Grill Willie at the 2016 UK Jewellery Conference

Willie Hamilton Speakers Corner

CMJ chief executive officer Willie Hamilton took to the stage yesterday to answer questions straight from the floor of retailers and suppliers. 

Q: Will Peter Andersen leaving Pandora impact CMJ’s relationship?

A: It shouldn’t be a threat. The contract is with Pandora not Peter Andersen. The next step is the growth of Pandora itself and as we all know it’s changed in the past so we don’t see it being a problem.

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Q: Were you offered the position?

A: That’s confidential. But, let’s put it this way – I’m here.

Q: Are there initiatives to promote the CMJ to the public?

A: yes. We’re working on a website. We think we can bring businesses to the public. We think there’s pride of being in the CMJ and we want to expose that to the public. We’ll try to interact more, but it’s more retailers we need at the moment.

Q: How far has accreditation n the industry come?

A: I don’t think the accreditation of the industry is that good. The Assay Office is very good. I’ve got a big drive on this, you just don’t know where a product came from, you don’t tell the country of origin. I don’t think anyone in this room advertises that their jewellery comes from China and I think that’s wrong. The customer is going to ask. If you do know, do you tell them anyway?

Q: Do you feel the CMJ works in acting as a cohesive platform that benefits all members?

A: Absolutely. The top 10 members we have are all pretty successful businesses. It’s actually the opposite – it’s not just the top 10 that get everything. I believe some of those businesses have grown because they’ve listened to what we’ve told them to do. You can’t get anything like the CMJ and we drive to give the independents as much help as we can. It’s the little guy that’s going to be the success. Part of that comes from CMJ.

Q: How are your new board members dong?

A: They’re doing great. The new directors are great and you can see them evolving. The real thing about a director is that the skill they’ve got to have is leave their business and come in and say I’m here to represent everybody here.

Q: Could the training given to the directors be given to managers here?

A: We already do. All they have to do s pick up the phone and we’ll put them in the right direction. We’re only too happy. Any director in this room will tell you it’s such a big business to be involved in.

Q: As a smartly dressed man what are your thought on uniforms and power dressing in the work place?

A: You’ve got to dress appropriately for the brand. It’s reflective of what your brand is. You’ve got to dress for the moment. Understand what your brand is about. Whether you like it or not, you’re a brand. If your brand is you want to look for uniform and disciplined, then reflect that. Or if it’s casual and laidback, reflect that.

Q: Can we prevent CMJ suppliers selling direct to our customers online?

A: No. And why would we? You can’t prevent it. I’m haunted by the amount of retailers wanting to be manufacturing and vice versa. A lot of people make that same mistake. That’s why Pandora franchise so many of their stores, because they don’t want to be retailers. I’m dead against that.

Q: What’s next for the CMJ?

A: More of the same. Our blueprint is Facets PR. The core thing is still look after the retailers we’ve got. We regard ourselves as being there to help and support and the most important thing is – you stay independent. What you do in your store differentiates you. When I meet the CEO’s of the big companies, they say, we’re envious of your independents. The future for me, is to make sure we deliver that service.

Q: Have you ever done or would you do karaoke?

A: I lived in a little village and we had two guys in the village and they were both great guitarists. I mentioned I liked Simon and Garfunkel and one thing led to another.



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