Peter Hayman: One of Britain's longest serving jewellers retires at age of 82
Britain in 1953 was over-shadowed by rationing and post-war austerity. Seventy years ago, 12-year-old Mr Hayman started helping out in the family jewellery business in Sheffield because he wanted to find out if it had the potential to provide him with a long-term career. It ignited a passion that has lasted a lifetime. Mr Hayman, 82, has finally decided to retire after becoming one of Britain’s longest serving watch dealers and jewellers.
Mr Hayman, of Parkers Jewellers in Sheffield, was one of the first retailers to offer luxury watches online. Over the last two decades, both online and through his shop, Parkers, he has built a client list of more than 50,000 patrons, including luxury retailers, such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Selfridges. He is a serial entrepreneur who has run a number of jewellery shops during a period of revolutionary change in the retail sector.
"Over the past 70 years, the lives and working conditions for working people have changed completely,’’ he said. “In those days, lots of people simply ran out of money before pay day. Many people had to visit pawn brokers and there was still post-war rationing. A steelworker would get £10 a week and miners might get £15 a week because they were classed as well paid. Anybody earning £1,000 in those days was regarded as having a well paid and important job.
"I first moved into online retailing around 2000, after I read in the paper about people selling things on Ebay,’’ he added. “I went to one of my managers and he told me that his wife had started selling things there, so I decided I wanted to try it.
"It was just a process of evolution from there. It's a very specialist site which reflects my lifelong passion for Omega watches. I started selling into places like Harrods because my daughter Rachele is in the fashion business and had contacts there. I did supply the big retailers for a short time until I decided I would be better off selling to individuals. It's all about customer relationships; customers come back time and time again to buy watches from me."
The original Parker business, which dates from the 1880s, was bought by Mr Hayman in the late 1990s.
He added: "The best advice I can give to an aspiring entrepreneur is to keep on going and provide great service to the customer; because the customer is king. A family friend, Josie Gascoigne, who I have worked with since I was 17 recently retired at the age of 90. She had worked with our family jewellery stores for 65 years. The most expensive watch I have ever sold was a Platinum Rolex Daytona watch which commanded a price of £150,000. Watches had traditionally been passed from generation to generation; I have my father and grandfather's watch. Watches forge an enduring connection with people. I am still keeping myself busy. I'm acting as a consultant for David Myers, the businessman who has bought the business. I have worked with David for 45 years."
Fellows Auctioneers in Birmingham is offering for sale the Peter Hayman Retirement Watch Collection. The auction will take place on October 5 at 10 am in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. Stephen Whittaker, Managing Director at Fellows Auctioneers said: "Peter’s unwavering commitment to excellence and the exacting standards he upheld are abundantly evident in the items we are offering for sale in this auction.”