JAA Member Ian Brookes was fortunate to fall into the industry over 30 years ago after receiving an SOS call from an Adelaide chain making company.
“A friend needed staff in a hurry and when I got the call and started working at the company, I instantly knew that this is what I’d do for the rest of my life,” recalls Brookes.
“Making jewellery suited my strong mechanical aptitude, combined with my love of art and design, it was a perfect match and I’ve never looked back.”
Prior to working as a jeweller, Ian worked as a carpenter and bricklayer. “I was working in a trade that I knew was not something I could do forever,” Brookes said.
“When I started in jewellery I thought, you’ve got to be kidding – I get to work in air conditioned comfort, I can be creative, it’s not physically demanding and importantly I could do this up until retirement,” he said.
So downing shovels and tools, Ian embraced jewellery and years later he has achieved success, satisfaction, enjoyment and has formed life long relationships.
“I have been fortunate to succeed in an industry that I have a real passion for. I’m also incredibly lucky to work with a business partner, David Everett, who shares the same passion,” Brookes said.
“We remind ourselves regularly how lucky we are to be jewellers – we get to make beautiful things for our customers and then they thank you, while handing you money!” he added with a smile.
According to Brookes success hasn’t come without hard work. “Both David and I have a strong work ethic. We spend many hours working in or promoting our business and our industry.”
“I am also on the JAA SA/NT Committee and am a previous JAA Board member, so I’m not left with a great deal of personal time. What little time I do get I make the most of spending it relaxing with my wife Sue, our daughter Hayley and my baby – an Indian Scout motorbike!” he said.
“Although we take advantage of the Qantas Club and Jewellers Block Insurance discounts, the JAA gives us the sense of community – that’s what I like!”
“We belong to a relatively small industry and are open to threats from around the world.”
“There is not a lot I can do as an individual to keep our industry strong, but as a group we can move mountains. It’s nice to know there is someone out there ready to swing the bat for me should I ever need it.”
“I’m obviously a bit biased, but I really enjoy rubbing shoulders with all the local people in the trade at the networking functions and working with the TAFE colleges to help foster the next generation of Australian jewellers. I only wish more people would get involved – and this is something we are trying to do as an association.”
So how does Ian Brookes, the jeweller, see the future of our industry?
“Our industry is changing so quickly, particularly within the retail space. I believe some of the full retail stores will probably increase their presence online, similar to how we’ve seen the electronic and department stores shift recently.”
“The manufacturing jewellers will probably stay mostly unchanged, or maybe grow slightly, as buyers seek a higher quality alternative to the mass produced majority of today’s jewellery.
“I also think the Australian market will become flooded with branded products, sourced both locally and internationally trying to be the next big thing,” he said.
“But one thing is for sure, businesses will thrive if they treat people, customers, suppliers and staff, with respect.”
“All the staff at EverettBrookes treat our customers how they would like to be treated. No matter how difficult or ridiculous the request, it is pretty hard to have a bad outcome if we are communicating with empathy and on the same level as our customer,” he said.