Industry Forum 2022: Palloys – Reza Bapooji, Business Development Manager

The highs and lows of 2021

The past two years has brought an incredible transition to the industry. The disruption to traditional business models meant we all had to find a different way of doing things. The recalibration was difficult for some, but easier for those ready for ecommerce. Essentially, the pandemic has propelled retailers five years into the future.

The shift to ecommerce enabled local businesses to become global. Smaller firms that were once blocked from an international audience can now reach a much wider access. Plus, consumer taste has shifted as to how and what is bought. Generic products have given way to unique, bespoke pieces which support local Australian companies.

At the same time, a transition to local consumption also prompted a desire to learn where metals came from. While understanding the provenance of precious metals was emerging prior to the pandemic, the events of the last two years has seen it become a priority for the consumer. The jeweller of today is very different to the jeweller of the past. Our clients take advantage of so many Palloys services from CAD design through to finishing. Jewellery designers no longer need artisans under their roof with these skills.

How has your company adjusted to the increased focus on environmental sustainability that the consumer is demanding?

Palloys chooses to be a market leader every day as regulations are lagging what consumers demand. Already we use multiple companies to recycle products we can’t internally reuse. We want to reduce our environmental footprint and not add to landfill. It’s expensive, but our clients expect us to be industry leaders in this regard.

Younger generations are more focused on sustainability and as a business we understand and support this desire. People are passing over fast fashion in a bid to reduce their environmental footprint. This shift is also happening in jewellery. Consumers are desiring a timeless piece with longevity from a company that has sought to minimise both their social and environmental impact. The provenance of precious metals is becoming increasingly important. We are so proud of our 100% Australian Gold and Silver; our gold and silver is mined, refined and fabricated in Australia.

What areas of the industry do you think need assistance and support?

A meeting of skills is desperately needed. The industry needs to connect the experienced with the inexperienced. Older jewellers have many decades of knowledge and skills younger jewellers don’t have. However, younger jewellers have a firm grasp on e-commerce and how to connect with an audience via channels such as social media.

There are traditional skills that could be lost if older jewellers don’t share them with younger jewellers. In turn, older jewellers could prolong their business life by embracing new media. Creating an environment to establish knowledge transfer between the two generations of jewellers would benefit the industry for many years to come.

What will you be doing differently in 2022 to drive your business forward?

With international and interstate boarders being closed we were no longer able to visit state offices. To keep connected with our staff we embraced the Teams meeting and Zoom calls and as a team we are now more deeply connected than ever before!

We will be harnessing our virtual communication but quite frankly when presented with the opportunity we will be visiting as many of our Australian clients and domestic teams in person as possible.

With the reduction of businesses in the industry through retirement, businesses folding etc. what advice do you have for business to raise their profile and awareness?

This is an interesting topic, because we’ve seen many businesses retire operations earlier than planned while other businesses thrived as they were able to scale up a different operating model. Social media and email marketing allowed many businesses to raise their profiles as traditional media was no longer as powerful. People were forced to communicate their message differently. Social media creates a different type of connection. Businesses took the opportunity to introduce the people behind the brand, allowing a more personal connection with their audience which has increased brand loyalty.

The makeup of the industry is changing. What is your company doing to adjust to the changing demographic of retailers and jewellers?

The barriers of entry are lower now with the process being more vertical. The traditional bench jeweller has given way to a more entrepreneurial jeweller. To adapt to this changing environment, we’ve had to expand our design and finishing services to cater for this new group emerging.

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