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INNOVATION WEEK EXCLUSIVE: Why the UK jewellery industry was ‘so flipping excited’ for last week’s Houlden event

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With last week’s Houlden Group suppliers meeting marking a return to physical events for many in the UK jewellery industry, Professional Jeweller sat down with some of the suppliers at the event to gauge their confidence heading towards Q4 and Christmas.

The general mood of the industry is positive, with most now daring to hope that the worst of the pandemic is truly behind us, even if there have been some seismic shifts to the way jewellers and suppliers do business.

Bass Premier told PJ that the most important change has been updating its website, while the brand is not taking any risks with its designs this year, focusing on the classic pieces that sell well rather than flashier and more unusual pieces.

Meanwhile, Hockley Mint‘s representatives at the event were able to reveal that it has recently seen a record month for sales in the company’s history, and mentioned that the brand has sold 5,500 wedding bands since shops reopened. It is also expanding its CAD staff to cut down on long wait times.

E Alexander & Sons‘ Kevin Bilham, who tells PJ that the company has been on the road a lot speaking with retailers, reveals the brand has released a new platinum jewellery range to try and cater to the “pent-up demand”. “Where we’ve been successful this year,” he said, “is new business.” Discussing the difference between the companies that have survived and those that have not, he added: “There are companies that have not re-learned during the pandemic, and this has invariably been to their detriment.”

“There are companies that have not re-learned during the pandemic, and this has invariably been to their detriment.”

WOLF UK and Ireland sales director, Chloe Spencer, said that it was “so nice to finally interact with people and sit down and chat” at the Houlden Group suppliers meeting.

Meanwhile, Gecko Jewellery explained the importance of sustainability in its products and packaging moving forward. It has made the packaging of the recycled Fred Bennett and Fiorelli jewellery lines 100% recycled and also recyclable, while the brand’s catalogues are now also 100% recyclable.

Finally, David Fell of Hans D Krieger said: “I thank my lucky stars I’m in the higher end [segment],” revealing his fears for jewellery priced between £500-2,000. He told PJ that he had been “so flipping excited” for the Houlden event and had already made two significant sales.

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