Lessons in Leadership from Laura Lambert, founder of Fenton jewellery

·4-min read
Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

Laura Lambert knows her luxury market. She also understands the power of rethinking that market. After a long and successful career at Bicester Village, the retail outlet that did just that, she decided to tackle the engagement ring industry - which she found was lacking innovation and in need of a refresh.

In 2018, she founded Fenton - a digital-first jewellery brand that highlights affordable gemstones as an alternative to diamonds and works tirelessly to ensure such high ethical and sustainability credentials that it was awarded B Corp status; only the third jewellery brand to be given the accolade. Lambert has steered the brand through the pandemic seamlessly, thanks to her insistence on a direct to consumer digital marketplace.

Here, she shares the lessons she has learnt along the way.

The three most important qualities for a good leader are…

"Resilience, fairness and a strong sense of strategy and direction."

My personal strength as a leader is…

"I am determined to the point of being annoyingly stubborn. I'm not sure if that's always a strength, but it occasionally comes in handy!"

Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

The biggest priority for my business right now is…

"To keep our execution in terms of the design of our product and our unique customer experience at an excellent level as we scale and keep our positive growth momentum going. It's so exciting to think about new markets, products and opportunities, but we also want to make sure we keep the focus on our core and our Fenton customer while we're exploring."

The economic outlook may be uncertain, but I’m mitigating risk by…

"Exploring any new avenues with lots of consumer testing and by taking our time to prove out as much as possible before we start to deploy major resources."


I keep my team motivated by…

"Encouraging them to recognise each other's good work and take the time to see what they can learn from one another as we look forwards to the future of Fenton. I am always excited by good ideas no matter how big or small, or where they come from in the business. Lots of us get involved across teams when we're brainstorming new ring designs, capsule collections, campaigns or new services and experiences for our clients. Finding someone the perfect engagement or celebration ring is a very special moment and as a team we get create energy working together to explore new ways to transform this experience."

The hardest decision I’ve had to make as a leader was…

"Accelerating into the wind, we upped our marketing investment as lockdown hit in March 2020. It was terrifying but turned out to be the right call to press ahead instead of pulling back. We continued to push ourselves and try and make best use of a time when we, and everyone else was at home. This culminated in us creating and publishing our first book in September - 'Notes on Love', a collection of essays about the changing nature of love and relationships."

The worst mistake I’ve ever made as a leader (and the lessons I learnt from it)

"I've learned to be tougher on candidates in interviews and trust my gut, it's more fair on them and on the rest of the team in the long run to figure out quickly if someone isn't going to be right for the job."

Photo credit: Courtesy
Photo credit: Courtesy

An effective leader will always…

"Listen, stop and think."

An effective leader will never…

"Talk down to people."


My role model for leadership is…

"This might be really random but Captain Dick Winters from Band of Brothers was the first person to spring to mind!"


The one piece of advice I’d give to a new leader is…

"Leadership is often lonely, find a support system outside your team so you can get context, step back and evaluate how you're doing on a regular basis."

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