INTERVIEW – The UK Jewellery Festival to return on a bigger scale in September

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The UK Jewellery Festival, a boutique buying experience that will take place prior to the UK Jewellery Awards on the same day on September 1, will return on a bigger scale this year, Ruth Faulkner, Editor of Retail Jeweller, which organises the event, tells Jewellery Outlook Editor David Brough. 

Retail Jeweller Editor Ruth Faulkner

Retail Jeweller Editor Ruth Faulkner

Ruth, what is the UK Jewellery Festival, and who should attend?

The UK Jewellery Festival has been designed to provide a boutique buying experience at a pivotal time of year for the trade, allowing buyers and retailers to place those all-important Christmas orders. 

We have a number of top industry suppliers already confirmed, as well as an accompanying programme of seminars and talks, running throughout the day.

As we came out of the restrictions of the pandemic in 2021, it was felt the UK jewellery and watch trade was missing a September trade show, and as Retail Jeweller already organises the industry’s leading awards event – the UK Jewellery Awards – we felt it made sense to co-locate the two events on the same day, to give everyone even more of a compelling reason to visit London.

We launched our inaugural event, on a small scale last year, to test the water, and following extremely positive feedback, we are bringing back The UK Jewellery Festival on a bigger scale for September 2022.

Primarily the event is aimed at jewellers and those who buy jewellery and watches for their stores and websites including independent and multiple jewellers, department store buyers, museums and galleries.

Through our sister publication Drapers, we are also targeting buyers from fashion boutiques who have a vested interest in stocking jewellery and/or watches. If you would like to apply for your free ticket, simply visit: https://awards.retail-jeweller.com/ukja/en/page/apply-to-attend

What type of suppliers will be exhibiting? Please give a few highlighted examples.

We are absolutely delighted that some of the key suppliers, who supported us in year one, are returning to the event in 2022.

This includes the likes of our headline partner The Betts Group, together with British manufacturer Hockley Mint, watch accessories and leather goods business WOLF, watch brand Rotary, laboratory-grown diamond supplier Green Rocks and designer jeweller Shaun Leane.

However, we are also thrilled to welcome on board a raft of new brands and suppliers for this year’s event including established fashion jewellery brands Sif Jakobs and Coeur de Lion, as well as new brands such as Sweet Marie Jewellery, DeGrey & Mason and Gisser, fine jewellery supplier Ntinga, plus watch brands Picto and Arne Jacobsen Watches.

A full list of exhibiting brands and suppliers can be found via https://awards.retail-jeweller.com/ukja/en/page/exhibitors. We are also pleased to announce that the event is supported by the National Association of Jewellers, the Company of Master Jewellers, TH March and The Parify Group.

Why is this a “must-attend” event for UK jewellery trade buyers?

I think the impressive list of brands and suppliers already signed up to exhibit is a compelling enough reason for most jewellery trade buyers to want to attend the show and place their Christmas orders.

However, we are also offering a packed programme of thought-provoking content sessions covering everything from SEO strategy to the issue of diamond provenance – there really is something for everyone and you can check out the full content programme here: https://awards.retail-jeweller.com/ukja/en/page/programme.

Additionally, the UK’s premier jewellery and watch trade awards event takes place later that evening, so if you are already planning to attend the awards, there is now a fantastic reason to get down to London earlier in the day and check out the Festival.

How are bookings so far for the UKJF and the UK Jewellery Awards?

We have been actively marketing both events for quite some time and are very pleased with the response to date. Now that the UK Jewellery Festival is in its second year, people are definitely more aware of it and wanting to take the time to come and visit the show.

What sets the UK Jewellery Festival apart from other events, is that we have a policy of admitting serious trade buyers only, meaning that exhibitors can be sure that the companies they are meeting with are ones looking to do business.

We are firm on not letting other suppliers, who have not paid to exhibit, into the show as we don’t believe this is fair on those who have made the commitment to taking a stand at the event.

Also, the UK Jewellery Awards will celebrate its 30th anniversary edition this year, which is a huge milestone for the event, and it is clear that people want to be part of that celebration and the unrivalled networking opportunity that it brings.

What are the advantages of staging the UKJF and the UK Jewellery Awards on the same day?

We are anticipating that around 650-700 guests will join us for this year’s UK Jewellery Awards and we are hoping to capitalise on that audience by bringing the two events together and hosting them both on the same day.

We are often told that retailers like to bring their entire teams down to the awards for a night of celebration and, by offering the Festival during the day, there is an additional reason for people to make the trip.

We are confident that the UK Jewellery Festival and the UK Jewellery Awards have the potential to become the UK’s premier jewellery event and we are excited about this year’s events and beyond.