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Coleby Nicholson has lots of inane ideas about the Australian jewellery industry. Here's another! | Source: Freepik
Coleby Nicholson has lots of inane ideas about the Australian jewellery industry. Here's another! | Source: Freepik

Dumb Ideas

COLEBY NICHOLSON has lots of inane ideas about the Australian jewellery industry. Here's another!

I’d been thinking and I came-up with a crazy idea. In fact, it’s quite a silly one. Now ... regular readers might believe that most of my ideas are stupid, but what the heck!

So, here’s a new stupid idea, one completely out of left field: extensive industry experience is not necessarily a good thing.

My brainwave came about while roaming the Sydney jewellery fair last year. It was at that event that I found myself thinking that one’s extensive industry knowledge could be detrimental to a business.

It all sounds a bit stupid, right? Maybe not!

My hypothesis is that too many jewellery suppliers have too much knowledge and experience, and (because of it) they can’t see the forest for the trees.

They know how things are done because they have been doing them that way for years and years.

Wandering amongst all the exhibitors, I was able to see that many suppliers are doing the same things they did last year. In fact, they’re doing the same things as the year before that too. There is nothing new in their approach.

And with the Brisbane Jewellery Fair fast approaching, I figure many will be doing the same thing all over again - same old, same old, as they say!

Now, that’s not a bad thing if what you are doing is successful but I have now watched and listened to enough suppliers to have some idea of how their businesses are travelling and, for some, all is not as rosy as they would like.

Of course, these suppliers are immensely experienced and have far greater knowledge than I. But this got me thinking that perhaps they know too much!

Could it be that their experience is detrimental?

"Many suppliers, who would have been called “market leaders” some years ago, are today so far behind their competitors, it’s not funny."

For a start, we work in an industry that is all about look and perception. The products on offer are designed to enhance one’s appearance and how other people perceive us.

People buy and wear jewellery to look and feel better, and yet, many of the people that supply the product have no regard for how they present their own product and company, continuing to roll out the exact same stands year after year, the same boring point of sale items (if they even exist) and never changing the way they market their image.

But they must know what they’re doing, right?

Many suppliers, who would have been called “market leaders” some years ago, are today so far behind their competitors, it’s not funny. In fact, it’s been interesting to watch their presence and authority at trade events wither almost into oblivion.

But surely they know what they’re doing because they have extensive experience, right?

Consider this: there is a small group of suppliers that have been driving the Australian jewellery industry for the last 2-3 years. If you attended the Sydney trade fair last year you would not have missed them.

Leading the charge is, of course, Pandora, a company whose success has been so rapid and so profound it could be classed as a phenomenon.

Pandora’s Karin Adcock openly acknowledges that she had no knowledge of the jewellery industry just four years ago when she started selling her “little beads”?

Could it be coincidental that the recent success of two other brands is also aided by a lack of “experience”? After all, who had heard of Thomas Sabo jewellery two years ago? And what about Georgini? I imagine not many.

So who are these upstarts and what industry experience did they have?

The people behind Thomas Sabo (Phil Edwards) and Georgini (Gina Kougias) are new-chums to the jewellery industry. They didn’t know how things were “supposed” to be done. Perhaps their lack of experience did not get in the way of success.

And, like Pandora, maybe it contributed because they have all taken risks.

If you saw the stands of these exhibitors in Sydney, you would understand exactly how they have built such successful brands.

If, like me, you compared their marketing approach to those of the “experienced” suppliers, you might think my hypothesis is not so silly after all. The so-called new chums see the forest.

Next time someone brags to me that they have 20 years industry experience, I might reply, “No, you don’t. You have one year’s experience, 20 times over!”

 











ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Coleby Nicholson

Former Publisher • Jeweller Magazine


Coleby Nicholson launched Jeweller in 1996 and was also publisher and managing editor from 2006 to 2019. He has covered the jewellery industry for more than 20 years and specialises in business-to-business aspects of the industry.

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