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Editor's Desk



Coleby Nicholson
Coleby Nicholson
 










Once upon a time…

It was March 1996 and Australian Jeweller was published for the very first time. Fast forward fifteen years later and much has changed. Or has it? The issues that were poignant then such as controversial discounting and 'two-price' advertising remain as relevant today. Coleby Nicholson looks at the changing landscape in the Australian jewellery industry.

I had had enough of magazine publishing. It was 1995 and the deadline driven world of magazines had taken its toll on me. It was a different era – the print media industry had undergone its first major restructure courtesy of desktop publishing – and the company I started just five years earlier, Niche Media, had grown very quickly.

With 10 titles, 40 staff and interstate offices, I sold Niche vowing I would never again work in publishing. I learned two things; never say ‘never’ and if you don’t want to be involved in an industry again, make sure you have no contact with it!

About six months later I received a call from a publishing colleague asking, “What are you doing?” I replied, “Having a coffee, why?” He said he meant work wise, and then explained he needed to launch a new magazine.

I laughed, telling him I had to go because I needed to order a second coffee! He called again the next day and I said, “Not you again”. He asked me to be serious and explained that there was a need for a new trade magazine.

I had launched and relaunched many magazines and my colleague was trying to convince me to launch a new industry magazine. I asked, “Which industry?” and he told me. I laughed again and hung up. He immediately called back saying, “Stop mucking around. I’m serious.” I replied, “What do I know about jewellery? Nothing.”

He explained that it would be a serious business magazine, not a consumer magazine. Anyway, I joined the new project on the basis that I would stay for between six to 12 months and then move on.

So, 15 years ago in March 1996, Australian Jeweller was born.  So what’s changed in the 15 years?

The first cover story dealt with the then controversial issue of ‘discounting’ and ‘two price’ (Was/Now) advertising. I wrote, “If the industry hasn’t already been damaged by these practices, then it surely will be if it is allowed to continue.”

The first issue had 16 advertisers, many of which, sadly, are no longer in business. I also note that the first issue contained a story about a Sydney man who had started an online jewellery ‘store’. He made a number of seemingly wild predictions, and while his predictions on timing were not accurate, everything that story covered in 1996 has eventually come true.

After the successful launch I left the magazine and ventured into a completely different industry vowing, once again, to never work in publishing. What was that about never saying ‘never’? How wrong I was!

Five years later I was enticed back to publishing and took over the management of Australian Jeweller again, and, as history shows, acquired the title and relaunched it in 2006 as Jeweller.

The point of this ‘history lesson’ is to not only mark the 15th anniversary of the magazine, it’s to demonstrate how much things change and yet remain the same.

Many of the issues we have covered since that first issue remain with us today; people and companies come and go but, it seems, ‘issues’ linger.

It’s also interesting to look back and note how much my industry, publishing, has been affected by the internet compared with the jewellery industry. A Mac truck has hit the media industry, figuratively speaking, whereas the jewellery industry has, so far, been walloped with a feather duster!

Sure, the jewellery industry has evolved, but it has largely escaped the dramatic restructure of other industries. For example, I cannot believe how a retailer in this day and age does not have an email address!

One thing is for sure however, while many of the observations about the internet that appeared in our first issue took significantly longer to occur than predicted, the speed of technological change compounds; in five years, let alone 15 years’ time, will a retailer survive without a website, let alone an email address?

Wow, 15 years! I need another coffee. Make it a triple shot!

Coleby Nicholson
Editor










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