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A new pavilion will showcase Australian-manufactured jewellery at the International Jewellery Fair
A new pavilion will showcase Australian-manufactured jewellery at the International Jewellery Fair

Sydney jewellery fair goes ‘Australian made’

A new initiative at this year’s Sydney jewellery fair is expected to shine a light on Australian manufacturers and the importance of supporting local businesses.

Expertise Events, organiser of the International Jewellery Fair (IJF), has announced an ‘Australian Made Pavilion’ at the 2015 trade fair. The pavilion has received the support of the Australian Made Campaign (AMC), a not-for-profit public company established to help local manufacturers clearly identify their products as being genuinely Australian.

Commenting on the importance of securing AMC support, Expertise Events managing director Gary Fitz-Roy said, “Like around 90 per cent of Australian jewellery suppliers and retailers we are a family business and proud to be so, therefore we are both excited and pleased to announce that the Australian Made Pavilion is sponsored by the AMC.”

AMC marketing and communications manager Ben Lazzaro confirmed the promotion and explained that businesses manufacturing jewellery in Australia would be able to showcase their wares under the Australian Made logo at the Sydney fair.

Ben Lazzaro, AMC marketing and communications manager
Ben Lazzaro, AMC marketing and communications manager

“Our logo is already well-known in the jewellery industry and the aim is to attract visitors to visit the special Australian Made Pavilion to see a whole range of Aussie-made product. While the wholesalers in the pavilion may not be AMC official licensees at the time, they will need to demonstrate that their product is locally made and hopefully they will see the benefit of promoting the Australian Made cause.”

Fitz-Roy said AMC staff throughout the three-day event would make seminar presentations, adding that he believed there would be great interest in the promotion.

“Jewellery manufacturing and buying has changed dramatically over the last decade and that’s why our initiative to come under the iconic umbrella of the AMC and their logo is so significant. It’s important that energy is put into the local market first and foremost,” he explained.

Embracing local products

The Australian Made logo is well-recognised and aims to provide consumers and businesses with a trusted symbol for genuine Australian-made products and produce. It was launched in 1999 by the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the network of state and territory chambers of commerce, with the cooperation of the Federal Government.

In 2002 the Federal Government transferred ownership of the logo to AMC via a deed of assignment and management, which set out strict conditions on how the company could administer the logo.

Many jewellery manufacturers – including Golden Mile Jewellery, Sunstate Jewellery, Rings of Melbourne and Allegria Jewellery – are already official licensees of AMC and can therefore promote and use the logo.

Gary Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events managing director
Gary Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events managing director

“Local wholesalers are an important fabric of the industry and we need to encourage them. They are able to support, repair, replace and deal with products quickly – our energy is well placed promoting these new initiatives and encouraging retailers to buy locally,” Fitz-Roy explained.

“As an international fair it would be very easy for us to bring overseas suppliers, like a Hong Kong pavilion, but that doesn't support the local market and only serves to create added competition with our local, family-run businesses.”

Fitz-Roy said he often received complaints about local retailers not supporting local manufacturers to the extent that they once did, preferring to source product direct from overseas suppliers.

“I think whilst retailers travelling to Asia believe they save money by buying overseas product, it’s a false economy. I get that retailers will see it as a holiday and want to see what’s new on the world stage but if they really looked at their costs of travel, accommodation and on-costs, by the time they buy and import, they aren’t saving as much as think.”

He added, “I think those companies who continue to employ staff here in our own backyard and who design and manufacture locally should receive more attention in the spotlight. Australian Made suppliers should have the industry’s support because it creates employment and that makes for a stronger and healthier industry.”

In related news, the announcement of the Australian Made initiative follows the formation of a group called the Jewellery Retail Advisory Group (JRAG). Expertise Events has brought together a number of jewellery retailers, representing a wide section of the industry, to offer advice and observations to help shape the future of the trade fairs.

Members of the JRAG include: Rick Jobson from Anthony’s Fine Jewellery, Garry Holloway from Holloway Diamonds, Varoujan Djevahirdjian from Varoujan Jewellers and Aaron Broom from the Regency Group. The Young Jewellers Group, which has more than 2,000 Facebook members, is also represented by its administrator, Ewen Riley.

Fitz-Roy said the decision to organise the group had already proved worthwhile. He explained that while he had been working on the idea of an Australian Made Pavilion for some time the recent JRAG meeting in Sydney confirmed that there was a need for the concept.

“We need engagement with a cross section of independent retailers and buyers who can give candid feedback to what they and their colleagues want to see more of, the challenges they are facing and of course the opportunities,” he added.

“By having regular engagement across the year we believe we can implement changes for the good of the fair and the industry, and we have already received some great feedback from these leading jewellery retailers.”

Jobson said he believed the formation of the group was important to ensuring the longevity of the Australian jewellery fairs.

“For my part, I contributed as I strongly believe the industry needs a local trade fair. While many larger companies will attend one or more international fairs, there are still strong reasons for the survival of an Australian fair,” he explained, adding, “Both from an exhibitor’s point of view, especially for small and up-and-coming manufactures or suppliers, but also for retailers to visit without the time and higher costs of international travel.”

More reading
Aussie branding: a shore defence
Getting the best out of branded jewellery
Brand consciousness: competing with the big boys

 











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