling in my head that I couldn’t get a business over a hundred million”

“Clarity – just know what your business is about. Don’t spread it too thin. If you want to do other things, then do it under different businesses, different brands.”

“I think you would be a fool if you didn’t question your own strategies at times.”

“Customers buy into the passion and if you try and run jewellery businesses or clothing brands purely off spreadsheets, that passion disappears.”

“Nothing frustrates me more than coming back from Africa where we’ve done something and these kids are smiling who have got nothing, and I come home and my two sons are fighting over a Playstation game.”