Interview with Hannah Riding of the award-winning Silver Tree Jewellery

Silver Tree Jewellery Director's Oliver Gibson and Hannah Riding receive a coveted UK Jewellery Award from the night's host George Lamb and Tim Gould from Casio.

Silver Tree Jewellery Director’s Oliver Gibson and Hannah Riding receive a coveted UK Jewellery Award from the night’s host George Lamb and Tim Gould from Casio.

As part of a new series we are interviewing some of our clients about their businesses. We start with Hannah Riding, Sales and Marketing Director at Silver Tree Jewellery, recent winner of Branded Jewellery Retailer of the Year at the UK Jewellery Awards 2015.

Silver Tree has been a presence in Lancaster for as long as we remember. What’s the history of the business?
Silver Tree Jewellery began in 1982 being Lancaster’s only sterling silver jewellery shop. Patricia Gibson took over the business in 1991 and became the go to shop for silver, semi-precious jewellery, gifts and women’s clothes. Oliver Gibson, her son, joined the family business in 2005 with a plan for driving the business forward; now being the Best Branded Jewellery Store within the UK which was coveted at the 2015 national jewellery awards.

Silver Tree Jewellery shop in Lancaster

Silver Tree Jewellery shop in Lancaster

When did you get involved with Silver Tree and why?
I got involved with Silver Tree in 2007 at which point the shop sold clothes and gifts as well as jewellery. Initially I was attracted by the ever changing window display and the unique stone-set jewellery. I wanted to know what it was like working within a jewellery shop and felt that I could lend my knowledge of customer and industry fashion trends as well as my work ethic.

What were you doing before Silver Tree?
I started work at the age of fifteen every Saturday in a hairdressers; which is where I really learned to work! From customer service and working within a team to general housekeeping. Although I loved the hairdressers I felt that I needed to experience University so I put my efforts in that direction. At this time I also managed to kick start my career with DCK Concessions where I merchandised the jewellery stands within the major Arcadia fashion stores in Lancaster; namely Freedom at Topshop. I began my career at Silver Tree Jewellery in 2007 at the age of 20 and graduated in 2009 with an upper second-class honours degree.

Silver Tree Jewellery shop interior

Silver Tree Jewellery shop interior

For those that don’t know, what does Silver Tree specialise in?
Silver Tree Jewellery is a fashion branded jewellery store. We specialise in providing a unique customer service experience and showcase jewellery collections from the best designer brands within the UK.

Buying jewellery, whether as a gift or for yourself, can be difficult if you’re not quite sure what you want. How do you help customers find the right piece to buy?
I always like to look at what my customer is wearing already (either female or male); this can be from the jewellery or clothes that they wear. What is the customer’s style? From there I like to match this ideal with jewellery from the different brands that we stock. Buying gifts for someone can be a little harder but asking the right questions is a great place to start; from who are they buying for to the occasion the gift is needed. Personalising gifts is on trend especially with the Thomas Sabo Love Bridge collection as we can engrave any item for free!

Part of the branded jewellery selection at Silver Tree

Part of the branded jewellery selection at Silver Tree

On a similar note, how do you decide what to stock, is it based on customer requests or are customers looking for you to introduce them to items they might not otherwise know about?
The brands that we stock within our shop are gained by research. I like to explore online the best fashion brands of the moment and look at emerging brands within the U.S. I also buy fashion magazines such as Elle and Vogue and look at the jewellery featured along with industry magazines such as the Retail Jeweller. We attend the prominent industry shows such as International Jewellery London. The best brands and trends to follow come from paying attention to what our customers or ‘shoppers’ in general are wearing. Once in while a new trend will come along that we will introduce our customers to like Swarovski’s earring jackets.

Are their specific challenges to running a jewellery business, and how do you overcome them?
There are challenges to running a family business (in any industry) and the best way to overcome them is communication and time planning. We like to prioritize the work that we do and also not outsource work too much; if we can find out how to do it ourselves and it is cost effective then we do it ourselves.

Silver Tree's Sales and Marketing Director Hannah Riding

Silver Tree’s Sales and Marketing Director Hannah Riding

There is lots of media coverage about how life on the high street can be hard for businesses. Does this match your experience?
No. To run a branded jewellery shop you need to be forward thinking; to not be afraid of change and to constantly evolve your business and channel new methods of marketing. The service that we provide entails of an approachable sales persona where ‘nothing is too much hassle’ and to create a modern environment where the door is always open. We are also available 24/7 as customers contact us via email and social media where we endeavor to respond as quickly as possible.

What role does your website play in your business?
The website is pertinent to our customers shopping experience and brand identity. Firstly and most importantly it is a window into our shop and lets us engage with ease with our online customers. Secondly it acts as a ‘shop’ where customers nationally and internationally can buy from our edit of designer jewellery.

The Silver Tree website, developed by Hotfoot

The Silver Tree website, developed by Hotfoot

Is the website becoming an increasingly important part of your business?
Yes, the website is aiding the customers shopping experience. We get customers coming into the shop on a daily basis having browsed the website via their mobile phone first. The website is forever changing whether it be the jewellery and trends offered or making it easier for customers to shop online; like our recent optimization for tablet and mobile browsing.

What are your plans for the future of Silver Tree, both in the short and long term?
In the short term we want to keep providing excellent customer service and bringing the best fashion jewellery trends to Lancaster. We have just moved offices to keep up with the daily demand of the website and efforts in this area will also be kept up. In the long term we may want to open more Silver Tree jewellery shops within the UK – so watch this space!


For more information about Silver Tree Jewellery visit their website.

If you would like to be featured as part of this series please contact us.

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This is the “creative flow chat” Walt Disney gave to new employees in 1943

Walt Disney Creative Flow Chart

I’m not sure this would work here at Hotfoot, but maybe we should give it a go?

Discovered via Reddit.

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Would you be happy giving Patrick Bateman your business card?

Not sure? Don’t worry, we can help you out. Contact us to discuss your design requirements.


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Twitter gives their share button design a refresh

The new style of Twitter buttons is on the right

If you’re a regular Twitter user, you will have noticed lots of recent little design tweaks across their site and apps, including a subtle change in their shade of blue, removing background images, switching the app header to white and so on.

Well, now there’s another change people that don’t even use Twitter might notice – a refreshed design for the little share buttons placed across the web, usually placed at the end of articles like this one (although we use a custom button design, which isn’t affected).

Here’s how Twitter announced the news yesterday:

Next month the Tweet and follow buttons will switch to a modern, high-contrast design of white text on a dark blue background. This visual refresh updates our button design from 2011.

Tweet buttons make authoring a Tweet from the context of a current webpage quick and easy. We are simplifying the Tweet button by removing the share counter displayed alongside the button. This new display removes the count and counturl display parameters, and will render in the same pixel dimensions as a Tweet button configured without a share count today.

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It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane… It’s the 1982 DC Comics Superhero Style Guide


DC Comics

From a Facebook fan page for Spanish comic book artist Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez:

Presented here are pages from the highly sought after, but never published for sale, 1982 DC Comics Style Guide. These images were used for marketing and licensing while also serving as reference material for other artists.

See the rest here.

DC Comic 1982 Style Guide

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Every tech conference

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An accurate London Underground Tube map is a confusing mess

Sometimes in design accuracy is not helpful to users. Take the iconic London Underground Tube map, designed by Harry Beck in 1931. In so many ways it’s perfect, and yet as an accurate reflection of where the stations and lines actually are, well, as a map it doesn’t really work at all. In fact, it’s more like a diagram, designed first and foremost for the user experience.

Which is why the geographically-correct map (pdf) of the London Underground is so fascinating, and has caused such a stir since it was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

As City Lab points out, the London tube map approach doesn’t work everywhere:

In 1976, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority commissioned designer Massimo Vignelli to revamp the subway map. His colorful end result shrank Central Park and distorted Manhattan’s geography in exchange for clean lines and angles like London’s—and New Yorkers hated it.

Why mess with a city whose easily navigable grid system—above 14th Street, anyway—already made perfect sense? Vignelli’s contribution was yanked in 1979, replaced with a version of the messy but geographically accurate version in use today.

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How to sell salmon sushi to Japan

We thought this story from NPR’s podcast Planet Money was awesome, and included a few gems the sushi lovers amongst us are not afraid to admit they did not know:

In Japan, they’ve eaten cooked salmon forever. And they’ve been been eating raw fish for hundreds of years. But not all fish. Raw salmon, no way. Then, 30 years ago, a few people halfway around the world launched a plan to change that.

Today on the show: How hard could it be to get a nation of sushi lovers to eat raw salmon?

If you’re interested in marketing, behavioural design, Japan, or Norway (and who isn’t!?), you should listen here.

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Lancaster University showcases new Institute for Social Futures (ISF) with a website designed by Hotfoot

Lancaster University

Hotfoot Design has created a website for a new interdisciplinary Research Institute at Lancaster University, the Institute for Social Futures (ISF).

Featuring a short video produced by film company Morph, the website is designed to engage researchers, external partners and the wider public in the work of the institute, linking science, social science and the humanities to improve data and analysis relating to futures.

Simon Reader, Project Manager at Lancaster University, said, “Hotfoot have been excellent to work with in the design, development and delivery of the Institute’s website; they’re passionate and knowledgeable about their work, and have provided an invaluable level of support, expertise and attention to the project.”

Charlie Haywood, Founder and Creative Director at Hotfoot, said, “This was a particularly interesting project as it required us to present quite specialist information in a clear and accessible way. As more and more people access the web on their phones we also ensured the new site worked perfectly across all devices. We’re really happy with the results.”

For more information about the ISF please visit

ISF Brochure Mockup - Cover

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Hotfoot launches a new website for Willow Lane Primary School


Creating websites for schools is always interesting. Here’s our Creative Director, Charlie Haywood, on our latest one, which was released to coincide with the new school year: “We’ve just created a fresh, vibrant website for Willow Lane School in Lancaster. Our aim was to produce a website that clearly reflected the fun and happy atmosphere of the school, using beautiful photography, as well as making the website as accessible and intuitive as possible. The website is fully responsive and includes a School Calendar, Blog and Newsletter.”

Headteacher Mel MacKinnon said, “Everyone I have shown it to finds it both easy to navigate and appealing to look at. I really like the way it is responsive – it really has met the brief.”

You can view the website here.





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Forget about the ‘mobile internet’ – mobile IS the internet for many people

This analysis by Benedict Evans is right:

Mobile is not a subset of the internet anymore, that you use only if you’re waiting for a coffee or don’t have a PC in front of you – it’s becoming the main way that people use the internet. It’s not mobile that’s limited to a certain set of locations and use cases – it’s the PC, that can only do the web (and yes, legacy desktop apps, if you care, and consumers don’t) and only be used sitting down. It’s time to invert that mental model – there is not the ‘mobile internet’ and the internet. Rather, if anything, it’s the internet and the ‘desktop internet’

So, mobile today does not mean ‘when you’re mobile’. It means ubiquity – universal access to the internet for anyone at any time. People use their smartphones all the time, very often when there’s a PC in the same building as them or the same room, or on the sofa next to them.

Read the rest.

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