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News, State of the Industry Report

Articles from INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS (262 Articles)












JAA's fall from grace: 2020 State of the Jewellery Industry Report

Part four of Jeweller’s analysis of the Australian jewellery industry explores and tracks how the JAA fell from grace from a once-proud association to a shadow of its former self, representing a small percentage of the industry.

BY THE NUMBERS
JAA OVERVIEW
______



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Founded in 1931, the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) is the local trade association for the jewellery industry. Its stated mission is: 'Advancing the Australian jewellery industry through representation, unity and consumer confidence'

________


10–15%

proportion of the Australian jewellery industry (retailers and suppliers) who were members of the JAA, 
as of 2020

_________

431

total JAA members in
2020 
– a decline of 50% in eight years

_________

90%+

decline in JAA third-party sponsorship income, 2010–2020

REPORT INDEX - CLICK ITEM TO JUMP TO RELEVANT SECTION


G O  S T R A I G H T   T O 

» Background
» Industry division begins
» Worse yet to come
» Final blow, game over
» Accounting debacle
» Poor judgment; four years on

» CHARTS: The JAA Financial Statements
» TIMELINE: Tracking a Decade of Division

 


The Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) would not consider the past decade auspicious. Indeed, it’s fair to say that much of it would rather be forgotten. As financial records demonstrate, it has lost more than $250,000 since 2012.

It once boasted a noble aim to be "the peak industry body that represents greater than 75 per cent of industry participants”, however; with membership at a record low, the JAA now represents fewer businesses than the buying groups and as little as 10–15 per cent of the wider Australian jewellery industry.

On all measures, including financial, promotional and reputational, the JAA has performed poorly. Membership is still in a free-fall, dropping 17 per cent in one year to reach a new low in 2020 (431 members), while revenue continues to decline and financial support from ‘sponsors’ has all but dried up.

The downfall of the association was largely caused by poor research, ill-advised decisions, missteps and ‘personality politics’, as the following analysis demonstrates.

Yet before we scrutinise the JAA’s performance over the past 10 years, some background information is required.

Background

Jeweller was established in 1996 as the first – and only – monthly industry magazine at a time when the trade was booming. The magazine was adopted by the JAA as its official member publication; however, while there was a formal relationship between the publisher and the JAA, the magazine always maintained its autonomy.

As the industry’s journal of record, it was important to report the news and facts, regardless of politics. Editorial independence was a foundational part of the agreement between Jeweller and the JAA, as was Jeweller’s ‘sponsorship’ of the JAA.

From 1996, the magazine made financial contributions to the JAA of $25,000–$30,000 per annum as part of this ‘sponsorship’. The long-term relationship ended in April 2017, after 20 years, when Jeweller informed the JAA that it would not renew the agreement.

In the ‘90s, when the agreement began, the JAA’s membership was well over 1,000, representing both retailers and suppliers. Arguably, it held a strong and influential position in the industry.

The JAA was also well supported and ‘sponsored’ by a wide range of businesses that offered services to the industry, from insurance and security to exhibition organisers and freight and foreign exchange services.

This point is of particular importance as it is in this area of third-party sponsorships that the JAA has seen the greatest plunge – amounting to more than 90 per cent income decline over a period of just eight years.

These businesses, like Jeweller, financially supported the JAA, paying it hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, which often represented 40-50 per cent of the association’s total annual revenue (see Table 3).

It is not uncommon for industry associations to rely upon sponsorships and/or commission arrangements from third-party providers to boost revenue and cover staffing and management costs. At the beginning of the 2010s decade, the JAA’s annual revenue could easily support a full-time CEO, as well as two to four staff responsible for marketing and promotional activities, member management and benefits, as well as accounting and other administration functions.

Today it has one part-time staff member.

It was the ‘glory days’ of the JAA; its staffing costs of $350,000–$400,000 were outweighed by membership income alone, while the same amount – or more – rolled in each year from industry sponsors and 'partners'.

Yet managing the needs of members and ensuring an association is financially viable is always a fine balance, and this balancing act must be handled skilfully. It is here that the JAA often ‘kicked an own-goal’.

Poor and ill-advised decisions caused controversy and disruption across all sectors throughout the past 10 years – some of which led to long-term reputational and financial damage, alienating segments of the JAA’s own industry and membership.

For example, in May 2012 the JAA angered many when its CEO issued an email inviting members to join Rapnet, an internet diamond trading platform with its headquarters in New York.

On all measures, including financial, promotional and reputational, the JAA has performed poorly. Membership is still in a free-fall, dropping 17 per cent in one year to reach a new low in 2020

Effectively, the JAA was seen to be promoting an overseas business to the detriment of its own members by suggesting that, rather than buying from local diamond dealers – many of whom were JAA members – Australian retailers undertake their diamond purchases via a US-based business.

The fallout was heavy among diamond dealers, who considered the JAA to be working against members. A group of 11 diamond dealers met and called on the JAA’s CEO to explain their actions, and issued an open letter to the jewellery industry.

Finally, the CEO was forced to issue a clarification, saying, “I wish to personally apologise to those companies and to assure them it was never our intention that it be seen as a message from the JAA not to continue to support local suppliers.”

The JAA fought long and hard to recover from the reputational damage of the Rapnet furore, and by February 2014 it announced that it was looking for a new leader after opting against renewing the incumbent CEO’s contract.

A replacement was named by June 2014, leading to a relatively uncontroversial period of around 18 months as the new CEO settled into the role.

However, March 2016 marked a turning point when the JAA was forced to cancel the Australasian Jewellery Awards – its biennial design competition – barely a month after announcing the event, due to a lack of sponsorship.

Embarrassingly, the organisation had been unable to secure local industry support for its prestigious awards despite having two years to do so. Unfortunately, this was a sign of much worse things to come, and ultimately began the process of the JAA’s free-fall in membership numbers, revenue, reputation – and viability.

Industry division begins

Having blamed industry suppliers for their lack of support for the jewellery awards, only two months later the JAA decided that it would launch a much larger project – transforming the association into an event organiser.

Apparently, dissatisfied with its 25-year sponsorship agreement with Expertise Events – organiser of the International Jewellery Fair (IJF, now the International Jewellery & Watch Fair) in Sydney – the JAA announced on 23 May 2016 that it would launch its own trade show the following year, directly competing with the IJF.

Overnight, the JAA assumed the huge financial exposure that accompanies the organisation of large-scale events, putting members’ funds at risk. And, in effect, the association had deliberately split the industry

The JAA’s planned new fair caused massive division in the local industry because suppliers would be forced to choose between two separate trade events held on the same days in the same city at different locations!

In what was seen as an extraordinary move by many; the JAA not only announced its intention to hold a rival fair two months after cancelling its own design awards because of a lack of support, but it also made the announcement about its 2017 trade show just three months before the 2016 IJF, trade show.

In effect, pushed by a small and vocal minority, the JAA had decided to become an exhibition organiser and to compete with its own long-term sponsor.

Overnight, with its statement, the JAA assumed the huge financial exposure that accompanies the organisation of large-scale events, putting members’ funds at risk. And, in effect, the association had deliberately split the industry, calling on suppliers to support a new, unproven event over a specialist event organiser with a 25-year track record.

This was done while simultaneously deciding to forego the more than $100,000 annual cash sponsorship it would receive from the IJF organiser, for doing little more than ‘lending’ its name, credibility and support to the fair.

Worse yet to come

It was a strategic blunder because it meant that its planned 2017 fair would be $100,000 behind the eight ball from day one. The JAA would need to organise an event that made $100,000 in profit, just to be in the same position it had been before, when it did nothing except accepting sponsorship income from Expertise Events.

But the worst was yet to come. The JAA’s decision to hold a new fair not only divided the industry but also led to numerous resignations within its own board of directors, as well as losing the valuable support of the buying groups.

Following months of speculation, on 7 September 2016, two of the three buying groups announced they would not support the JAA’s new event, tabling their research and reasoning behind the decision.

Adding insult to injury, the JAA issued press releases attacking a respected director after he resigned from the board on 9 September 2016, which angered and infuriated retailers – resulting in members cancelling their JAA memberships.

The JAA president, vice-president and executive director signed the extraordinary press release attacking their board colleague. That set-in-train further controversy which resulted in the vice-president being forced to resign a month later because it was announced that she would be leaving her job with a high-profile industry supplier.

With fractured loyalties and membership beginning to decline, the JAA’s various decisions had set it on the path to financial adversity

With fractured loyalties and membership beginning to decline, the JAA’s various decisions had set it on the path to financial adversity.

The 2016 Expertise Events Sydney fair proceeded in late August, without the JAA’s attendance along with threats of legal action among various parties.

The mess had even extended to industry magazine Jewellery World, which found itself in hot water when it published a story about ownership of the Sydney event.

Under the heading “Whose fair is it?” an unnamed author wrote, “Previously, the JAA has extended an invitation to organisers to run it on the industry’s behalf. The fair organiser signs what are multi-year contracts for the privilege of running the fair and pays a commission back to the Association [JAA].”

No such thing had happened.

Expertise Events commenced legal proceedings on 3 August against the magazine’s managing director and editor in the Supreme Court of NSW, over the publication of alleged misleading and untrue statements.

The case reached a Court directions hearing which resulted in Jewellery World managing director Jeremy Keight publishing an unreserved apology to Expertise Events on its website in September and in the October 2016 issue.

The article, titled ‘Apology to Expertise Events Pty Ltd and Mr Gary Fitz-Roy’ read: “We unreservedly withdraw and retract those statements and apologise to Expertise Events and Mr Fitz-Roy for any harm these statements may have caused."

Contrary to what he had previously published, Keight acknowledged that Expertise Events owned the 25-year-old tradeshow and “has been successfully conducting the Fair since 1992.”

The resolution also included ‘compensation’ to Expertise Events.

The industry division and fall out didn’t stop there. Over the next six months, more extraordinary details were unveiled, including the JAA’s own president deciding not to support his association’s new fair.

His business declined to exhibit and, in another embarrassing turn of events, it was later revealed that the business was not, in fact, even a member of the JAA.

Final blow, game over

On 28 April 2017, Showcase Jewellers announced that it would no longer “exclusively” support the JAA event and would instead support the IJF at the new International Convention Centre at Sydney’s Darling Harbour.

A few days later (3 May) it became known that another JAA board member had resigned – the third of six. Interestingly, the JAA did not announce the resignation at the time. The JAA president subsequently confirmed the departure saying it was “a few weeks ago [and was] because of work and family commitments.”

On the same day, the JAA announced that it would move the location of its planned event from Moore Park to an unnamed location around Darling Harbour. It caused widespread confusion and anger.

It was seen by the industry as a desperate move to “save face”.

The same day Australia’s three buying groups released a joint statement that called for industry unity by asking “all” retailers and suppliers to support the IJF in 2017.

Finally, on 8 May, five days after the buying groups called for unity  – exactly 12 months after it was first announced – the JAA cancelled the show due to lack of support. The JAA’s executive director, who had spearheaded the event, resigned on the same day the event was abandoned.

Not only did the failed venture come at an enormous cost to the JAA’s reputation and that of its leaders, but membership immediately fell by 20 per cent the following year (139 members) and has declined since. (See Table 1)

From 2016 to 2020, JAA membership has fallen by 42 per cent (313 members) and member income has fallen by 44 per cent ($141,559).

Even worse, during that same period, the JAA’s total income also went into free-fall – plunging more than 50 per cent ($274,022) – due to the lost sponsorship revenue from third parties. (See Table 4)

Following the JAA walking away from Expertise Events’ guaranteed cash payment of $100,000 (plus many other non-cash benefits), other ‘sponsors’ began to withdraw their support too.

For example, Marsh Insurance, a long-term financial backer, no longer sponsors the association; it was rumoured to pay the JAA up to $100,000 per annum. A long list of corporate logos have subsequently disappeared from the JAA’s ‘Partners and Providers’ webpage.

As mentioned above, this publication withdrew its financial support from the association in 2017 following the results of a comprehensive survey of 200 retailers (100 JAA members and 100 non-members) to determine the viability of the organisation in supporting the jewellery industry.

The results of that survey were worse than expected, indicating a widespread lack of confidence in the JAA’s ability to fulfil its purpose.

Where the JAA’s ‘other’ income (non-membership fees) exceeded $350,000 per annum at the start of the decade (See Table 3), the JAA could only achieve $19,000 in 2020 – and zero in 2019. The enormous fall in support represents a decline of more than 90 per cent in sponsorship dollars since its ill-fated 2016 decision to put members’ funds at risk for a trade fair, and which was ultimately rejected by the industry. 

As members continued to quit the association and sponsor support vanished, the JAA could no longer afford to operate a stand-alone office in the Sydney CBD’s York Street and was forced to downsize into a small, serviced office.

Staff numbers were also slashed; from a highly paid CEO and two to four support staff four years ago, the JAA now operates with a single, part-time staff member. (See Table 6)

Accounting debacle

In October 2017 a new debacle ensued when the JAA’s financial statements were released, riddled with errors. Its trading result (loss) for the year was given as five different figures, ranging from a $135,819 loss to $140,014, even though the board members had signed-off on the report. The board blamed ‘typographical errors’ on the auditor.

The JAA’s embarrassment was not helped by the fact that the 2017 annual accounts revealed that its business model was unsustainable given its executive director had been paid 52 cents in every membership dollar.

Where the JAA’s ‘other’ income (non-membership fees) exceeded $350,000 per annum at the start of the decade, the JAA could only achieve $19,000 in 2020 – and zero in 2019

At the beginning of the decade, and with a fully staffed office, the JAA’s activities were extensive. They were not always as successful as one would have hoped, yet the association was proactive. It had the finances to be so.

Today, many question the cost of membership and benefits given that the office is only staffed part-time.

Since 2012, JAA membership has fallen by 50 per cent from 867 to 431. These figures include retailers and supplier members and, as a rule, the split has traditionally been 60/40. If this ratio has been maintained, the total membership would include 260 retail members and 171 supplier members.

The issue of declining membership might not be helped by the fact that the JAA’s website provides 43 different membership categories listed across 13 pages. Retailers have 32 different membership choices alone, and if they own a single store, there are five different levels and fee structures, from $349 (one employee) to $1,099 (up to 30 employees). And that's just for a single store operator!

Confusingly, the JAA has seven different membership levels and fees structures for Showcase Jewellers, however; it lists only three for Nationwide Jewellers, while Leading Edge Jewellers has four levels and fee structures.

Even though the JAA continues to promote itself as the “peak trade association representing the Australian jewellery industry”, today, the buying groups can claim more members. The two largest groups rivalled the JAA in 2020, with Nationwide having 317 Australian retail members, and Showcase 139.

Poor judgement; four years on

In announcing its planned Jewellery Trade Show in 2016, the JAA exective director said the aim was “to create an industry event that has a collaborative, positive approach, in which all sectors of the industry and stakeholders can enjoy participating in and we, the industry, can be proud of.”

The vice-president said at the time, “There has been an overwhelming amount of support from the industry when researching this idea.”

The decline of the JAA is a cautionary tale for associations everywhere and underscores the need for an organisation that seeks to unite its members and the wider industry, rather than divide. It also demonstrates the destructive nature of personality politics

Four years on from the fateful decision to attempt to morph a member-based industry association into an event organiser, not only does membership continue to fall, the JAA remains isolated in its own industry.

It has no presence when the local industry comes together in celebration each year in Sydney, and it has little – if any – support from the influential buying groups. One buying group has more retail members than the JAA, which purports to be the "peak industry body".

Sadly, many who have in the past offered their services on the JAA board – including at least one past president – are no longer members, quitting the association citing high fees, lack of benefits and/or immature politics. One must ask: if former board members no longer support the JAA, what is the problem?

And though all six original board members who made the 2016 decisions have long since left, the JAA has made no attempt to make amends over disagreements or apologise to the people with whom it created division and disunity. Instead, it chooses to remain isolated while watching membership plunge.

The decline of the JAA is a cautionary tale for associations everywhere and underscores the need for an organisation to unite its industry, rather than divide. It also demonstrates the destructive nature of personality politics and vocal minorities.

The accompanying tables and graphs clearly chart the outcome of an inglorious decade, leading one industry stalwart to say: “A proud heart and a lofty mountain are never fruitful.”

 

THE JAA FINANCIAL statements

Please note that the charts below are interactive. Hover over graph to see details.
Redpoints
 indicate announcement of JAA Jewellery Tradeshow.

 TABLE 1: The table and chart show a loss of 230 members in the immediate aftermath of the JAA’s failed attempt to start its own trade event. More than 30 per cent of members quit the association in the following two years (2017-2018). The figure has continued to decline.
 
 TABLE 2: Since 2016, membership income has plunged by more than 44 per cent, while the decline since 2012 has been $235,628, or 57 per cent.

 

 TABLE 3: The greatest impact on the JAA’s income caused by it choosing to divide the industry was on “Other Income”, the support of sponsors and “partner” agreements. It has plummeted more than 90 per cent since 2016.
 
 TABLE 4: Total Income reached more than $800,000 but has nosedived since 2012 down $500,000, while it has halved since the ill-fated decisions in 2016 from $543,000 to $269,000.

 

 TABLE 5: The JAA’s total loss since 2012 has been more than $264,000. It has traded in the black four years and incurred losses in five years. Costs were slashed last year and profitability recovered ($70,000) after a $48,000 loss in 2019. The JAA has written-off more than $80,000 in bad debts since 2016.

 

 TABLE 6: Where the JAA once employed a highly paid CEO along three to four support staff, only one part-time person now staffs the office.


 

Timeline: TRACKING A decade of decline

20127 MAY

JAA CEO email divides industry

Ian Hadassin
Former JAA CEO

A furore erupts within the jewellery industry when JAA CEO Ian Haddasin issues an email inviting members to join Rapnet, the online diamond trading platform. Rapnet has no Australian office and is part of the US-based Rapaport Group.

The email reads: “JAA, in cooperation with Rapnet – a Rapaport service, invites you to participate in this special offer for JAA members only: get 13 months membership for the price of an annual subscription.”

Many feel the JAA is promoting overseas trade, against the association’s own members. Additionally, Australian diamond dealers discover that the email has been distributed only to retailer members. 

» Read full story: Jewellery association creates own furore

 15 MAY

Australian diamond dealers call JAA to account

An open letter to the JAA, signed by 11 diamond dealers, calls on JAA CEO Ian Haddasin to explain his Rapnet promotional email to retailers, saying, “Your recent letter encouraging retailers to search Rapnet listings in order to gain a competitive edge was misinformed and misleading. Your assumption that some retailers are not sourcing competitive priced product by dealing locally is simplistic and incorrect.”

» Read full story: Diamond dealers call JAA to account

201427 FEB

JAA looks for new CEO

Selwyn Brandt
Former JAA President

The JAA announces that it will be looking for a new CEO, with Ian Hadassin set to leave the role in June 2014. JAA president Selwyn Brandt confirms that the board is working to find a replacement for Hadassin, who had held the position for seven years.

Brandt adds that the board is committed to moving the organisation forward in order to meet the changing needs of its members and the industry.

» Read full story: Jewellers association looks for new CEO

 14 MAR

Board positions reduced amid JAA restructuring

The JAA pulls off a major restructure, as it attempts to make the board more “workable”. It reduces board positions from 14 to six as well as establishing a new 14-person National Industry Council (NIC). The NIC is responsible for conducting strategic reviews of the JAA, providing a forum for discussing industry issues, and working on sub-committees.

JAA president Selwyn Brandt calls the changes “historic” and says they will help “move the association forward”.

» Read full story: Major restructure for jewellers association

 2
JUN

 

New executive director appointed

Amanda Hunter
Former JAA Executive Director

Amanda Hunter joins the JAA as executive director, taking over from outgoing CEO Ian Hadassin. Hunter believes that she has fresh ideas and perspectives given her 27-year business career: “I want to be a strong link between the board, the industry in general, and the consumers, and to re-energise the team. After all, a change can be as good as a holiday!”

She adds, “Growing the JAA whilst helping the members also grow their businesses is very appealing and fits well with my past coaching and sales management experience."

» Read full story: JAA appoints new executive director

2016

1
MAR

 

Australasian Jewellery Awards cancelled

One month after being announced, the JAA's prestigious biennial jewellery competition, the Australasian Jewellery Awards, are cancelled due to lack of industry support.

JAA executive director Amanda Hunter advises, “It is with much regret that we make this decision; however, the success of the event is largely reliant on sponsorship and without all required funding being secured at the end of February, the association is unable to run the program without detriment.”

» Read full story: JAA cancels jewellery design awards

 23 MAY

JAA ends sponsorship agreement, announces own trade fair

Gary Fitz-Roy
Expertise Events, managing director

The JAA releases a statement advising it will walk away from its 25-year sponsorship deal with Expertise Events for the annual International Jewellery Fair (IJF) in Sydney.

Instead, it will organise its own fair in 2017, to be “delivered amidst great excitement after detailed research, analysis and discussion by the JAA board and executive director. The event must meet the needs of the industry into the future, so this is exactly what the JAA is setting out to achieve.”

Three days later, Expertise Events reveals that after a 25-year relationship – and $700,000 in payments over the previous five years  it was given just 24 hours to agree to new terms before the JAA cancelled the sponsorship deal.

» Read full story: Sydney jewellery fair organiser hits back at JAA

 8
SEP

 

Major buying groups reject JAA fair

The 2016 International Jewellery Fair (IJF) in Sydney – organised by Expertise Events –  proceeds as scheduled in late August and, following three months of speculation, buying groups Nationwide Jewellers and Leading Edge Jewellers announce support for the IJF in 2017, rather than the JAA Jewellery Trade Show.

Even though the JAA claimed it conducted “detailed research, analysis and discussion” within the industry, both groups say they were not consulted. Nationwide polled its members and found that only 31 per cent of suppliers and 10 per cent of members indicated that they would prefer to attend the JAA show.

The groups issue a joint statement saying two fairs are detrimental to the industry and that it will adversely affect most industry participants: “We remain hopeful that the parties can in the near future find a way to work together on one event.”

» Read full story: Nationwide and Leading Edge make 2017 fair decision

 

9 SEP  
Colin Pocklington
Former JAA Board Member, Nationwide Director

More industry division over two fairs, Board resignation

Colin Pocklington, director Nationwide Jewellers, resigns from the JAA  Board of Directors as his buying group will not support the JAA Jewellery Trade Show.

Later that day he receives an “offensive email” from JAA executive director Amanda Hunter and a signed letter from JAA president Selwyn Brandt, which causes him to consider entirely withdrawing Nationwide Jewellers from the JAA.

» Read full story: More industry division over two jewellery fairs

 

14 SEP

Jewellery World apologises for “misleading and untrue” statements

Jeremy Keight
Jewellery World, managing director

In another public relations disaster, industry magazine Jewellery World is forced to withdraw and retract an article published in its July issue supporting the new JAA Jewellery Trade Show, claiming that Expertise Events did not own the International Jewellery Fair (IJF).

Following legal proceedings commenced on 3 August in the NSW Supreme Court, magazine publisher Jeremy Keight unreservedly apologises for “misleading and untrue” statements against Expertise Events and its managing director Gary Fitz-Roy.

Embarrassingly, and contrary to what he published, Keight acknowledges that Expertise Events owns the 25-year-old trade show and “has been successfully conducting the Fair since 1992”.

The resolution also includes ‘compensation’ to Expertise Events.

» Read full story: Sorry state of (jewellery) affairs

 29 SEP
 

Nationwide Jewellers withdraws from JAA

Amanda Hunter
Former Executive Director
Selwyn Brandt
Former
JAA President
Laura Moore
Former JAA Vice President

The JAA publishes a media release entitled ‘JAA Board replies to resignation of director’ which alleges a “further conflict of interest” by Nationwide Jewellers managing director Colin Pocklington.

The two-page statement, issued and signed by JAA executive director Amanda Hunter, president Selwyn Brandt, and vice-president Laura Moore (née Laura Sawade), attempts to provide a background to Pocklington’s decision not to support the JAA’s jewellery fair, including an alleged "conflict of interest".

Pocklington seeks legal advice and responds to the allegations, issuing a statement to members and suppliers titled: ‘JAA email factually incorrect’. The JAA’s media release is removed from its website.

Barry Jackson
Nationwide director

Nationwide Jewellers, Australasia’s largest buying group with more than 400 members, quits the JAA after a continuous 25-year membership. Its director, Barry Jackson, later pens an open letter – published in Jeweller  explaining the decision and defending Pocklington: “I have known Colin for approximately 40 years and never in that time has his integrity or honesty been questioned on a professional or personal level." 

He adds that Nationwide will not co-operate with the JAA while the current Board and executive director are in place.

» Read full story: JAA's perfect storm; Nationwide quits association
» Read full story: Barry Jackson's Letter to the Editor

 17 OCT
 

JAA vice-president resigns amid controversy

Laura Moore
Former JAA
Vice President

JAA vice-president Laura Moore (née Laura Sawade) advises that she is leaving her position as marketing manager of industry supplier Peter W Beck. Days later, the JAA confirms that Moore must stand down from her role on the JAA Board as she is no longer employed within the jewellery industry. She was vice-president for 10 months.

Moore does not provide a reason for leaving her role, however the decision comes two weeks after the release of a two-page statement against her former board colleague, Nationwide Jewellers managing director Colin Pocklington, to which she is a signatory. 

» Read full story: Second resignation from JAA board

20179
FEB

Jeweller cuts ties with JAA

The JAA's official industry publication, Jeweller magazine, advises president Selwyn Brandt that it is terminating its 20-year sponsorship of the organisation.

Explaining the decision, Jeweller states that “the industry is in dire need of a new approach", citing the damning results of a comprehensive survey of 200 jewellery retailers on the JAA's performance. 

» Read full story: Jeweller ends 20 year relationship with JAA

 7
MAR

 

Jeweller releases results of retailer survey on JAA

Jeweller magazine releases the results of its comprehensive and qualitative survey of 200 jewellery retailers – 100 of which are JAA members and 100 non-members. Former members are also polled. A wide range of issues are addressed, including the state of the industry, business turnover and profitability, challenges facing retailers, media consumption, as well as views on the JAA.

The study reveals that only 52 per cent of respondents recognise and respect the JAA as an organisation for excellence and trusted leadership of the jewellery industry.

» Read full story: JAA fails own vision and mission statement

 

30 MAR 

 

Buying group hits back at JAA

Colin Pocklington
Former JAA Board Member, Nationwide Director

Nationwide Jewellers managing director Colin Pocklington issues a comprehensive barrister’s report that refutes “conflict of interest” allegations made by the JAA in its media release, published six months earlier in September 2016. 

The report finds that, of the six directors at a board meeting on 19 May 2016 regarding the JAA's decision to run its own fair in 2017, five directors had a conflict of interest due to their involvement as exhibitors in Expertise Events' IJF. Of the five, Pocklington is the only one to abstain from voting due to this conflict.

» Read full story: Nationwide refutes offensive JAA allegations

 28 APR
 

Another blow: Showcase supports Expertise Events fair

Having originally agreed to “exclusively support” the JAA Jewellery Trade Show, Showcase Jewellers, Australia’s second-largest buying group, confirms its support for the 2017 Sydney International Jewellery Fair (IJF) run by Expertise Events.

The decision indicates that all three buying groups have doubts about the viability and success of the JAA event. 

» Read full story: Showcase pledges support for Expertise Events jewellery fair

 3 MAY
 

Another JAA board member resigns

Brett Bolton
Former JAA Board Member,

Brett Bolton – a respected industry stalwart – quits the JAA Board. The JAA does not announce the departure at the time.

JAA president Selwyn Brandt subsequently confirms the departure saying, “Brett resigned a few weeks ago because of work and family commitments.”

Bolton’s decision marks the third resignation in 12 months, and the fifth in 18 months, from a board of six directors.

» Read full story: Buying groups call for industry unity: urge support for one fair

 3
MAY

Buying groups urge support for one jewellery fair

Australia’s three buying groups release a joint statement calling on jewellery retailers and suppliers to support the International Jewellery Fair (IJF), organised by Expertise Events. The statement, titled ‘Buying groups call for unity’, states: “It is important for the jewellery industry that our trade fair is as good as it can be – we simply can’t afford more division or confusion."

» Read full story: Buying groups call for unity; urge industry to support one jewellery fair

 8 MAY

JAA trade show cancelled, executive director resigns

Amanda Hunter
Former JAA Executive Director

On 2 May 2017, the JAA announces it is moving the location of its trade show, provoking confusion.

A week later, a media release declares the show cancelled along with the immediate resignation of executive director Amanda Hunter, who has spearheaded the decision to launch the show and walk away from the JAA's 25-year relationship with IJF organiser Expertise Events. 

» Read full story: Amanda Hunter resigns; 2017 JAA jewellery tradeshow cancelled

 6 JUN

JAA faces large loss, confusion over resignation

In an unusual move, on 6 June – one month after resigning – the JAA allows outgoing executive director Amanda Hunter to publish a 1,500-word statement, titled ‘Parting words from Amanda Hunter’.

In it, Hunter divulges that the JAA is facing a “large loss” which will “eat into retained earnings”.

Three months later, in September, Hunter's LinkedIn profile states that she had been appointed as a ‘Project Manager’ with the JAA in July 2017, two months after she had resigned as its executive director.

» Read full story: Confusion over JAA executive director's position

 20 OCT

Error-ridden financial statements raise questions

A year after announcing the split with its major sponsor Expertise Events, and four months after former executive director Amanda Hunter's statement, the JAA releases its financial statements.

Dated 30 June 2017, the report shows a significant financial losses and a 20 per cent fall in membership, with more than 130 members quitting the association. More than half of its membership income is paid to 'key management personnel'.

Despite being approved by the JAA board, the statements also contain various errors, including five different trading results (losses) ranging from -$131,819 to -$140,014.

The JAA later points the finger at its auditor for "typographical errors", though the statements do not contain an official auditor's report nor an independent review, as is required by law.

» Read full story: Jewellers association financial statements raise questions
» Read full story: New JAA financial statements raise more questions

 28 NOV

New board elected, further financial discrepancies identified 

The JAA’s annual general meeting proceeds to elect a new board, as well as present the association's financial statements.

A new issue arises when it is identified that the accounts record a zero balance for bad debts; the JAA's trade receivables (debtors) had doubled in the previous 12 months, from $39,225 in FY16 to $84,788. It is thought that the association has as much as $60,000 in “bad and doubtful” debt, despite recording a zero balance.

» Read full story: Unanswered questions at JAA AGM

201821 NOV

JAA President Brandt resigns; new president elected

Jo Tory
JAA President

Having maintained the president's position for seven years, and pushing for the creation of the JAA’s own trade show – even though his own business would not participate as an exhibitor - Selwyn Brandt steps down from the board.

The JAA constitution mandates that no person can be a director for more than seven years. Jo Tory, managing director Najo, steps up to the plate, having joined the board in February 2017.

» Read full story: Can a new broom sweep clean the JAA?

20191
JAN

More problems with financial reports; membership falls 15 per cent

The JAA’s new audit firm questions its 2018 financial statements and identifies a significant error in the previous year’s report to members. Jeffrey Tulk, partner at Saward Dawson Chartered Accountants, records a $24,551 error “for provisions for annual leave held for employees that were no longer employed at the JAA”.

He subsequently issues a ‘retrospective restatement’ for the FY17 accounts, writing off $33,473 in bad debts.

The new statement reveals membership numbers have fallen again, with a further 15 per cent of members quitting the association. Indeed, membership reaches a low of 514, having plunged by 31 per cent in two years. 

» Read full story: More problems with JAA financial reports

202013 JAN

JAA records losses of $48,000

The JAA publishes its 30 June 2019 financial statements, recording a $48,244 loss with total revenue falling 34 per cent ($132,193).

However, it manages to stem its membership freefall, with an increase of seven members in 2019 to 521, up from 514 in 2018. Four years earlier, the JAA had close to 750 members.  Total revenue falls by $132,193, or 34 per cent, from $390,546 in 2018 to $258,353 the previous year. On a positive note, the JAA manages to reduce expenses by six per cent, or $19,312, from $325,909 in 2018 to $306,597.

The JAA writes-off another $45,000 in bad debts, which brings the total to more than $80,000 in four years.

» Read full story: Jewellers Association loses $48,000

202127 JAN

Membership reaches new low, finances stabilise

The JAA releases its 30 June 2020 financial statements showing another plunge in membership, reaching a new low for the decade of 431 retailers and suppliers, down from 521 in 2019.

As a result, membership income also declines, down 12 per cent ($204,377 in 2019 to $179,543 in 2020). However, expenses are slashed and a $70,369 profit is recorded. Overall, since 2016, membership has fallen by 42 per cent (313 members) and member income has fallen by 44 per cent ($141,559).

» Read full story: Jewellery association membership at a record low


Jeweller's timelines are compiled through comprehensive research to demonstrate a full sequence of events. They serve as a record of significant events within the watch and jewellery industry. 

 

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