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Common sense for common purpose, please!

Another International Jewellery Fair (IJF) has come and gone and the ‘buzz’ on the first day caught many by surprise; the atmosphere among the retailers and exhibitors was certainly upbeat.

It’s no secret that the jewellery industry has been doing it ‘tough’ for the past two years, though it is not the only retail sector affected by Australia’s current, weird economic conditions – the economy is strong but people aren’t spending, so it was understandable that neither suppliers nor retailers had high hopes for this year’s Fair.

Expertise Events announced that visitor attendance has increased over last year’s event and while it did appear that the mood and numbers were up, it should be remembered how significantly JAA-created industry division and turmoil affected the 2017 event.

What I found more interesting is the change in the pattern of visitor attendance; traditionally, Sunday has been the busiest day but there was no doubt that Saturday was much busier this year.

Sadly, 2017 was not a stellar year for the Australian jewellery industry and the Fair offered a chance to put that behind us. Certainly there were many more smiling faces this year and it felt once more like the good ol’ days where everyone gathers at the Fair to see old friends and colleagues.

Speaking of the ‘good old days’ I think that too many people attempt to compare the Fair to the boon times of 8–10 years ago. Exhibitors and visitors with whom I spoke all noted the improvement over last year but some still pine for the glory days, which is unrealistic.

"While we are discussing common sense matters, perhaps we could look at a more sensible approach to the various jewellery design awards too."

One supplier at the Fair was quick to point the finger at many people when I was discussing this topic. When I asked him if his business was just as good as it was in 2010, he replied, “No”.

I asked him if that was his fault and he answered, “Of course not, times are tough”. So he didn’t want to be held accountable for the state of his business, but in the same breath blamed it on others for the wider industry woes!

Back to my point, we have little control over macro-economic issues but we can get back to the good ol’ days of an industry that is unified and cohesive.

I think it’s interesting to note that Leading Edge is considering scheduling its annual members’ conference to take place during next year’s Fair, rather than at a separate location prior to the event.

Unlike Nationwide, which coordinates member activities and education, as well as its annual awards at the Sydney trade show, Leading Edge and Showcase organise their events in the days before.

There has been growing dissatisfaction from suppliers about the inconvenience and expense of attending three separate events – the Leading Edge event, the Showcase event and the Fair – all of which could easily be conducted under one roof at the same time.

This convergence of events used to happen many years ago so there’s no reason why all three buying groups can’t work together with Expertise Events for the benefit of the whole industry, especially after the JAA’s disastrous attempt to divide the trade.

Wouldn’t it be a great thing to see everyone under the one roof in 2019?

While we are discussing common sense matters, perhaps we could look at a more sensible approach to the various jewellery design awards too. There are at least three major competitions – JAA Design Awards, Jewellery Design Awards, Diamond Guild Awards – as well as a few smaller events, all serving a small audience.

There’s so much duplication here, with all three competitions seeking sponsorship from the same companies.

There’s an argument to be had that common sense could prevail here too.

Indeed, let’s nominate 2019 as The Year of Common Sense for the Australian jewellery industry and hopefully achieve a return to the good ol’ days.











ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Coleby Nicholson • Managing Editor

Managing Editor • Jeweller Magazine


Coleby Nicholson is publisher and managing editor of Jeweller magazine. He has covered the jewellery industry for more than a decade and specialises in business-to-business aspects of the industry.









Thursday, 18 October, 2018 12:14pm
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