After a packed day of talks and networking, the Company of Master Jewellers treated guests to a sit down dinner, with entertainment and award announcements. At the dinner it was revealed that Wongs jewellers won Retailer of the Year, while Brown & Newirth took home the Supplier of the Year award for the second consecutive year.

The Company of Master Jewellers new chief executive officer, Terry Boot, believes networking is key during difficult trading conditions.

This weekend (March Sunday 4- Monday 5) the buying group is holding its first trade event since Terry Boot was named Willie Hamilton’s permanent successor.

Boot joins during what most in the industry would agree is a difficult time. Trading on the high street is hard, Brexit has caused prices to rise and consumer confidence to fall, and many independent jewellers are having to close their doors after loosing sales to the internet.


“A lot of the challenges the jewellers are finding are challenges retailers are finding,” shares the buying group’s new CEO. “Increasing costs. Minimum wage. Rental increases. The pressure on the dollar and the euro, so the margin that they are able to achieve on the products are being diminished. So I think there are some huge cost pressures which we are finding across the board.”

When asked by Professional Jeweller how he plans to help the Group’s independent jewellers overcome these challenges, Boot reveals he believes in the power of networking.

Boot shares: “Networking is really important. How are like-minded people coping with various things? Because the jewellers are facing the exact same challenges. So talking to somebody else and trying to bring them together is really important.”

“So people might say, is that it, networking? No there is a lot of other things but that is really important,” continues Boot. “It gives people confidence and different ideas.”

With this ethos, Boot plans to build on the networking and networking opportunities the CMJ offers it members.

This will include more regional meetings, and possibly a conference next year.

The Board are also looking into providing bus tours whereby a group of retailers will visit three or four strong retail stores, and spend time together.

“It’s about touring different stores – picking out about three stores that are doing a particularly good job – not saying the others don’t – but showing retailers best practice,” Boot explains.

“It’s just stimulating the conversation and then over dinner in the evenings they can start to talk about these things, and the good thing is it takes them out of their environment.”