JET Business Network (JBN) unveils final speaker line-up for Retail Jewellers’ Congress at the NAJ Summit 2021


The NAJ JET Business Network (JBN) has announced the final line-up of speakers taking part in this year’s Retail Jewellers’ Congress at the NAJ Summit on September 13, 2021.

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To kickstart the day, April Trigg, Search Engine Marketing Specialist and Marketing Manager at Brace Creative Agency will host a session titled “How to Run a Successful E-Commerce Website,” and provide useful insights for retailers whose efforts have been focused squarely online during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Agency’s Director, Nick Bracey, will also be on-hand for a Q&A session to discuss search engine optimisation, online shopping behaviour and more.

Up next, Nicholas Wainwright, Chairman of Boodles, will explain how his family’s luxury jewellery business has morphed from a provincial county jeweller into a sparkling market leader, covering topics like customers loyalty and sales skills in the process.

To round-out the morning sessions, attendees will hear from Polly Barnfield OBE, the founder and CEO of Maybe* – a business that helps organisations measure what matters and do more of what works on social media. Maybe* is a consortium member of the UK Government’s High Street Task Force, which provides social media sentiment data and training for 1,000 towns. In her talk, titled “Turn your Social Media Activity into Actions that Deliver Results,” Barnfield will explore why, even though 66% of consumers spend three hours per day on social media, only 28% of independent businesses are active on the platforms.

In the afternoon, Amanda Simon, Head of People Engagement at Beaverbrooks, will present on recruiting and retaining the right people for your business. She will be joined for a Q&A session by Steven Blake, Recruitment and Training Manager at Beaverbrooks.

Continuing the theme of getting the best out of people, Dale Parmenter and Clare Hanna, Chief Executive Officer and Head of Learning Development respectively at DRPG – a leading integrated, full-service communications group that’s recently been appointed as the Official Promotional Event Services Provider for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – will present on ‘The 5 Voices of Power in Your Business’. Their talk will advise Congress attendees on how to ensure the different voices within their business are heard and valued, including a best practice approach to embedding the internationally recognised ‘5 Voices System’ into the retail business culture.

Finally, to close the day, Emma Hayward will share her ‘retail story’ based on 30 years’ experience that saw her rise from the shop floor at WH Smith to leading as an executive director for the likes of Tesco, Signet and New Look. At Signet Jewelers, for example, Hayward was responsible for the sales and profit of Signet UK, encompassing 480 stores, 5,000 employees and sales of £490 million.

Hayward’s session outline explains: “The pandemic has seen a shift in consumer behaviour towards shopping locally and supporting small businesses. Getting to know the people behind the brand has become important. Are they relatable, do they share the same values, do they care about their customers? As one of the sectors hardest hit by Covid-19, caring for our people has become more important than ever. Creating work environments that recognise individual as well as business needs, while employing strategies to drive high level of engagement is vital.”

 JET Business Network Retail Jewellers' Congress 2021 Speakers (from L-R) - April Trigg, Polly Barnfield, Emma Hayward

The JET Business Network (JBN) has been delivering value through shared knowledge, experience, and expertise since 2005. The network continues to be successful in promoting business growth for all members by providing a unique opportunity for independent jewellery retail owners and directors to meet with like-minded professionals in a confidential forum that fosters supportive and trusting relationships.

With the mission statement “grow your presence, grow your people, grow your profit,” this year’s one-day Retail Jewellers’ Congress will focus on the themes of digital growth and staff empowerment, as well as general business-boosting advice.

Michael Donaldson, JBN facilitator and organizer of the Retail Jewellers’ Congress, comments: “Before a single speaker is approached, the JBN members are approached for their thoughts and ideas on the areas that would most benefit their businesses – these ideas are then voted on by the members and then and only then are speakers researched, identified, and often seen in action before being invited to share their expertise at the JBN Congress. This year members voted on the biggest challenges they expected to face in 2021 – the top two were ‘Digital’ with 40% of the vote and ‘Staff’ with 38% of the vote.

“When it comes to the people in our businesses, they probably give us the most sleepless nights so what could be better than hearing from not one but two representatives of Sunday Times Best Companies To Work For 2021 Award Winners at this year’s Congress?”

JBN member and long-term Congress attendee, Adam Jacobs, of Jacobs the Jewellers in Reading, says: “Over time Congress has proved to be a welcoming co-operative space where retailers can constructively debate and share issues that affect their everyday business performance in confidence. In terms of topics, team and people are always in the top three challenges faced by business owners and this years’ programme addresses this square on. Looking after people is a complex subject however at this crucial time, we all have to strive to get it as right as we possibly can. The experiences of this last year also show us that we must consider how to be better at digital, even if we’re already pretty good at it.

“Is it value for money? Yes, because Congress, just like the JBN, is focused on generating real practical ideas for independent retailers, not academic ones that only work for big business, for me it makes the event a must attend. Dare I say it, as a long-standing attendee, I’d almost cast-iron guarantee that I walk away with at least three immediately usable ideas, if not more. I learn more in this setting listening to how other retail jewellers have overcome their challenges to make an impact on the bottom line. It’s just a bonus there’s everything else going on too and that the attendees are a great bunch to spend time with.”

Business owners wishing to enhance their knowledge of digital, including PR, Google advertising, social media and influencer marketing can also attend a series of talks at the NAJ Summit on Sunday 12th September, as part of the schedule of Better Business Seminars.

Tickets for the NAJ Summit 2021 can be purchased here:

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