At a recent Board meeting, the JAA Board of Directors comprising Selwyn Brandt, Frank Salera, Karen Lindley, Jo Tory, George Proszkowiec, and Cameron Marks addressed certain matters that have been made public to the industry. The Board decided that some clarification was necessary given recent media coverage that may have confused industry members.
In his article posted on June 13th 2017, Mr. Coleby Nicholson alleged that Selwyn Brandt’s company, Australian Jewellers Supplies (AJS), was not a financial member of the JAA. What Mr. Nicholson failed to state was that Mr Brandt is a fully paid financial member via his association with Brandt Marketing, an entity that derives one hundred percent of its income from supplying the jewellery industry. Furthermore, payment of Mr Brandt’s JAA Membership fees through Brandt Marketing has not changed in the past 23 years. It is the Board’s opinion that it would be common sense that any individual should not be required to pay multiple annual JAA membership fees just because they may be associated with different business entities.
The Board is satisfied that Mr. Brandt’s membership satisfies all set membership criteria and that it complies with the JAA Constitution. Furthermore, the Board reaffirmed its support for Mr. Brandt and has full confidence in his role on the Board and as President of the JAA
The Board has a formal procedure to record any conflicts of interest at the beginning of each Board meeting, which are formally recorded in the minutes of meeting. As all Board members are involved in the jewellery industry it is sometimes possible that the interests of their individual businesses may be in conflict with the interests of the JAA. This situation is not unusual and is likely to occur in many similar associations or company boards. Should a conflict of interest exist then this can easily be overcome by the Board member openly declaring that conflict so that all Board members are fully aware of the conflict and a decision can be made as to whether the conflicted Board member should partake in discussions and voting or be excused. The JAA Board is completely satisfied that Mr. Brandt fully and openly disclosed any possible conflict of interest that may have existed between any company that he was involved in and the overall best interests of the JAA. Furthermore, the JAA Board was satisfied that any conflict would in no way impact on Mr. Brandt’s ability to make an impartial contribution to the matters before the Board at the time.
It appears that Mr. Nicholson and Jeweller magazine wish to draw some negative inferences from the fact that Mr. Brandt’s company, AJS, made the business decision to not exhibit at the proposed JAA fair. What Mr. Nicholson fails to understand is that the decision made by Mr. Brandt in no way suggested that he was not fully supportive of an independent JAA fair. However, as a director of AJS it was important for Mr. Brandt to make a business decision in relation to that business. Accordingly, AJS came to the conclusion that it would not be in the best interests of that business to exhibit at any fair including the Expertise Event fair. Instead, Mr. Brandt and AJS generously chose to support the JAA by sponsoring the Apprentice of the Year Jewellery Award as a part of the 2017 Australasian Jewellery Awards program.
In relation to the issue of whether the JAA made the correct decision to attempt to run an independent trade fair then that is a question that the trade itself can best answer. However, any answer should be based on the facts which are as follows:
- The revenue returning to the JAA and the industry from Expertise Events was decreasing each year. In fact, despite that a contract was entered into between the JAA and Expertise Events, Expertise Events has failed to pay the JAA any revenue at all for the Expertise Events jewellery fair that was run in 2016.
- The revenue generated by a JAA independent fair would far outweigh the contribution that could be made by running a fair with a partner
- Prior to deciding to hold a JAA owned trade fair many exhibitors expressed their strong support for the event.
- The JAA fair would have seen far more competitive exhibitor rates than those charged by Expertise Events in 2016. In fact Expertise Events lowered its exhibitor rates in 2017 which may have been a direct response to the JAA announcing its own fair.
- There can be no doubt that the feasibility of the JAA fair was severely impacted by Nationwide announcing that it would not support that fair.
- Ultimately, a JAA owned and run trade fair would have resulted in far more financial stability and far greater returns for the JAA and its members.
Ultimately, the current structure for the jewellery fair had run its course and a change was needed. The success of a JAA jewellery fair ultimately rested on industry support. Had the buying groups and exhibitors supported the JAA fair then it would have resulted in a win for the whole industry. Unfortunately this did not happen but this does not mean that the possibility of a JAA trade fair will not be visited at some future time.
Both the JAA and Showcase welcome all to participate in this spectacular event, regardless of their membership in other buying groups or organisations. The evening is intended to be an industry wide celebration which in part recognises our best industry design talent. The designers and manufacturers who enter in the JAA Australasian Jewellery Awards do so as individuals and not as part of a company or business. Anybody who so wishes can attend. The Terms and Conditions for entry into the 2017 JAA Awards have been the same as previous years and we are proud of the program that continues to develop over time. The JAA Jewellery Awards program is run differently from other awards programs and we take pride in the professional, prestigious nature of our design competition where our winners receive an industry bestowed award.
The JAA remains committed to its members and will continue to work with government agencies, lobby on behalf of the industry, liaise with educational bodies, provide relevant industry communications, liaise on security matters, resolve disputes and complaints, foster consumer trust, as well as offer discounts on a range of products and services. The JAA is your unbiased voice despite the challenges it faces due to negative media coverage which in our opinion seem to no longer want the JAA to exist and does not recognise much of the good the JAA has achieved in the past or will in the future.
It is vital that, despite recent events, the JAA survives as the industry body that cares for our interests as it has done for over 80 years. We look forward to your continued support to be your industry voice in to the future.
The JAA Board of Directors
Selwyn Brandt – Brandt Marketing
Karen Lindley – Diamonds by Design
Jo Tory – Najo
Frank Salera – Salera’s
Cameron Marks – Percy Marks
George Proszkowiec – Terrace Showcase Jewellers