HOT 100 2011: Simon Rainer

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BJA chief exec’s revolutionary attitude made him a Business Big Shot.

Just who has made it into the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2012 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers and supported by gold partner Ti Sento won’t be unveiled until September 4, so until then we are looking back to the leading lights of the jewellery industry who made it into the Hot 100 2011. Today is the turn of the Simon Rainer whose forward-thinking attitude has revolutionised the British Jewellers Association and made him a CMJ Business Big Shot.

The British Jewellers’ Association has developed what some might call a stuffy reputation over the years, but since the BJA met Simon Rainer in August last year there has been some serious change afoot.

Simon has a long history in the watch and jewellery industry. Before joining the BJA as chief executive he worked in America forging links between watch and jewellery brands and retail outlets such as TV shopping channels, department stores and even the US army.

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Even before Simon was accepted for the top job at the BJA he had a clear vision of where the organisation was and where he wanted it to be. “I want the BJA to be on the front foot rather than the back foot,” he says. “We need to have a dialogue with key players and work together to engage with the industry.”

His ambitious strategy for the renaissance of the BJA has been driven by a simple, single goal: to be more visible.

To help raise its profile Simon has put himself forward to be involved with international jewellery organisations such as the Responsible Jewellery Council and CIBJO; a move that not only puts the BJA on the global map but does wonders for the British watch and jewellery industry.

“It allows us to sit at the top table,” says Simon, with a laugh. “The BJA was involved with things like this in the past but now we are involved more deeply. The result is that we are called on more now to give our opinion and get involved with strategies; it gives us a voice.”

Simon has been working hard to get involved with key issues affecting the industry, such as the ethical jewellery sphere and security issues. Under his leadership the organisation has worked closely with the National Association of Goldsmiths to make its crime prevention scheme SaferGems available to BJA members at no extra cost and it has also collaborated on a committee that gives advice to jewellers on ethical practices that has held meetings in locations such as Brighton.

It is a big job to transform an industry institution but Simon says he is keen to keep a “good life-work balance”, making time for his wife and two daughters at their home in Birmingham, although he admits that such a mammoth job does “take up a good deal of time intellectually” outside the office.

For strategists such as Simon, the proof is always in the numbers and the BJA’s plan to be more visible and a greater driving force within the British jewellery industry is showing great results and the group has exceeded 1,000 members for the first time in its history. “It is proof that the message is out there,” he says.

Simon has revitalised the BJA over the past year and promises he has only just begun. With record membership levels, a burgeoning role on the world business stage and a few successful steps taken to rejuvenating the BJA’s image, we forecast more good things to come from this Business Big Shot.

This interview was taken from the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2011. This year’s list and photographs will be unveiled at an exclusive invite-only party at The Freemason’s Hall in London on September 4. To find out how you can get invitations as a sponsor email andrew.martyniuk@itp.com.

 

 

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