Under starter's orders for Kyles' jewellery launch

VIVIEN Kyles, the chief executive of Hamilton Park Racecourse, will get her new business off and running this week with the opening of a shop in Glasgow indulging her love of jewellery.

Arabesque in Byres Road will open to the public on Friday as the UK's sole supplier of Mimi & Marge, the Canadian-owned range favoured by Black Eyed Peas frontwoman Fergie. Kyles has invested 300,000 in the venture, which features other exclusive lines as well as the Pandora and TiSento collections.

Opening the shop marks a departure for the horse racing executive, who has worked for most of her career in the fields of either technology or sport.

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She will continue in her role at Hamilton Park, but said Arabesque appealed both to her heart and her business head.

"I was giving a speech at a Rotary Club and talking through my career and then taking questions afterwards," Kyles said. "Then somebody in the audience said to me, if you were to do something for yourself, what would it be? I immediately said I would open a jewellery store."

She began working in earnest on the project in November and, despite lingering economic uncertainty and depressed consumer spending, believes brand loyalty, attention to pricing and an emphasis on service by the shop's five staff can combine to make Arabesque a success.

"There are still plenty of people who are treating themselves, especially if we have got the pricing points right," she said.

"People are being price conscious, absolutely, and are looking for bargains, but some days they are also looking for something special."

Kyles has been chief executive of Hamilton Park since June 2008, and was recently appointed to industry steering group Racing for Change.

She was previously chief executive of Livingston Football Club, where she worked for four years after bringing the club out of administration.

She was also the first female to sit on the Scottish Football League Management Committee.

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Kyles qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young, and spent a period advising technology start-ups at Hillington Innovation Centre before joining telecoms business Damovo.