JW spoke with Laura Moore, managing director of the Jewellery Industry Network, to discover how the network fared in the past year and her expectations for the future of the jewellery industry.
What person or company does your business aspire to be more like? What is it about their attributes that you find appealing?
The Jewellery Industry Network aspires to be relevant to all companies. Our business model is unlike anything else in the Australasian jewellery industry. We compile knowledge and assets from all different sectors of the industry and essentially try to connect different parties to encourage and facilitate business growth. Due to this happening in a variety of ways – events, Facebook groups, member portals, podcasts etc – we actually take inspiration from many different companies who use the same channels that we do for the betterment of the industry.
The Jewellery Industry Network is goal orientated yet remains adaptable to change to allow for movement and fresh ideas.
What’s a business decision or move that didn’t quite go to plan in the last year for your business?
At the beginning of each year we’ve been in business, we set goals and challenges for ourselves to meet by the six month or 12 month mark. As with every business, I’m sure, we don’t necessarily meet all of them, but just by setting them, we get much further ahead than if we didn’t. This year we actually planned to finalise a few projects that were diverted to other projects, but that was okay – that’s the nature of being dynamic and being in business.
Feedback from members and other industry professionals is what inspires the Jewellery Industry Network to steadily move the business onwards and upwards.
How do you find inspiration to move your business forward?
When we started the Jewellery Industry Network we had a fire in our bellies to make change and to provide benefits to the entire industry. That inspiration has absolutely grown.
Every day, we look at our members, at the people inside the industry, and we take every one of their comments and perspectives on board as we build our plans ahead. It’s that feedback that feeds our inspiration and our ability to keep providing services and industry offerings.
At the Jewellery Industry Network, Laura is a champion of businesses working together and supporting each other.
What have you found to be the most important offering of the network for your members?
By far the most important offering we have is to connect people with each other. We take time to understand the business offerings of the companies we work with, and in that way, we know exactly who we need to connect them to in order to build their network. We work with thousands of jewellers and retailers all over the country and when we know the details of our industry suppliers, we are able to directly connect people with each other to hopefully enhance their business.
With a wealth of experience in the industry, Laura looks back on what she believes have been the biggest changes in the past few years.
What differences are you seeing in today’s industry vs three or even five years ago?
The industry is vastly different and continuing to change. There seems to be a sizable shift in business models and connectivity between the industry and the consumer.
Through our channels and connections we are seeing so many more boutique stores and consultants come into play than ever before. And at the same time, we are seeing self made brands that are only a few years old build fine jewellery companies that are adding store after store and who focus on fashion and PR. These are seeing quick and national – sometimes even international – growth.
Much like the economy as a whole, Laura forecasts the biggest issue for the industry this year will be staff retention and encouraging future pathways for up and coming jewellery industry professionals.
What are the biggest issues or challenges the industry should be tackling in the next year?
Staffing and education are the most significant issues we are facing for the survival of the Australasian jewellery industry. Across all of the JIN channels, we have seen request after request for staff, jewellers, educated sales people, designers, diamond setters etc, and many job listings stay open for months. One good thing to come from Covid is the increased value the public has placed on locally made products and this trend seems to be continuing, so fortunately the demand for handmade products has increased and is remaining high. But as an industry, we don’t have a reliable and successful way to continually feed the industry with new, well-trained staff. We must focus on future-proofing businesses – and to do this, an incoming skilled workforce for the next generation is essential.