The future is female and the Women in Jewellery (WIJ) Community are noticing the changes. Founded by Kim Ridley, the WIJ Community is dedicated to supporting women in the jewellery industry both personally and professionally with the hopes of building a strong sense of community with like minded women.
The community currently has over 250 members of women who are jewellers, jewellery designers, and industry professionals from all over Australia and New Zealand. The WIJ group was formed over years of conversations, and those conversations and not stopping. The Jewellery Industry Fair in Melbourne had the honour of holding the Women in Jewellery launch event where over 60 women attended to support this new beginning.
Hosted by Kim Ridley and Laura Moore, the event saw a panel of speakers who detailed their challenges and wins as women in the industry. Amongst the speakers were great talents such as Cushla Whiting from Cushla Whiting, Jennifer Rowlands from Refinery Row, Shelly Bedarov from The Perfect Diamond, and Nicole Winkler from Nicole Winkler Designs. The positive feedback from the launch event continues to roll in with attendees describing how much they “loved” the event and it being a definite highlight at the Jewellery Industry Fair.
To top off an amazing event launch, WIJ members were invited to have lunch and champagne sponsored by JC Jewels and Q Report where the bubbles and conversation followed. Having female forward communities like the WIJ empowers and strengthens the jewellery industry. In 2018, Kim Ridley saw a shift occurring in the industry and began to see the power of connections through conversations with other women which snowballed into the WIJ Community you see today.
“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,” she tells Jewellery World. The Women in Jewellery Community Facebook page and website has now officially launched and includes links and webinars to all upcoming WIJ member events set to inform and empower this generation of women in the jewellery industry.