Nationwide Jewellers’ celebrated 30 years of business with a three-day conference which has received rave reviews from attendees.
This year’s conference was titled ‘Time Out-Time to Shine’ and ran from 13-15 May in Brisbane.
More than 140 members representing 88 stores attended while a record 49 suppliers participated in the buying conference with exhibitions spread across 84 tables.
These numbers were particularly pleasing becaue only seven New Zealand members were able to attend due to pandemic travel restrictions.
Nationwide general manager Glen Pocklington said it was great to see so many industry faces gathering in person again.
“We are very pleasantly surprised,” Pocklington said.
“The enthusiasm of members this year starting with the welcome function, and right through to our members’ dinner, was amazing. Members were truly happy to meet face-to-face again with their many friends from the Nationwide membership.
“There were many highlights. The keynote speaker, our assessment of the industry and outlook for the next 12 months, our many diamond initiatives including our announcement for Forever Custom, networking during the happy hour, and of course staying in a 5-star hotel for free as a part of our member reward programme.
“Everyone was just so happy to be there.”
Guest speaker a hit
This year’s keynote speaker was best-selling author Andrew Griffiths, author of 14 books on small business strategy. Griffiths spoke to jewellers about important trends impacting retailers in 2022.
Nationwide membership manager Erin Keller said the feedback following Griffths’ presentation was glowing.
“We found members were even more positive than normal about our keynote speaker, Andrew Griffiths, than we anticipated,” she said.
“His down to earth marketing ideas really resonated with members. Many found themselves taking notes, and speaking later with several other members about their positive reactions, and the inspiration found from the guest speaker.
“Overall, we are very pleased with the turnout from both members and suppliers, and found that besides the buying day being so successful, many were pleased to reconnect after so long.”
Following two years of disruption due to the COVID pandemic, retailers and suppliers alike would be justified in feeling apprehensive about a permanent return to uninterrupted trade.
Nationwide’s managing director Colin Pocklington said that after witnessing a busy buying day at the conference, the general sentiment coming from the industry remains positive.
“We would have to say our members are very optimistic based on the buying day, which is expected to achieve a record result,” he said.
“The buying room was busy all day, and for the first time in the group’s 31-year history, members had to be asked to conclude their ordering as the event was about to close. Whilst exact numbers will not be known for a few weeks, a number of suppliers have reported that the event was their best buying day at any group event ever.
“Many members have used all of their Conference Cash allocation – up to $60,000 in interest-free finance for spending with suppliers at the buying day. One supplier couldn’t keep up with recording orders and had to ask members to leave their selected items with him and he would try and do the paperwork later in the day.”
It’s been a productive start to 2022 for Nationwide – completing a busy annual conference in Brisbane while also spearheading the formation of an international buying group collaboration.
The Global Jewellers Network was announced earlier this month, with Nationwide linking with The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ), based in the UK and Ireland, and Independent Jewellers Organisation (IJO), based in the USA and Canada.
Representatives are expected to meet face-to-face for the first time in Antwerp, Belgium in September. Nationwide has more than 400 members in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and, collectively, the three groups represent more than 1,500 independent jewellery stores.
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