• AssocLeadership

Created in the UK – launched by the National Association of Jewellers

Updated: Oct 14, 2019

DIALOGUE interviews Simon Forrester, Chief Executive of the National Association of Jewellers about a new scheme to promote jewellery and associated products made in the UK.

Simon, tell us about this new project that’s being launched by the NAJ.

Created in the UK is a scheme launched by the National Association of Jewellers which allows jewellery, silverware and related products such as pewterware created in the UK to be marked and promoted as such. The NAJ will licence companies and individuals in jewellery and related industries manufacturing and/or reselling jewellery products that meet the relevant criteria.

These companies will then be able to use the NAJ’s intellectual property to promote their products. Our scheme is not restricted to fine jewellery; we can register packaging, watch straps or any other product which meets the criteria.

Is Created in the UK just for NAJ Members?

No, it’s not restricted to NAJ members, it’s available to anyone making products within the UK, though members do receive a significant discount.

How is this different to other similar schemes such as Made in Britain?

The main difference from Made in Britain (MiB) is the geographical coverage. Created in the UK encompasses anyone manufacturing jewellery or related products across the whole UK, so includes Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, plus the Guernsey and Jersey. Anyone making jewellery in the UK can apply to join the scheme, have their products assessed, and then once approved, place the logo on them as a struck mark via the Assay Offices, and/or through point of sale materials. Actually, this is the other main difference – there isn’t a current UK ‘hallmark’ that shows point of origin (despite what most of the public think).

How long has it been in the works for?

In May 2016 the NAJ outlined plans to implement a Made in Britain mark, sadly, following many months of negotiations, the NAJ was unable to secure a deal with MiB, therefore we took the decision to create our own mark for use by the UK jewellery industry.

The initiative was officially launched on 2nd September 2019 at International Jewellery London (IJL) in Olympia. The first items will be struck from 1st January 2020 onwards to coincide with the latest date mark.

Why is now the time to launch this initiative?

Manufacturers and retailers alike have been crying out for a campaign to get behind. Created in the UK provides this in spades and it’s a salvo in the fight to move jewellery up the list of discretionary purchases.

Also, while Brexit is a cause of uncertainty, it has provided a timely moment for the launch. It’s a great opportunity to show support for local designer/makers and demonstrate provenance of goods – currently the third or fourth reason for purchase.

How do you think this will affect the UK jewellery industry?

I hope it will make consumers think about where their jewellery comes from, and how their purchase choices support a network of people across the UK and overseas, from artisanal miners to accountants, designers to delivery companies – each item of jewellery touches hundreds of people along the value chain before it reaches its purchaser.

What is the current state of the jewellery market?

We’re in a difficult period, there’s no getting away from that. The triple whammy of material prices, depressed demand and general political uncertainty have a very negative effect, but we still see those companies willing to innovate, to train and develop their staff, and to work hard to attract customers are still doing well. Double digit growth is possible, it’s just a lot harder than 20 years ago.

Are you anticipating any challenges with the scheme?

The main challenge is defining exactly what ‘Created in the UK’ means. Our new mark can be struck on to products that were made in the UK in accordance with the Trade Descriptions Act (1968) Section 36: “goods shall be deemed to have been manufactured or produced in the country in which they last underwent a treatment or process resulting in a substantial change.”

The term ‘substantial change’ is not defined in the Act, although an Order made under it explicitly states that the process of silver-plating stainless-steel cutlery does not constitute a substantial change. Generally, therefore, the meaning of this phrase is left to the manufacturer to determine but legally it would ultimately be for a court (i.e. NAJ) to decide.

We acknowledge that there will be grey areas - but the NAJ will err on the side of caution. If unclear, the presumption will be that a product does not qualify as it is important for the long term integrity of the scheme that it does not include products of questionable origin.

My only other concern is that designer/makers forget that being UK-made is a huge draw, and hide their light under a bushel. At a recent meeting with a representative of the Indian High Commission I was moved by his comment that Indians see British jewellery design and manufacture as the pinnacle – we need to capitalise on that and increase exports, and Created in the UK will be a shorthand for this.

What do you hope to achieve with the scheme by the end of 2020?

We have further initiatives planned, and a major PR campaign to consumer press once products are being struck with the mark. The cost of each company registration (£195 for NAJ Members, £395 for non-Members) is going into work to promote the scheme to consumers. By the end of 2020 I am hoping that every high street jeweller and every website will have a special corner dedicated to products created in the UK.

Where does Created in the UK go next?

We have registered the trademark in a variety of sectors, so we hope to make the scheme available to other associations to use for their own members’ products. It’s a low-cost add-on and one we believe will help make membership more ‘sticky’.

To learn more about Created in the UK, and how the scheme could extend into your industry, contact the National Association of Jewellers membership team, or Simon Forrester directly via the Institute of Association Leadership.

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