JW spoke with Jorge Joaquim, CFO at Showcase Jewellers, to uncover how buying groups fared in 2022 and what the future of the industry looks like as we head into the New Year.
The theme of our February edition of JW Magazine is businesses working together. Is there a person or company that your business aspires to be more like?
We are inspired by many factors in business. Our members inspire us through delivering state of the art material and the ideas that facilitate their business. Other businesses inspire us in other ways. In a challenging world, climate change is a very important issue not only for us but also for our future generations. Being in the diamond industry we want to support businesses that do the right thing. For example, we look to champion businesses that support local communities, businesses that care for the environment and businesses that engage with charities. Showcase itself proudly supports the Breast Cancer Network Australia.
Looking back at the progression of the industry, Jorge is conscious of the consumer trends particularly the changes occurring in the grown diamond industry.
What differences are you seeing in today’s industry vs three or even five years ago?
The major industry differences are that customers are more aware of where their jewellery is being made. For example, we only work with manufacturers who sell conflict free diamonds, to ensure our customers know they are not buying blood diamonds.
Another point of difference in the diamond business is the rise of lab grown diamonds, which are becoming more appealing to the younger consumer. We believe the reason for this is that the diamonds are created not mined. This factor alone goes back to my previous assertion that the impact on the environment is a significant consideration in people’s minds, particularly for the younger generation.
For Jorge, the unexpected boon of Covid was the increase in consumer disposable income.
How do you think the industry has progressed or advanced in the past year?
As we all know, during the Covid period of 2020-2022, the wedding cancellations and travel restrictions etc meant that we as consumers were unable to spend our hard earned cash.
This has allowed consumers to save on these areas and instead spend their disposable income on jewellery. During the last 12-24 months we have seen a lot of activity in the jewellery business with both high volume and high price points being purchased.
Custom-made jewellery has increased significantly over the last two years and it hasn’t subsided over the last 12 months. Everyone appears to have their own personalised jewellery made.
Jorge’s predicted concerns for next year are shared amongst many across Australia.
What do you anticipate the challenges of 2023 will be for the industry?
The challenges for next year will be the same for many industries – inflation and how this affects our consumers on a day to day level.
Inflation drives prices up on everyday items and this will in turn change the buying habits of the end consumer. As far as interest rate rises are concerned, borrowers are paying more for their home loans – this leaves less disposable income available to be spent on retail generally and other areas of the economy.
The Showcase mission remains consistent in the face of the recent pandemic and changing economic conditions.
Has the mission and vision for your company changed at all in the last year?
Our vision remains as strong as ever, being a member-owned organisation, we stand by our vision statement, which is for Showcase to be regarded as Australasia’s most respected and trusted independent jewellery retailer.
Jorge explains the established processes and practices at Showcase ensure the ongoing concern of the business, limiting unnecessary risk before it arises.
What risks did you take this last year? Why? And did they work in your favour?
We do not take risks without doing our due diligence assessments. Our corporate governance and risk management policies give us guidance on best business practices.
Our risks are measured and evaluated if the end result is favourable, we will action those risks and in consultation with the board of directors. That has been the case in every decision we make and all the risks taken have had positive outcomes.