What are the biggest issues or challenges the industry should be tackling in the next year?
I think with the current economic outlook things will only get harder for the industry in 2023. Any support we can provide our members with we will be looking at and hopefully our industry can weather any of the downturns. I think it is also very important to look towards the future of our industry and ensure there are apprentices coming through and having the opportunity to learn the trade and be hired. When people work together for a common goal, this helps to strengthen things and prosper.
Has the mission and vision for the JAA changed at all in the last year?
There has been a slight shift in the vision for the JAA in the last year. However, it does not change the focus we have on our members and to ensure the industry as a whole has a strong and successful future. I think one change would be the vision for the industry to unite more than ever before, whilst we continue to be the voice for the Australian jewellery industry. No one can change the past but you can do something about the present and the future.
What unexpected wins did the JAA experience in 2022?
We once again delivered a successful awards program and, despite Covid impacting our plans for the awards presentation, we were able to move this to an online presentation that honoured all the entrants, finalists and winners. Many challenges were thrown at everyone during the pandemic and I think this was something that was successful even when held remotely. We are also very happy with the strong support from members and having membership numbers hold steady. We will work towards increasing these numbers in 2023 as we bring greater benefits to the membership. Whilst it was budgeted that the JAA would have a profitable year, we were once again pleased to report a surplus above what was forecast.
What do you think is the most important attribute of the association for its members?
Feedback from our members has been that being part of the association gives them security and guidance. They feel supported and part of the jewellery community, all of which is helpful for them to grow their business. Being able to help members not only in their times of need but also giving direction before the need may arise is important. As mentioned previously, I think everyone and every business has changed slightly from Covid. Doors have closed but other doors have opened. I think being able to assist our members during this tricky time is something we are proud of. The Government support through JobKeeper was complex and we were able to navigate some of our members through the process, in addition to keeping them updated with the ever changing landscape.
How do you think the industry has progressed or advanced in the past year?
I think the importance of customer service has come to the forefront and our industry strives to provide quality customer service. I think the progression of this in the industry as well as after covid will help strengthen the industry.
What are you and the JAA most looking forward to in 2023?
We are looking forward to ensuring the members and industry are assisted as much as we possibly can. We look forward to bringing more projects and initiatives on our strategic plan to fruition, including the 2023 JAA Australasian Jewellery Awards, which is in its 27th instalment. The industry always loves seeing the entries and we love bringing this program to industry and consumers. We are also looking to once again hold a successful in person awards presentation night in August 2023. A key focus we also look forward to is working with all associations and bodies in the industry to better strengthen the industry, as well as ensuring the future success of our industry by providing better access for apprenticeships.