Life on the Road

For suppliers and wholesalers of the jewellery industry, travelling sales reps play an essential role in cultivating and maintaining relationships with retailers. These charismatic and…

For suppliers and wholesalers of the jewellery industry, travelling sales reps play an essential role in cultivating and maintaining relationships with retailers. These charismatic and dynamic individuals represent their companies, offering personal and tailored services to retailers, and providing vital, on the ground information on consumer preferences and trends.

This month, JW had a chat with some of Australia’s leading sales representatives to learn more about what the role entails, where the road might take you and how to have a successful, professional career in travelling jewellery sales. 

Working for Ikecho Australia, Peter Weir is a seasoned traveller. His entrance into the jewellery industry was at the early age of 15, where he earned $15.78 per week as an office boy for the wholesale company, J.P Keays.

By 1979, Peter was covering a significant stretch of Western Australia.

“I was travelling hundreds of kilometres, from Geraldton to Kalgoorlie, to Esperance and everything inland from those three points, including Perth and surrounding suburbs,” he says.

Peter values the relationships he’s made over the years, which have bolstered his love and longevity in the position.

“My customers are all my friends,” he says. “Usually, I deal with their children. In some cases, I am dealing with their grandchildren, some of whom I have known since they were about six. They are now in their mid to late 40’s. You can’t buy that.”

For success in the role, Peter identifies the characteristics that were vital to his achievements.

“It’s important to be yourself,” he explains. “Be a good listener and don’t sell merchandise that you know your clients will find hard to sell.”

1/5 Erica Miller and Peter Weir, Ikecho

Steve Wainstein has owned his own retail jewellery business for many years and stands by his pillars of honesty, trust and respect in his role with Ikecho on the road.

“No matter how much of a rapport I have built up with my customers over the years, I never cross the fine line of actually invading their personal space,” he says. “At the end of the day, I am always mindful of giving everyone the professional service and respect that they deserve.”

A valuable lesson that has contributed to his endurance is prioritising customer service.

“Be a good listener, make notes of things that are important to your customers and always be mindful that no two people are the same,” he says. “Having a whole lot of patience is really important. Many of the customers today have staff shortages, and sometimes get called away themselves at the last minute. It’s all part of a day’s work,” he adds.

Steve’s well rounded industry knowledge contributes to the trust and honesty he has cultivated in his relationships with retailers.

“Every customer is different and their demographics are different,” he explains. “For me, having the knowledge of what goes into designing and manufacturing of jewellery, as well as the many sales courses I have done, highlight the great divide between just another order taker, and an honest confidante customers will respect and trust taking advice from.”

2/5 Steve Wainstein, Ikecho

Gary Lohwasser, the New South Wales sales manager of West End Collection, uses information from customers, colleagues and trade publications to keep on top of the latest in materials and gemstones, and social media to stay ahead on  international trends.

“Younger nieces and nephews are also a good barometer for keeping up to date with what’s current and ‘hip’,” he says.

The most rewarding part of the role for Gary is seeing his product recommendations add to the profitability of a business.

“I just love it when a customer contacts me having set up new stock and merchandise, or installed new imagery or brand displays, and they tell you they’ve just made a sale that same day,” he says. “I get a real kick seeing meaningful results in small businesses, many of which are still family owned.

“When you pitch a new brand and customers see them succeed in store they tend to look to you as more of a collaborator rather than a sales representative, because they perceive you as someone who is helping grow their business,” he continues.

For success in the role, Gary recognises the importance of communication, time management and being able to balance workflow, while focusing on goals.

“Enthusiasm, showmanship, tenacity and patience will help,” he says. “As well as the ability to recognise an opportunity – and a love of driving!”

Gary believes that integrity is the key to gaining peoples’ trust and confidence on the road.

“Trust is very important,” he says. “A valuable lesson I learned when I first started is to never make a promise you cannot keep and always follow through with those you do make.”

3/5 Gary Lohwasser, West End Collection

Danny Dawson, the sales manager for Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and the Pacific Islands at West End Collection has been working in the jewellery industry on and off since 1984.

He recognises the reciprocal nature of the role and the many benefits a good sales rep can provide  for both distributor and retailer.

“Being a sales representative is a two-way street,” he explains. “It’s not only about representing the company you work for while in-store but it is also about representing the thoughts and opinions of the store when you are back in the office. Without our customers, we are nothing. So, their opinions and knowledge are valuable in so many ways.”

Danny shares a similar sentiment as his colleague when asked which aspect of the role he finds most fulfilling.

“There is no doubt that hitting targets is rewarding but also seeing my customers succeed with a new brand I have convinced them to take on board is satisfying too,” he says.

To be well versed in styles and trends in the industry, Danny credits his customers’ awareness and extensive knowledge.

“Our customers are a valuable source of information,” he says. “They are the ones speaking to the consumer on a daily basis. They also are the ones that let us know about what does and doesn’t work with our competitors.”

For Danny, staying on top of the latest industry news and developments is vital.

“Staying up to date on overseas materials and trends is important, as well as being aware of our own bestsellers and sales trends,” he says. “It also comes from an awareness of our competition’s successes and failures.”

4/5 Danny Dawson, West End Collection

Mark Blencowe’s introduction to the jewellery industry began with assisting in his family’s jewellery stores during his school holidays at age 12. Since then, his career has included more than 30 years experience as a travelling sales representative selling jewellery, brands, loose diamonds and coloured gemstones. He now enjoys a position in the precious metals division of BECKS.

“Currently my business is based on fast reaction to customer needs,” he says. “My goal is always to supply precious metals the same day or first thing the next day where possible.”

“Being a large state (Queensland), there is a lot of driving and multitasking,” he continues. “If you don’t like driving, don’t become an on-road sales representative!”

The most rewarding part of the role for Mark is seeing businesses open, grow or develop with the help of products he has been able to supply.

“At BECKS you feel appreciated and part of a great team which is customer focused and supportive,” he says.  “Customers become friends and the development of new products and services to assist with their sales is always exciting to see.”

Mark’s comprehensive career and longevity in the position has given him a unique understanding of what qualities are required to thrive in this role.


“Maintaining relationships and showing consistency is critical,” he explains. “Customer needs are always a priority and you should always remain positive and helpful. Share experiences you have witnessed work for others and never overload with stock just to get a good sale.”

For Mark, staying up to date with the latest product information comes from a range of sources. 

“Magazines such as Jewellery World are a great source of general information for all in the jewellery industry,” he says. “ One of the best resources is talking with the jewellery store owner regarding what their customers are asking for and demanding in the modern world.”

5/5 Mark Blencowe, BECKS

After speaking with the team of dedicated travelling sales representatives this month, it’s clear that this job requires a certain type of person – committed, focused, adaptable and charismatic. While the role often includes time away from home, the benefits of seeing the country, meeting new people and doing their bit to help local businesses thrive, energises these individuals and highlights the advantages that occur when businesses work together.

Sales representatives are key industry players in charge of seamlessly bringing together businesses, people and products. Their keen eye and exceptional interpersonal skills in jewellery business dealings demonstrates their indispensable value to both the brands they represent, and the businesses they sell to. 

Further reading: