Jewellery bucks self-employment boom

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CMJ claims boom in redundancy led start ups is passing by jewellers.

Company of Master Jewellers’ chief executive Willie Hamilton has claimed the boom in self employment predicted by the FSB is not being reflected in the jewellery industry.

The CEO of the organisation, which holds a portfolio of over 220 shops, said he had not recently witnessed any new start-ups and attributed this to the evolved skill base required to compete in the jewellery market.

“I think that the opportunity would be limited for retail jewellery start ups, as the skill base that is required to compete in the jewellery market is not easily acquired,” Hamilton said. “I agree that we are seeing an increase in private individuals starting small shops that sell ‘fashion’ or silver jewellery and if you regard them as ‘jewellers’ then yes, it is on the increase.

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“I am certainly not aware of independent jewellers making large scale or short scale redundancies, so the likelihood of ‘qualified’ jewellery retailers going for a start up business is as likely as it ever was, so there is no increase that I know of.”

Contrary to the idea that redundancies caused by low sales would be driving up self-employment levels, Hamilton said none of the jewellers he was working with had recently reported negative sales.

He said: “I am pleased to say that within our portfolio of over 220 Independent shops, I am not aware of any of them reporting negative sales. Perhaps the retailers in CMJ are bucking the trend and, if so, we must be doing something right for them.”

The British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) manager of PR and marketing Lindsey Straughton agreed with Hamilton. She said a lack of people training in the necessary jewellery skills meant the number of people starting their own business remained relatively low.

She added that among designers, self-employment was already the norm, and was therefore unlikely to rise. However, she claimed the number of new BJA members had risen slightly on last year.

“That’s got to be an indication of people that have come from university this year,” she said. “Self-employment is the norm in our industry. Most designers attempt to start out and run their own business. That might not be case with other luxury industries, such as fashion.”

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