At the Company of Master Jewellers’ first trade show of the year, Professional Jeweller sat down with chairman, Michael Aldridge, to hear about the buying group’s plans for the year ahead.

Here’s what our editor found out…

A new managing director is on the way


After 12 months without a managing director at the helm, the Company of Master Jewellers has appointed someone to the position. While the chairman remained tight lipped as to who has got the job, he did reveal that the individual will be a familiar face. “Unfortunately I can’t tell you the person’s name, but we’re excited because the individual comes from within the industry and has worked in the industry for some considerable time, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience,” Aldridge tells Professional Jeweller. We should be able to unveil the new managing director later this month or next.

Changes to the trade show received a mix response

At its first of two trade shows this year, the CMJ introduced a seminar programme, which received a mix response. While many of the talks were well attended (many even reaching full capacity), the format did inevitably take retailers away from the trade show floor. Looking ahead, the chairman says the Group might look to introduce seminars to the show floor in order to try and satisfy retailers and suppliers. No matter the impact of the seminars though, many suppliers were happy that good business was done at the show. Aldridge remarks: “I think we have improved what we offer both retailers and suppliers. Our suppliers have taken what they do to the next level, with the presentation being even more professional than the last show. I’ve been around and spoken to nearly every supplier and they’ve all been pretty satisfied.”

Does the CMJ even need to do trade shows?

This year the Company of Master Jewellers is looking at whether it needs to do trade shows at all and, if so, does it need to do two a year? Moreover, what is the best time of year for such an event? Should part of the show be open to non CMJ members? Should the show be done alongside a conference? Aldridge explains: “We’ve sort of put that out there to everybody. Both suppliers and members have the opportunity to give us feedback. We’re never ever going to get it 100% right, but we want to try and understand what people think we should be doing.”

The CMJ turns 40

This year marks the buying group’s 40th anniversary and they will be celebrating in style. Alongside its trade event in August, the CMJ will be putting on a night to remember, which will be open to the whole industry. The chairman expects 500+ to be in attendance! “It is going to be a night to remember it was celebrate 40 years of the CMJ.”

The CMJ is now striving to offer better services…

The buying group’s key focus for the year is the offer better services. Aldridge explains: “By that I mean, it could be things like private health care because we believe that every business owner that is with us, probably has private health care, and if they can channel all of that through the CMJ will be able to save them a lot of money. So we’re looking at all of our services so that we are the one-stop shop for our members…

… and is looking to make sure retailers are getting the best deals at the CMJ

“The other thing that we’re really going to be focusing on is, this is a more delicate subject, but we’re conscious of the fact that some of our retailers are doing deals outside of the group. And there’s a number of reasons why they’re doing that. Maybe because the CMJ hasn’t negotiated the best package. And I’m not saying price, I’m saying package. So we’re doing a supplier review at the moment and I will be looking at how we can improve this. We’ want to engage with any suppliers that are feeling the need to do deals outside the group and see what we can do to change that. We’ve changed and improved our systems to enable us to be able to offer the best possible package in the industry.”

CMJ pledges to guarantee retrospective rebate for two years

As a sign of the Group’s confidence in its future, the CMJ has pledged to guarantee to give its members a retrospective rebate for the next two years. “That’s how confident we feel in in the business moving forward,” Aldridge shares. “We feel very confident now moving forward and we wanted to submit with this pledge.”