Brexit leaves jewellery industry with plenty to ponder

KNUTSFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 17:  In this photo illustration, the European Union and the Union flag sit together on bunting on March 17, 2016 in Knutsford, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom will hold a referendum on June 23, 2016 to decide whether or not to remain a member of the European Union (EU), an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries which allows members to trade together in a single market and free movement across its borders for citizens.  (Photo by illustration by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The industry – and indeed the whole country – was this morning waking up to the news that Great Britain has voted to exit the European Union after one of the most dramatic nights in political history.

The industry will today be pondering what the landmark result means for its prospects and future going forward.

At the Houlden Group’s summer event evening meal on Wednesday 22 June, those wishing to remain were asked to stand, and those for a Brexit were asked to stay steated – resulting in an approximate 50/50 split.

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Retail members of the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) were split last month on how they would vote, while the majority of approved suppliers were planning on voting to stay in.

CMJ members were split almost 50/50 in their opinion: 38% planned to vote to leave the EU, 43% wanted to remain in the EU, and 19% are were undecided. Speaking at the time, chief executive Willie Hamilton said: ““While independent retailers may be more inclined to support the leave campaign, I would encourage all our members and suppliers to have business plans in place in the event of the UK voting to leave. This has been a topic that has been raised at many of our recent Regional Meetings across the UK and we can offer support and guidance for any CMJ members or suppliers who are concerned about how their businesses may be affected.”

Speaking to Professional Jeweller last month, Karen Webb-Meek, owner of In The Pink Jewellery, commented: “The EU is good for the stability of UK business: the pound is already weakened and falling against many other currencies because of nervousness about the result of the referendum. I can potentially see a massive UK currency crash if the referendum is in favour of an exit, causing huge damage.”

The London Stock Market plunged more than 7% in the wake of the referendum result, which saw the ‘leave’ campaign secure 52% of the vote, while the value of the pound fell to its lowest rate since 1985. Oil prices have also fallen sharply in the wake of the decision, early reports said.

Currency traders described initial market reactions to the result as “more extreme” than those seen during the financial crisis in 2008, according to the BBC.

Patrick Fuller, owner of WB The Creative Jewellery Group, comments: “Personally I am disappointed and from a trade point of view I think it is worrying. Trade this year has been positive but fragile and this decision is likely, in my view, to have a negative rather than a positive effect. Having said that it is certainly a poke in the eye for all politicians!”

 

HOW DO YOU THINK THE INDUSTRY WILL RESPOND TO BRITAIN LEAVING THE EU? HAVE YOUR SAY BY ADDING YOUR COMMENT BELOW.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Karen Johnson said:

    Most small businesses like mine will not stand a chance. No one will be buying anything because they will only be able to spend on essentials/ Even those who are more financially stable will be more careful with their money. This is a really dark day for all small business people but especially those who are designer makers.

    • Dee said:

      Karen, you don’t know that for sure. If you preach doom and gloom you will breed it at the same time. We all need positivity at the moment and that’s what we need to portray. Stop worrying about the financial side for now because that is out of our control and concentrate on what you’re good at which is designing – I presume. Over half of the British public voted out and that’s what we’ve got, so lets get on with it. I have just been into my local town and it looks just the same. People are out shopping and going about their business as usual. So let’s not panic unnecessarily instead we need to work together towards a better England for us all.

  2. shalom cook said:

    I agree with Dee, you now have more than half the country that will want to support British design, art and craft, use this to your advantage, it is an opportunity. Creative marketing will make British jewellery attractive and appealing to the the European taste, there will be some indivuality and uniqueness instead of all European jewellery following the same boring trends for the last few years

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