SOAPBOX: The wisdom that comes with age versus the enthusiasm of youth

It’s funny how grandparents often have a better relationship with their teenage grandchildren than the parents, I think it’s mutual respect of the differences between generations, whereas we expect our parents to be as cool as us. We wish dad would dance and listen to Radio 1 not 2. So think how powerful our businesses could become if we embraced the very best of both generations.

I know of a few retail owners who take the shop laptop home on their days off so the team cannot help with stock arriving or selling, they cannot offer a bespoke design service on those days and look at how more than just a few managers butt in when a sniff of a high value sale is on the cards. What’s wrong with trust?

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You younger ones need to be squeezing information out of us oldies, and you may be surprised to find we walked the path you are now taking and got more things wrong than right. For us employers with a few more years under our belts, trust brings confidence and responsibility that 80% of our team will rise to, if you employ that 20%, then why?

This brings me in my usual roundabout way, on to my pet subject. There are some wonderful young designers coming through and we get to see some of the fortunate few at our main UK shows on, for example, the IJL Kickstart section. Organisations such as the Houlden group are extremely supportive of new talent and do what they can to put their designs in front of the UK buyers.

What could be the downside if you offered to help a new designer, combining their artistic talent with your business experience? Dublin, Glasgow, Birmingham and Holts in London are all seedbeds for wonderful talent and there are other schools now offering jewellery training: your help and support can have no downside. A space in your window could offer a huge break, but don’t expect it on appro – they have no money.

I promise even if the first time it does not prove to be a financial success what you are doing in giving someone a leg-up should be reward enough. Make it a New Year’s resolution, go and find a new talent, take ownership of helping them in a way you could only have dreamt of when you started out.

One owner recently sent one of his staff on to our Matrix training course, and this latest recruit left a couple of months later and joined the police – these things can happen! The point is, if we train and educate our staff they might leave but what if the untrained staff stay?

If this is a concern, explain the importance of any training and the investment that you are committing to so should they leave within a few months they would be required to repay those costs. My gut feeling is many would then think more seriously about undertaking a course if they were about to resign.

GVUK Design is an EnvisionTEC and Gemvision jewellery specialist distributor for the UK & Ireland.

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