Stepping Up Business

In the landscape of the jewellery industry, businesses are constantly stepping up their game to achieve greater success. A celebration of creativity, entrepreneurship, and community…

Pictured: Glenn Fuller, Fullhammer

By Tatiana Abbott

In the landscape of the jewellery industry, businesses are constantly stepping up their game to achieve greater success. A celebration of creativity, entrepreneurship, and community within the jewellery sector is on the rise. Professionals are actively engaging in diverse ideas, innovative strategies, and collaborative efforts to captivate both customers and industry peers. We had the privilege of interviewing leaders from five successful companies. Moreover, they generously shared their business advice, empowering others in the jewellery industry to pave the way for greater prosperity.

Natacha Phanthapangna – Banquet 

I am the co-founder of an agency called Banquet. We specialise in branding, design, strategy and communications. This company is definitely a passion project. I’ve worked with some of South Australia’s most iconic brands and they were typically big brands with big budgets. Banquet was created to provide strategy and brand positioning consultation services tailored to Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), enabling them to benefit from these services like the big dogs in business. We additionally wanted to offer an end-to-end marketing service to companies, delivering the rollout of the developed strategy through our own team and trusted partners.” 

“Our dynamic team has been developed with specific skill sets in mind, giving us an excellent foundation to support our clients. That said, we’ve formulated a successful strategy, where we have ‘sponsorship agreements’ with a range of businesses… We recognise the importance of strong relationships with our clients and continuous networking–not just for ourselves, but for the connections it offers our client base.”

“In addition to sponsorships, we like to play a very active role in the events and going-ons of our clients, and with the Jewellery Industry Fair (JIF) and the Jewellery Industry Network (JIN) being clients of Banquet, we love getting involved with everything they do.”

“What makes a successful fair is opportunities for genuine conversation. This means booths close to one another and people who are really eager to have a proper chat. As for Banquet’s offering, everybody loves prizes. We will offer three prizes based on our three key pillars: branding, strategy, and communications. The first prize is a Brand Audit where we provide your business with a workshop that identifies where your brand’s assets are visually misaligned. The strategy prize is a workshop that gives a one-on-one consultation session with one of our brand managers. The final prize is a small marketing campaign created by Banquet that will feature in JW Magazine. While the prizes we are offering are introductory services, they are truly helpful to businesses of all sizes.”

Lisa Pisano – Customer Service Gold

“I’m Lisa Pisano, the creator and developer of Customer Service Gold (CSG). I have spent decades in the customer service arena creating, developing and delivering customised CSG Training Programmes. The Programme has been designed to change the mindset of how we recruit, employ and train team members, and allow jewellery suppliers and retailers to sparkle in many more ways than one.”

“I am a new supplier to the jewellery industry and the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far is getting industry members to take the time out of their busy schedules to attend the training programmes. Once the participants attend the programme, the challenge is to ensure the momentum and engagement of skills learnt are continually monitored and maintained. I also offer a Train the Trainer programme, so that store owners and managers can maintain the CSG training programme on an ongoing basis.

“I ensure exceptional customer service by taking the time to listen to my customers. I listen to where they are now, where they want to go and how much money and time they have to invest into where they want to be in the future. I then develop strategies to meet the needs of the individual businesses and individual people. I develop strategies that are easy to understand, easy to implement, are effective and that make a difference to business profitability. 

“Offering excellence in customer service is not for the faint-hearted and therefore engaging with customers and building relationships with customers takes time, energy and belief in what you are offering. You need to be able to own and learn from your mistakes (as there will be mistakes along the way) and you need to remember to always ask for help when in need. Working together with others always makes for a stronger business partnership.”

Glenn Fuller – Fullhammer 

“My name is Glenn Fuller and I am the managing director of Fullhammer. To summarise what we do, we provide apparel and decoration solutions for businesses. We cater for all industry verticals from sports to jewellery. We’re based in Adelaide and provide over seven different decoration techniques, including embroidery, screen printing and sublimation.”

“We also facilitate JIN’s artist collaboration merchandise, which is all done through our custom shop front program called Ownn. The Ownn program allows businesses to offer uniforms and branded merchandise to their customers without upfront inventory requirements. With Ownn, we set up a custom online cart and we take care of the orders as they come.”

“Providing quality service is paramount for us at Fullhammer, and with quality service come additional overheads. In a competitive environment, it’s important that we balance prices with products that will last. Instead of scrimping on quality, we instead focus our efforts on providing business trade accounts that allow businesses to spread out payments to assist their cash flow.”

“[At the JIF,] we will be showcasing a range of apparel for all aspects of the industry, this will include workwear for the mining space, some items essential whilst being creative at the workbench through to corporate wear to match the stylish pieces that go to market. There will also be some interactive displays to entice some visitors!”

“Our entire offering is incredibly custom, we work with our customers to choose the right apparel, the right decoration technique and optimal placement. For those who require something truly unique, we also offer completely custom apparel, where we work with manufacturing warehouses to design pieces from scratch. This is a service that is most commonly used by sporting groups and professional services, however, we have started to create fully customised items like Year 12 jackets, fishing shirts and limited pieces for events.”

Mimi Hutchinson – Thryv

“My name is Mimi Hutchinson and I’m an account director for Thryv Australia. Thryv is all-in-one small business software designed to help you find more customers, get paid easier and save a lot of time along the way. I was inspired to venture into business support as I’m extremely passionate about making a difference to small-medium business owners. Every business needs to start somewhere and to be able to assist in building a solid foundation, where their business can grow and flourish makes it truly rewarding.

“There’s a lot of burnout that comes from software, especially small business software. A lot of times excitement leads to disappointment when business owners discover that the software they had hoped would alleviate their problems hasn’t been up to the task. Sometimes, they end up buying other software to mitigate the problems of their old software, leading to ‘platform bloat’. At Thryv, we’ve consolidated all the tools you need into a single place and made sure that what you buy is what you get. Our latest offering helps combine all your inboxes, emails and chats into one place, and even helps you automate your response! Automation is one of the biggest trends that is only going to get bigger with the evolution of things like AI, so we’re well on top of it.”

“We listen to our clients, first and foremost. Our business advisors work closely with each business to identify their unique problems and bridge any gaps. This is then followed by unlimited onboarding sessions with flexible hours to suit, with a designated client success manager helping to ensure that everything is set up and all staff are trained in using Thryv.” 

“We identify the gaps and needs of each business to allow us to customise what would best suit them, their unique business offering, and what can help them run more efficiently to make their day-to-day easier. Ultimately, we’re about saving them time and money so they can get back to doing what they’re best at – running their jewellery business.”

Matthew Taylor – Heart HR 

“Heart HR is a consulting business based in Newcastle, NSW. We provide professional services for small to medium-sized businesses seeking independent HR advice and support. We work with business owners, directors, management and leadership teams to ensure workforces are well supported, as well as performing effectively and efficiently. Our range of services includes general employment advice, guidance with onboarding and inducting new employees, Exiting employees, employee development, employee engagement surveys, employment contracts and review, HR audits and strategies, policy development, [and] performance management.”

“During [our JIF] workshop… we will be covering the following issues that business owners and managers are currently grappling with – including those in the jewellery industry, managing different generations of employees in your workplace, increasing expectations around flexibility [and] what workplace flexibility actually looks like, managing for change and uncertainty in [staying] connected to your teams in a dynamic and rapidly changing environment, balancing a diverse workforce from fear and ignorance to collaboration and familiarisation, and attracting top talent and [building] an emotional connection between your brand and potential recruits.”

“One of the things we do at Heart HR is try and understand our clients – even before we work with them. We capture their service expectations and preferred communication channels through a simple pre-engagement online form by asking questions such as: What are your current HR ‘pain points’? What was the trigger for seeking advice and support from Heart HR? What do you expect from our solutions/services? What is your preferred method of communication?

“[Keeping a successful presence at industry events is] about being in tune with the audience and the industry. As an ‘outsider’, I have spent a lot of time immersing myself in the industry to better understand the current issues and challenges – this fair is a great opportunity to meet people face to face and better understand their business needs.”

Karishma Nagpal – Virtual Diamond Boutique 

My name is Karishma Nagpal. I am the vice president of APAC and ME at Virtual Diamond Boutique (VDB). My role is to oversee and manage business development and strategic initiatives in the Asia Pacific region and the Middle East. I have been associated with the gem and jewellery industry since the inception of my career, with the majority of my experience being in the service sector.”

“VDB is an eight-year-old company that has experienced significant growth throughout its existence. Our key differentiation is that we are a technology company that has an integrated marketplace offering not only lab-grown diamonds but also natural diamonds, coloured gemstones, and jewellery.” 

VDB takes pride in its SELF-BUILT technology. Our integrated approach leverages technological advancements to provide our users and customers with solutions that are both comprehensive and efficient. Our marketplace attracts hundreds of monthly sign-ups from gems and jewellery businesses seeking access to our extensive listing of over 1.5 million items. As these businesses engage with our platform, we seamlessly introduce them to our SaaS solutions designed to support their B2B, B2B2C, and B2C commerce. Then, our SaaS solutions leverage the inventory from the marketplace for retailers to use in-store or on their website, which in turn also helps sell inventory from our marketplace suppliers. 

“Regardless of whether you are a paying customer or not, VDB is committed to offering our expertise to support your business needs. Whereas most businesses only have one to two types, our support department is structured into five distinct teams to cater to different client needs effectively.” 

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