Sourcing and offering Fairtrade gold is easier for larger businesses, according to independent retailer and jewellery designer Ortwin Thyssen, owner and designer of Ortwin Thyssen Jewellery Makers.
Speaking to Professional Jeweller, Thyssen says: “We’ve carried Fairtrade gold since we started ten years ago, but it’s difficult to promote and it’s difficult to source as well. The Fairtrade Foundation seems better suited to bigger businesses because it makes more sense to cater for them. I don’t blame them, but it’s not helping me.”
Thyssen, who designs, makes and sells his jewellery from his Canterbury store, continues: “I would like to do more Fairtrade gold, but right now I don’t feel I have the power and sources to promote it more.”
Thyssen is conscious that customers are growing increasingly aware of ethical purchasing in all aspects of retail, and is eager to satisfy the demand. “It’s a keyword that customers will recognise and understand and will then expect, but the term is the minimum baseline. In the long run, Fairtrade is an issue we need to continue to address as an industry, otherwise it will fall on our feet. One day it is going to get us, if we ignore it.”
Although Thyssen is currently able to source Fairtrade gold, he is eager to do more. “In the next few years we’ll look into doing more Fairtrade. As our niche market is the bespoke, higher-end area, these things matter more, I think.”
Professional Jeweller spoke to Ortwin Thyssen during its visit to Canterbury for our first PJ Cityscapes special. Look out for the full report in the May issue.