Luxe jewellery retailer, Secrets Shhh, reopened at the weekend (August 4-5) at Westfield Garden City (Brisbane). It’s the sister store to Secrets Chermside, which has been successfully run by franchisees, John and Jen McPherson, for the past 12 years. It takes the tally of Secrets Brisbane stores to five alongside North Lakes (opened June 2018), Chermside, Carindale and Indooroopilly.
Garden City was the McPhersons’ first Secrets franchise (opened 2004) when their daughter, Georgia, was four-years-old. She’s now 18 and helping in the business.
Jen says their Secrets franchise venture has very much been a family affair. In 2004 when the McPhersons first opened Garden City, it was run together with Jen’s sister Debbie and her husband Steve O’Dea. Another of Jen’s sisters, Alison, also opened two Perth franchises: Secrets Whitfield City (2008-2013) and Secrets Carillon City (2003).
“Being in control of your own small business, it’s heartening to see the growth in yourself and your team,” says Jen.
Another key ingredient to the McPherson’s success is the jewellery itself: luxurious designs crafted in 10ct and 14ct solid gold featuring the world’s finest quality diamond simulants and simulated gemstones.
“Secrets is a great product, it’s an alternative offering in the fine jewellery marketplace and people respond to that difference,” Jen says.
Former airline hostess and self-confessed “people person”, Jen, says she’s excited to be returning to Garden City because she’s always loved her Secrets customers there.
“Our customers share their lives with us and we become a part of their Secrets journey,” Jen says. “They may be purchasing jewellery to mark a milestone in their lives (or their friends or family) and we help guide their choice. We listen to their needs and respond. Because of this special relationship we forge with our customers, they often become friends and return to shop at Secrets time and again.”
Customers will be greeted by familiar faces as the former Secrets Garden City team is reuniting, with some staff changes.
“We’re looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones,” Jen says. “We also have a wonderful, supportive relationship with our franchisor; it’s exciting to be part of a growing brand.”
Secrets Franchise History
Secrets managing director Mike Parsell also has his sights set on opening another three new company stores by December, which would take the national tally to 17 stores plus an e-commerce portal. Last year Secrets acquired four new company stores at Mackay (north Queensland), Carindale (Brisbane) and Green Hills (Maitland, NSW) and Knox City (Melbourne).
Secrets Franchise History
When Secrets started in 2000, it quickly grew to 26 franchises in Australia and New Zealand to increase its footprint without the capital outlay of opening company stores. Founding owner Jane Meredith says the franchise decision was so the business could reach its critical mass quicker.
“It was wonderful to have so many business owners like John and Jen who were passionate and drove the business to great success,” Jane says.
The Global Financial Crisis (2007-08) almost decimated the Secrets franchise model, but it is renewing. Secrets is considering a limited number of additional franchise stores at present.
Garden City (Brisbane) – Secrets’ Newest Franchise
Secrets third franchise has opened at a new site in a prime corner of the expanded Westfield Garden City (Brisbane) complex on level 2, opposite Woolworths.
“It’s one of Queensland’s premier shopping malls and its customer base is very multicultural,” Mike says. “Being in relatively close proximity to schools and the Griffith University Nathan Campus, we also attract a youthful customer.”
Expansion in to new territories also means new employment opportunities with an exciting, visionary brand with global reach.
“We’re on the look-out for the next generation of Secrets stars.”
Secrets stores are located at Sydney CBD; Chadstone (Melbourne); Chermside, (Brisbane); Melbourne CBD; Pacific Fair (Gold Coast); Noosa (Sunshine Coast); Carindale, (Brisbane); Carillon City, (Perth); Indooroopilly (Brisbane); Knox City (Melbourne); Green Hills (Maitland, NSW); North Lakes (Brisbane) and Mackay (north Queensland).