The Houlden Group has revealed a wealth of measures it is using to support its members and supplier partners during the ongoing pandemic.
It initially facilitated inter-group communications between jewellers through its website forum, interactive Zoom meetings and social media platforms like WhatsApp, using the insights gained to “develop a robust advice and support strategy”.
Initiatives include ensuring that its website has up-to-date advice on Government support, as well as the latest industry news and tips on remote working, physical and mental health during lockdown.
The group has also promoted member engagement with other trade bodies who are offering online training resources, such as the NAJ that is offering jewellers a series of webinars.
Houlden also revealed it is offering access to additional users on the Houlden Jewellers of Excellence Training Academy platform, allowing staff to complete optional training at no additional cost.
In light of the crisis, the group has also halved its monthly membership fees for March, April and May, and will consider future extensions of this. It will also focus on delivering plans for the industry once the lockdown begins to ease.
The group said that feedback from its members and suppliers has been “extremely positive”.
In addition, the group said that it has made the “difficult decision” to cancel its Belfry June 2020 event. Provisional dates for a 2021 event has been established but “no firm plans” will be made until after lockdown is lifted.
Helen Haddow, CEO of the Houlden Group, said: “Since the coronavirus outbreak hit the UK, the jewellery industry has been badly affected by significant market disruptions, including mandatory ‘non-essential’ store closures that come with a country in lockdown.
“The Houlden Group, like other industry organisations, has focussed their resources on establishing extra support measures to help Members and Supplier Partners during this unprecedented time.”
She added: “Overall, we are reassured that our members have expressed a level of optimism and confidence that the correct financial decisions have been made, and that they have taken the opportunity to reflect on how their business will come out of this adversity stronger to ensure their successful reopening when it is safe to do so.”