Can the jewelry industry come together as one?

This past weekend was the big yearly kick off in the jewelry industry, the 24kt Gala weekend.  It started with the DEF Good Awards on Thursday night, then the JIC’s GEM Awards Friday night and finally the gala on Saturday.  Sprinkled in between were lunches, meetings and cocktail parties.  It always is not only a great weekend, but a great opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues.

At many of these events, here is how the conversation usually starts out:

“Hi!  How are you?  How are things going?  How was your year?”

And the reply

“Hey how are you doing?  Things are OK, you know, survived another year and here we are!”

Inevitably, certain conversations will continue into the challenges facing the industry as a whole.  I had one such conversation Friday night, a conversation that I have had many times, and it is about time we start having this conversation on a much larger scale.

The world has changed.  With the advent of the internet, globalization and the “new normal”, the way we compete and survive has to change as well.  The jewelry industry needs to recognize that their biggest competitor is not one another, but outside industries competing for the same, limited, consumer spending dollars.  We as an industry must begin to come together and work together to promote jewelry as a whole.  All jewelry, including, diamonds, color, pearls, gold, platinum, palladium, silver; you get the picture.

There are many industry organizations out there, and to give them credit, they have begun this conversation on how we can do this.  However, like in any business, the challenge is to check your own personal agendas at the door.  Everyone has to recognize that if we don’t start working together, none of us will have an industry to work for.  Many of the industry organizations survive on membership dues.  However, if their members are not succeeding, they will start to cut expenses, and guess what goes first.

So how do we do this?  If you have had this conversation with me in the past, you know I have talked for a long time about creating the “got milk” campaign for the jewelry industry.  A generic message that everyone can get behind and promote.  “Everyone” means getting everyone from the Tiffany’s of the world, down to the independent mom and pops, from the mines to the manufacturers producing the product.  However, advertising and getting the message out is no small endeavor, and a costly one at that.  A friend of mine told me this weekend, we should put together a think tank of young people in their 20’s to help us get this message out there.  Start thinking like the next generation, continue to offer education and support to those on the front line, the retailers, that have to compete in this world and get the product to the end user.  Get them to start embracing the internet and new social mediums and all they have to offer. 

Yes this will take money, yes this will take time, and yes this is what is needed.  Let’s start the conversation, let’s start the movement  and let’s continue to sell lot’s of jewelry!

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