Industry forum: Kim Ridley, Women in Jewellery founder

As a leader in your business, what is the single most important value you want to pass to women in jewellery? Women can be all…

As a leader in your business, what is the single most important value you want to pass to women in jewellery?

Women can be all they want to be but we must learn to trust ourselves and have a voice.

Look at your goals and map out how to achieve them. We must back ourselves and our ability to achieve the results we set. Trust in you. Trust in your own abilities and every day take each step towards your goals. Do not be afraid to ask for assistance or advice.

An amazing book that I read was “Lean In” by Sherly Sandberg, the COO for Facebook. This book opened my eyes. Clearly, no matter who you are or the position you hold, many women have the same fear of asking and standing up.

WIJ Community started last year to connect with women around Australia to help build relationships in our industry. Many have already seen the power of connections and have begun the conversation and assisted each other.

What differences are you seeing in today’s industry vs three or even five years ago?

Five years ago, in 2018, we saw a shift starting to unfold. We saw women opening their own businesses.

Fast forward to 2022 and we literally see an explosion across Australia. Clearly, we have an incredible number of talented women – some bench jewellers, other designers – developing their own unique concepts and styles which can mix it with some of the best worldwide. 

They are offering the bespoke custom make but also designing and bringing to life a fine fashion jewellery that speaks to their clients and aligns with their intimate taste and style. The data definitively shows that the biggest growth in retail spending is the self-purchase by women. 

Some of these businesses are upstairs and by appointment and those that have elected for street level business have created unique spaces that have a feel of high-end fashion, not the traditional cabinets and displays. The fashion houses, the brands, are all growing and creating an experience that makes you feel XXX when you enter. This next gen jeweller is recognising the need to do so.

What risks did you take this last year? Why? And did they work in your favour?

I challenged myself to complete an incredible and arduous trek called Larapinta located not far out of Alice Springs. 

Why? I often feel the physical challenge for me is a reflection on testing myself as to what I can accomplish or just crazy. 

Hiking 200k and climbing 4,500m elevation through the Australian outback gave me the confidence and the personal lesson that ‘you are your only barrier.’

What unexpected wins did you experience in 2022?

An unexpected win was seeing the organic growth of the Women in Jewellery initiative. The Facebook page was set up as a leap of faith to see if the group had legs to grow and that women wanted this group as a place for conversation and education. 

The “Wednesday Wins” have been fun with a lot of great interaction each week and some very funny stories. It makes Wednesday a bit more fun. 

How do you align your organisation with your vision and mission?

The vision for the WIJ Community is to bring women together, to support each other, to allow each other to have a voice, to build a community that inspires each other and to know that you are not alone on this journey.

The mission for WIJ Community is to build a network and create a pathway for the future that nurtures, inspires, and connects women of all ages and backgrounds.

Women have made inroads over the years in creating careers and building businesses, but we all need a community of people who understand our space and the challenges we face specific to our industry.

When we support each other, we grow together.

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