Michael Allchin gets it all into perspective as he heads to the NEC.
Spring Fair is upon us again; our crates are packed, brochures updated and most comfortable shoes polished. But as we rush off into the glitter and glitz that is The Jewellery Show it is important to get it all into perspective.
The last few months have been tough for the jewellery industry and not just in terms of business. We have lost some of our dearest friends and colleagues. Len Millington will be sadly missed but at least he had a chance to found and pass on a successful business during his 83 years.
James Maxwell died tragically young and without warning at only 36. We have lost Peter Mooney of CJ UK at 63; Richard Sutton of Charles Green at 58; and then Simon Cupitt finally lost his brave fight against motor neurone disease at 43. As they say, it makes you think.
And what it makes me think is that as we head for the show where we all want full order books and new prospects to keep our profits up and our staff employed, we also need to appreciate the industry we work in. We are a relatively small community and the team spirit of our sector is so important as we compete for reduced disposable income with mobiles and tablets and spa days and designer clothes.
If you came to my seminar on Sunday you will have learnt that the jewellery and watch sector is standing still while the overall clothing and fashion area is growing. We need to help each other and be cooperative and supportive in the best interests of our industry.
There are many challenges facing us; high precious metal prices, the general economic situation, the rising importance of brands, EU legislation, ethical and environmental issues to name but a few. None of these are new and none insurmountable.
The jewellery trade has not gone backwards during the last few years, but it has not gone forwards either. It’s not doom and gloom, but we can do better and there are plenty of ways to do so. The Jewellery Show is a great opportunity to take a snapshot of our industry, understand the challenges better, and appreciate not only the fantastic products we make and sell, but also the experience, expertise and camaraderie of our community.
The huge support and generosity of our jewellery industry colleagues was manifested last year when we raised £15,000 through my Cycling Sportive. Last night I was presented with an award as Cyclists Fighting Cancer Fundraiser of the Year for 2012.
That award belongs to our industry as much as it does to me. Thank you everyone.
Birmingham Assay Office chief executive Michael Allchin is a regular guest columnist for Professional Jeweller. If you work in the jewellery industry and are interested in writing a guest column then email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea.