Blood is certainly thicker than water in the jewellery industry.
You can choose your friends, you can’t choose your family. However, this doesn’t seem to be much of a problem for the jewellery industry, which must have one of the highest percentages of family businesses of any sector.
And because so many of you choose to stick with your blood when it comes to business, succession is always an issue. What particularly interests me as a journalist is the clash that creates; the boisterous youngsters versus the tried-and-tested veterans, the new way versus the old.
Invariably, as the upstarts have to learn the ropes and prove themselves it is a tense time as both party thinks they know best, and ideas are usually radically opposite. But usually by the time the reins are ready to be handed over, a mutual ground somewhere in the middle has been reached, leading to quiet progression.
What is fascinating is when the fresh blood is unwilling to compromise. Sometimes it can work out horribly, but occasionally a business is ready for that 180 degree flip. This is what has happened for Sophie Fulford at Winsor Bishop, who shares her fascinating story with us in the November issue of Professional Jeweller, which is out this week. Her modern business ideas were at complete odds with her father’s back-of-a-fag-packet ideology. But, boy, has she pulled it off.
Also in the November issue we are focusing on a jewellery family I’m sure you’ve all heard of – the Faberge clan, hence the chicken on the cover. After being, in our opinion, devalued as a modern business by external owners it is now back in the hands of the family and the transformation is truly magical and a fascinating tale of family fortunes.