The last year felt like an absolute marathon. It got off to a positive start, then in the middle people started to flag with the results of the EU Referendum lingering over the country, then at the end many found the extra energy they needed to power through and end the year on a high.
As the year came to a close and people started to reflect on the last 12 months on social media, there was an overwhelming air of negativity more prominent than other years. It seems many in the UK felt 2016 was not one worth remembering.
Even Southern Comfort’s advertising campaign on the tube throughout December highlighted this with the slogan: ‘So let’s just pretend 2016 didn’t happen.’
But was it all bad? Looking outside the industry, as a nation we came second in the 2016 Rio Olympics and scooped first prize at Wimbledon. We got to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in style and even experience somewhat of a hot summer.
In the UK jewellery trade we continued to soar too. Despite struggles on the high street, many independent retailers such as Alexis Dove, Allum & Sidaway, Windsor Bishop and Strange the Jewellers opened the doors to new stores, expanded their flagships and/ or moved to larger premises last year.
Elsewhere, brands reported record sales, launched innovative new products and worked in closer relationship with retailers to boost business in store and online.
Comparing jewellery to other sectors, we continuously ranked high in the BRC monthly sector performance chart and saw growth in sales compared to 2015.
The industry also gathered at many events throughout the year to celebrate the accomplishments of businesses and individuals over the last 12 months — to which there were many. The Professional Jeweller Hot 100 alone highlighted 100 people in the industry who deserved honour and recognition, not to mention all the other people who we would’ve loved to have included if space allowed.
In my job I have the great privilege of hearing many business ideas for the future and seeing the exciting new products brands and suppliers will be bringing to the market ahead of time. With this in mind, I am confident 2017 will be one to remember too — and for even more positive reasons than last year.
So let’s all raise a glass to the year ahead and work closely together to make sure it is a great one for the UK jewellery trade.