Lebeado shuts up shop in Jesmond

Big rents, high rates, disappointing sales and better opportunities in London are the main reasons jewellery and accessories retailer Lebeado is closing its branch on Jesmond’s Acorn Road, says co-founder Kate Watkin.

Lebeado founders Jill and Kate Watkin

Lebeado opened the Jesmond store in 2008 following a successful first year of trading at its first shop in Durham. But while the Durham store and Lebeado’s online operations will remain open, the Acorn Road branch will shut to enable Watkin and her mother and business partner Jill Watkin to open a store inside the new Westfield Shopping Centre in London’s Shepherd’s Bush.

“It’s very sad but it’s about going forward as a business,” Watkin told JesmondLocal. “Our takings have been down in Jesmond where the rents and rates for independent retailers like us are unfeasible. Something really needs to be done about that.

“Our Durham branch has been more than washing its face, but it has been subsidising the Jesmond shop. The manager in our Acorn Road store was already planning to leave, so thankfully no-one will be losing their job.”

Watkin, who has spent much of the last year in London, says she had not originally envisaged opening a store in a shopping centre, but that the Westfield Centre’s rate-free offer was too good to miss. “Thankfully the Lebeado brand is doing well, we are a finalist in the forthcoming National Retail Awards and the response in London, where we’ve been doing a lot of beading parties, has been very positive.

“In some respects it seems a crazy time to be leaving Acorn Road with people like Oxfam and Me Me Me opening new shops. And there has been plenty of interest in our lease. But I wouldn’t rule out coming back to Jesmond and Acorn Road one day because I love the vibe here.”

12 thoughts on “Lebeado shuts up shop in Jesmond”

  1. Paula says:

    Jesmond has lost many independent retailers recently. Very sad. I’ll miss Lebeado. I did find them expensive for jewellery supplies but loved the atmosphere there and bought many ready-mades.

  2. Dan says:

    What a shame. It’s shops like Lebeado which give Acorn Road its vibrancy, and if they’re being pushed out by rates & rent that aren’t justified by takings, then that spells trouble for Jesmond. I feel an investigation coming on…

  3. henry says:

    rubbish – it cant be the lease as they own the building – look at their accounts from co house – soon find why they’re closing. The Durham store has a never ending sale on.

  4. Kate Watkin says:


    Dan and Paula,

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments they are very much appreciated by Mum and I and all the staff at Lebeado. We will miss being in Jesmond and over the last couple of years have made many friends amongst our customers, many of whom are already making the journey to Durham to visit us there.

    A major part of Lebeado’s philosophy is to become part of the local communities we serve and to contribute to the worldwide community in whatever way we can. We rely on the support of the local community and therefore want to become involved and make a contribution in whichever way we can. In addition to attending local fairs and getting involved in various projects helping disadvantaged groups we have finanacially supported a local sports college and sent sums of money to The Yakanaka Foundation in Zimbabwe. We are proud of our achievements and will continue to work with the same enthusiasm in Durham and London.

    We were delighted to receive the following letter from Jesmond Community Forum;

    “…We are very sad to hear that lebeado is leaving Jesmond.

    You will be sorely missed and we thank you for giving generous and enthusiastic support to the Jesmond Community Forum with such effortless community spirit. We should like very much to force you to return for the next Jesmond Community Festival (how about an outreach activity from your Durham branch?) but appreciate that London offers opportunities which you cannot ignore.

    We wish you the best of luck in your new venture – but Acorn Rd will just not be the same without the presence lebeado has carved in such a relatively short period of time.
    We hope that lebeado will return to Newcastle – but in the meantime, send you our very best wishes for its success in London…”

    Henry, the accounts you are referring to our first two years of trading! As for having a permanent sale in Durham our current sale has lasted for 2 weeks and we have 2 sales a year, coupled with special offers from time to time which is totally in line with all other retailers.

    We are really proud of what we and the Lebeado team have achieved in a very short period of time – Lebeado was only an idea in June 2007 and we are about to open an outlet in London. We could not have chosen a worse time to embark on our first business venture during the worst recession faced by the World since The Great Depression, but we are still here thanks to our phenomenally loyal customer base. We will be looking to open another branch of Lebeado in Eldon Square in early 2011.

    Thank you all for your kind words and support and we look forward to seeing you again.

    Please feel free to contact me on 07766 165 544.


    kate and lebeado

  5. Mark says:

    What a great company Lebeado is and what a loss for Jesmond and the North East, having created and sustained so many jobs. A fantastic effort getting into Westfield with only two years training time and even more so in a time of recession (Henry I appreciate that you would have it done in the first month and had a million pound business in the first year) and as a business owner myself I would urge everyone in this time of economic hardship to support all local businesses in your respective areas. All the best for Westfield and future ventures. We look forward to your return to Jesmond soon.

  6. Rachel Flint says:

    Such a loss for Jesmond.

    Following the article from Jesmond Local earlier in the year, Lebeado is yet another brilliant store to be lost by Jesmond. The rent rates are getting beyond a joke and Acorn Road / Brentwood have been some of the biggest losers of this harsh economic crisis.

    We need to all start supporting these truly unique independent stores, support our local community, and back the survival of Jesmond’s family businesses. Hopefully the new Jesmond campaign, Love Local – Love Jesmond will help everyone to get back in touch with these individual stores, and revitalise the area to the way it was not so long ago.

    Lebeado will be truly missed by the North East. It was by far the best accessory store I have ever had the pleasure of shopping in. I truly enjoyed the beading session, and the ‘boys, beer and beading evenings’ where a great way of men making truly original and creatively personal gifts for their ladies.

    I loved this shop, and it was one of my all time favourites in Jesmond and Newcastle.

    Good luck guys. I will treasure the bracelet I have, and I hope to make another when we meet again soon.

    Regards Rachel (Shopping editor at Jesmond Local) p.s. can you open one in Liverpool please, soon.

  7. henry says:

    you didn’t address the point – that you own the building!

    so the issue of high leases is a red herring.

    Oh the Durham shop is now up for sale – ashley smith surveyors

    what a load of whitewash from team watkin

  8. Jack says:

    Kate – if you can’t afford the rents in jesmond – how are you going to fund the rents in Eldon Square?

    you are talking of a four fold increase!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Alison says:

    Extremely disappointed to find the Durham branch closed (weekdn of Durham Xmas fair 2010 ) & floor space completely emptied – a very upset little girl had her Xmas dream spoilt -also friends who bought vouchers for LeBeado are now left wondering how they can redeem (if at all).

  10. CASSANDRA says:

    hi could you please tell me the name of the estate agent dealing with Lebeado as i am interested in this shop. thanks

  11. Simo says:

    Ouch! – http://www.nebusiness.co.uk/business-news/latest-business-news/2011/01/05/jewellery-firm-lebeado-ltd-goes-into-liquidation-51140-27933677/

    I did always wonder how they could survive in Westfield if Jesmond didn’t work…

  12. steve says:

    Henry, as the new tenant of no.9 Acorn Rd., I can assure you that the Watkins’ do not own the property.

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