Q&A: Bob Rontaler, Goldmajor

Goldmajor managing director Bob Rontalo.

Amber jewellery supplier MD on the changing jewellery industry.

Amidst the uncertainty currently enveloping the retail sector, Goldmajor managing director Bob Rontaler gives his view on the changes that could occur over the next year.

How do you feel your current collection reflects that it is your twenty fifth year in the industry?

Our collections are always in tune with market needs and trends. We evolve with the market. Our collections have come a long way, from supplying jewellery that was available to creating and vetting collections, to even setting trends, especially in stone combinations and colours.

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Have sales continued to grow over the past few months and has the fluctuating price of metals impacted at all on this?

Sales are static and with no growth, price is a factor. We have to absorb all price increases, except with gold – here sales are poor. This is the reflection of uncertainty in the market place due to the election and the subsequent “bad news” that everyone is waiting for. Retailers also have little confidence, unless you are selling Pandora and such.

What are your most popular items of jewellery?

We continue to sell earrings and pendants from our core and design-led ranges, but since the introduction of our Equations collection of amber and natural stone charms, we have seen sales in this area grow, with numerous repeat orders.

What do you perceive to be the ongoing trend in jewellery design for 2010?

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on which side of the fence you sit: charm beads, Pandora , Love Links, Troll, etc .

Do you believe new coalition government policies and a predicted increase in VAT could impact retail jewellery sales?

Yes, badly. Jewellery is not a necessity. Sales will continue in the fashion and the gift sectors, but main stream will be affected for possibly the rest of the year.

How are you looking to further increase sales over the next year?

Through advertising, pro active marketing, offering up to date and new collections, price and most importantly service.

How do you believe the industry has changed over the past twenty five years and where do you see it going?

I see it becoming more professional with a younger, brighter outlook, branding value for money and excellent and informed service.

Where do you believe the best opportunities for growth lie in the British jewellery industry?

That is difficult to say. Give me a crystal ball and I will tell you what follows the “charm bead.” Stacking Rings? Stacking bangles? Truly, I wish I knew.

Where do you believe the greatest threats to the British jewellery industry lie and what can be learnt from the events of the past?

The greatest threat comes from itself. Manufacturers and importers need the support of the retail trade, in the same way as we support our customers; to finance them in many cases as well, especially since the banks have made borrowing money difficult

Could it be made easier to export British jewellery abroad?

Yes, but what is now classed as British jewellery? Very little is made in the UK. It may have been designed in the UK, but does it make the jewellery British?

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