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May 2024

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it.”

Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), A League of Their Own (Columbia Pictures 1992)

It’s very easy to pass the blame. The jewellery industry in Australia hasn’t been very easy for a while. We are a diverse industry, competing locally and globally. We are also highly fragmented. Margins have disappeared, cost of materials and labour have skyrocketed, every person with an internet connection is now an expert. Sales that should be staying here in Australia are disappearing overseas. It’s hard not to look at social media and feel like everyone is doing it better and you are so far behind that it is impossible to catch up. I look at it this way. In small business it’s taking risks and re-investing, the investment today pays dividends down the track.

I am about the worst salesperson in the world, it is just not my thing. I will admit I am a half-decent educator. As scary as it sounds giving a little self-education to the client before you is a remarkable way of aligning values, building rapport and I’ve often challenged clients to jump onto one of the online diamond website and look at earth- created round brilliant cut 1.00ct G/SI2 GIA certified XXX nil fluoresce. At the time of writing, the website I visited had 48 to choose from ranging from AUD $4,276 to $9,050. Free shipping but taxes and duties are to be announced. (I know that the client will have to pay 10% GST and 5% import duties - despite their insistence that they don’t).

Depending on the client I explain it like this. The $4,276 diamond and the $9,050 diamond are like buying a 1 series BMW or a 7 series BMW or buying a t-shirt from Kmart or Ralph Lauren. Yes, they are both cars or yes, they are both t-shirts, and they both have differences that the market is willing to pay more or less for. The irony that for example engagement rings are such a comparative large investment and profession of so much love and romance, yet so price dependant. To my view it is better to educate, agree to match the price for like for like - because I promise you if they trust you once the second third and fourth purchases will be a cinch and the potential for accessing their network increases.

We all need sales to survive, we also need some level of margin to hold inventory, pay staff, taxes, insurance, rent, marketing and invest in the future of our business. Sometimes it is better to get the sale and consider it an investment in the client.

So, as we face the challenges of the jewellery industry, let us embrace the wisdom of Jimmy Dugan's words. Let us embrace the difficulty, knowing that it is through perseverance, education, and genuine connection that we can thrive in this dynamic and ever-evolving landscape.

Daniel Anania, JAA Director, on behalf of the JAA Board

JAA Directors and staff - Meredith Doig  (Director), Kerrilie Campbell, Ronnie Bauer (VP), Megan Young and Joshua Sharp (President) at the JIF Melbourne (March 2024)
Image not for reproduction without permission

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