Last October (2012) I was interviewed by the Jewellers collective in their newsletter:
Who are you and what is your occupation?
Interesting question. I am a father, a husband and the Rock of Gibraltar to my friends; I am someone who is passionate about the diamond and jewellery industry, and I try and look outward to see how the changes that are occurring around us will impact on our industry.
In terms of my occupation, I come from a retail jewellery background where we manufactured and imported jewellery, but I am not a bench jeweller. In fact when I was a kid and sent to work with the jewellers in the work shop, a week later my father asked the master jeweller about my skills. The response was “do you want the good news or the bad news?” He then proceeded to say “the bad news is, he doesn’t have the patience and focus to sit on the bench. So what is the good news? Boy can this kid talk, he is suited to serve customers”.
Currently I am the MD of a number of companies with my business partner Cherry Shaw. These include the Australian Jewellers Consortium, a jewellery consultancy which manages insurance claims. Q Report – a jewellery insurance service which is underwritten by Chubb Insurance of Australia. This particular product has been growing incrementally with over 200 retailers in Australia. We guarantee that in the case of a claim for loss, damage or theft, the jewellers customers are protected anywhere in the world, and that we will always send them back to their original family jeweller who supplied the item. We never involve another jeweller in the settlement of a claim, unless maybe the customer resides overseas.
We also have a specialist IT company Team Lucid which develops our applications and very unique solutions for the jewellery and diamond industry.
Recently I was elected to the Executive Board of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and although this is not my occupation, this and being President of the Diamond Dealers Club of Australia takes up a considerable amount of my time.
How did you get your start in the Jewellery trade?
3rd Generation. It was expected that (from three kids) I would be the one to take over. Interestingly I didn’t actually take over, but bought one of the stores from my parents and went on from there.
What is involved in your current role?
Everything that it takes to run a SME. However I am fortunate that my business partner has a different skill set to me, so we divvy up the roles. I tend to be the face of our businesses and do the industry interaction whilst Cherry insures that we deliver in spades on what is promised, and jointly we map out the future vision of the business units.
How have you seen the industry evolve over your career?
It’s been really interesting because having come from the inner circle and now providing services to the industry, you see it very differently.
The evolution has been technology driven, and what took Australian retailers a long time to come to terms with was the habit of bargaining and asking for a discount unheard of until the late 70s. The birth of the Chain stores has had a huge impact, and I would say the two greatest changes have been the shift of retailing from everyone coming into the city to shop, to the birth again in the
70s and 80s of the regional shopping centres and the almost obliteration of strip retail (almost) and of course the web.
What changes would you like to see in the Australian industry?
Too many to list! We need to communicate and not be fearful of everything and everyone. How do jewellers expect the next generation to learn great skills on the bench if they don’t pass them on? Your Facebook page is such a wonderful forum for colleagues to share information and ideas. The ability to have a platform to just ask for help and that maybe someone else may have already solved that problem is a tremendous resource.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Treat people the way you want to be treated and never make a decision based on fear. A good example is don’t take on that job because you are scared of losing it; if you are not making some money I will guarantee “Murphy’s law” will kick in and “you will lose money”.
How do you achieve a work life balance?
I love what I do. So much of what I do doesn’t really feel like work, it’s like a game of strategy. The rules are the same for everyone, FAMILY FIRST, after that everything finds its space.
What keeps you interested outside the Jewellery trade?
I love travelling. I love gadgets and whatever new technology is coming out. I am forever meeting new people and I love hearing their life stories.
The last book you read?
What would Google do? by Jon Jarvis …a must.