What is a Made in Britain mark? This month’s guest interview is with Michael Rawlinson, Chief Executive of The National Assocation of Jewellers (NAJ). He tells us about the NAJ’s exciting plans to introduce a Made in Britain mark for jewellery.
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1. Thank you for your agreeing to tell us about the Made in Britain Mark. Just quickly before we go on to the main topic. Would you tell us a bit about yourself?
“I’m Michael Rawlinson, Chief Executive of the National Association of Jewellers. I have been with the NAJ for one year. Before that I worked 2 ½ years for the National Association of Goldsmiths. My day to day responsibilities consist of running the Association and implementing the strategy and plans set out by our ruling National Committee.”
2. Today we wanted to find out about the NAJ’s plans to introduce a ‘Made in Britain Mark’ for jewellery manufactured in the UK. Could you tell us about that?
“The Made in Britain Mark will identify those items that were made here in the UK. So, a consumer or someone receiving the piece of jewellery or silverware as a gift will know that it has been made here in the UK.”
3. Just to clarify, doesn’t a jewellery hallmark tell us anything about the jewellery’s origin? How would the Made in Britain Mark be different?
“Currently, precious metal items receive a Hallmark from one of the 4 UK Assay Offices. This is the consumer’s guarantee of the precious metal content. It does not, and cannot say anything about where the item was made.”
4. This is probably a good time to ask you to tell us a more about the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ). What is its role? What do you do?
“The association is the leading jewellery organisation working for and on behalf of its members, who are businesses operating in the jewellery sector.
“These range from Manufacturers, craftspeople with specific skills such as setters, mounters, hand engravers, through to designer makers. And every form of retailer from independent to multiple. Including those with shops to those who just operate online.
“We want to raise the standards of honesty integrity and professionalism in the industry. In order to improve consumer confident in the purchase of jewellery.”
5. What measures does the NAJ do to achieve that confidence?
“We do this by providing education and training, maintaining a strong code of conduct that every member agrees to abide by and producing support materials to help our members communication to the public.
“Members of the Association use our Coat of Arms as a Mark of Quality which signifies their membership of the Association.
“We also represent the view of members to external stakeholders such as government and third sector organisations.
“We lobby, where necessary, for changes in legislation or regulations that will have a detrimental impact on the industry – as long as these do not adversely affect our customers of course.”
6. Now back to the Made in Britain Mark: how has the idea been received?
“We have received very positive feedback to this idea so far, as everyone in the trade can see what a great marketing and promotional tool this will be. Not only for customers here in the UK but also in overseas markets where there is a real passion for buying items made in Britain.”
7. Can we see the mark?
“We haven’t designed the actual mark yet. We want to get all the formal approvals dealt with first. Then we will set about having a Mark designed that will work on small and larger items equally well.”
8. So when will we start seeing it stamped onto jewellery?
“I’m not sure yet, but I am hopeful that by the end of 2017 everything should be up and running.”
9. Finally, what will the mark mean to the NAJ and British jewellers and consumers?
“When we have got our Made in Britain Mark completed this will be a great achievement for the association. It will be a tangible tool that can be used by our members to set them apart from the rest of the crowd.
“It will allow us to show our pride in our creative and manufacturing heritage – showing what the UK jewellery industry has excelled at for centuries.”
Michael Rawlinson, Chief Executive of The National Assocation of Jewellers –thank you again for your time. We look forward to seeing the Made in Britain Mark soon in the new year.
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