Coordinating the efforts of the BJA, from KickStart to overseas trade.
Many of you will know Lindsey Straughton. As manager of PR and marketing for the British Jewellers’ Association she is a familiar and very friendly face. With a hotline to more than 1,000 BJA members, as well as many other luminaries, pioneers and experts of the industry, she is truly one of the fulcrums on which our universe turns.
“I certainly don’t know everything,” she says modestly, “but for everything I need to know I probably know the right person to ask.” A bit like Google really.
And for those few of you who don’t know Lindsey, she is the person who interrupted her holiday in Spain several times just to answer questions for this interview. She is the person who over the past year co-ordinated the PR for the BJA’s 125th anniversary, who organises exhibitions, creates brochures, who instigated the first ever designers’ area at The Jewellery Show back when it was Spring Fair. She is the woman who judges student awards, who helped bring Kickstart to life at IJL to help young designers debut at a show.
And she is the person who co-ordinated the efforts of BJA members through a design competition that ended up in the creation of diamond brooch worn by the Queen on Christmas morning. “It took many hours of dedicated craftsmanship from CAD drawing to platinum casting, goldsmithing of UK-sourced golds and mounting of matched diamonds, to the creation of the handmade presentation box. Everyone involved was so generous and enjoyed helping make this special piece.” She is the person who does all this and much more.
“With over 1,000 members the BJA is such a broad church. That’s why I’m still sat here after so many years. One minute I’m helping a craftsperson, the next a retailer or trader. At the moment we work with lots of designers, that’s a big change in the BJA. There were hardly any designer members when I started here in 1995, now we have nearly 390.”
She has certainly seen some changes during her 18 years at the BJA and is always looking to affect some more, with this year’s launch of the Designer Showcase “We provide benefits to the trade and as the trade changes so should the benefits.” Right now, she says the BJA is working a lot on Mentoring for Members, which brings people in the industry together to mentor each other. She is also involved in refining the BJA training programmes, a research and development project for British manufacturing and is set to put together more research missions to China, Japan and “untapped pockets” of the US.
There’s a lot to her job, and lots to her. This, after all, is a former Unicef employee, a speaker of native American languages (principally Aztec tongue Nahuatl, in case you were wondering) with a spirit of adventure, who worked with native communities as an anthropologist, who is at her happiest in the middle of nowhere and still cooks up a Latin storm, even if the ingredients are more likely sourced from foodie haven Ludlow these days rather than La Paz. So there, Lindsey is lots of things. But most of all she is the knowledge and support that she gives to the BJA membership and to the jewellery industry as a whole. Get her on your side and life will be easier.
Lindsey Straughton was selected as a Bering Trailblazer in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 in association with the Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the Hot 100 book online, click here.