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Are you ready for the Year of the Dragon?

What you think, you create. What you feel, you attract. RITA PRICE encourages you to make the most of the new opportunities 2024 will bring.

With a new year comes new opportunities in the jewellery industry – and your business needs to be ready to capitalise on what’s shaping up for a productive year.

In the Chinese lunar calendar, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon – the fifth of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Zodiac. This is one of the oldest systems of astrology in the world.

There is a widespread belief among those who follow the system that individuals born in the Year of the Dragon are destined for good fortune. In many Asian cultures, fertility rates even increase during Dragon years as families hope to coincide birth with specific star signs.

Quite generally, many people believe that the Year of the Dragon brings prosperity and good fortune – and based on what I’ve seen and heard from my customers so far, I’m one of them.

This year brings promising opportunities for jewellery businesses across Australia.

From personal experience, customers have never been more interested in custom-made and bespoke jewellery. The passion for quality craftsmanship is strong, and consumers are willing to pay more for jewellery that carries personal meaning.

"This means that you should be giving your customers the highest possible standard of service, too – and that doesn’t just mean quality jewellery."

There’s no doubt that economic pressures are affecting personal budgets; earlier this month, I was working with a customer who told me of the many ways rising interest rates are impacting his family and the stress that brings.

Still, he was taking the time to purchase custom-made jewellery because it brings him happiness.

Jewellery that comes straight off the shelf, which consumers know thousands of other people are wearing simultaneously, can’t offer this kind of emotional attachment.

This desire for custom-made jewellery presents an exciting opportunity for jewellers to showcase their talents and abilities. People love personalised jewellery that helps them ‘grab a moment’ and transform those feelings into a design they can wear.

We learned during the pandemic that people like to spend money on personal adornments to reward themselves for enduring challenges during hard times.

Even with recent economic challenges, customers are still willing to spend, which is a timely reminder that you cannot take them for granted.

You cannot cut corners with your customers. You can’t use inferior products and materials. You should use the highest quality materials to reward your customers for their faith in your business.

Local consumers love wearing jewellery made from Australian materials, whether it be gemstones, gold, or other metals.

Consumers know bespoke jewellery is of a higher quality than mass manufactured products and understand the price and guarantee differences. They will happily pay extra if the jewellery is of the highest possible standard.

Giving your customers a high standard of service is also an important point of difference in retail.

In the first week of this year, a customer entered my studio in tears. It was completely unexpected. She had visited another jeweller hoping to get a ring resized.

"Giving life and new meaning to old designs is terrific, and as every jeweller knows, the best part of the job is handing over the final piece to the customer."

When she explained the issue to the jeweller, he made an off-handed personal comment about her. She was devastated – and so was I!

Given my positive interactions with my customers daily, I couldn’t believe someone could be so blase and hurtful.
Then there’s the business ramifications – of course, there’s the lost sale - but also consider all the people she will tell about this terrible experience. The impact a simple, off-handed comment can have on a business long-term can be severe.

As of late, I’m encountering more and more customers with older jewellery they would like to see restored or repurposed. Whether it’s something from their parents or grandparents or just a beautiful old piece they’ve found, I think it’s fantastic.

Giving life and new meaning to old designs is terrific, and as every jeweller knows, the best part of the job is handing over the final piece to the customer.

Returning a restored ring to a family that’s owned the piece for a century and knowing it will stay with them for another hundred years is a great feeling.

I firmly believe that what you put into the world is returned to you. You get out what you put in. If you’re kind to people, you’ll get kindness back. If you work with integrity, you’ll be rewarded with customers who appreciate your creations.

Conversely, if you cut corners and produce work you’re not proud of, that energy will return to your business.

The nature of the jewellery industry is changing. Many older jewellers are retiring and young apprentices are stepping into their place. It is important that we uphold these standards to ensure success in the future.

To make the most of this year, consistently exceed customer expectations. If you always work to the highest possible standard and offer a service better than expected, trust me, the rewards will come.

Name: Rita Price
Business: Tindrah of Sweden
Position: Owner & Jeweller
Location: New South Wales
Years in the industry: 25

More reading:
Crystal gazing: the future of lab-created diamonds
Are you working to live or living to work?
Visions of a jewellery industry that bears no human or environmental toll
Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it
Resetting the jewellery industry from top to bottom
Regulation is stifling Australia’s artisanal gemstone miners
 

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