HOW TO BECOME AN AWARD WINNING ETHICAL JEWELLER - Part 2
V&V had the privilege of supporting EC One founders, Jos and Alison Skeates, to develop their strategy for a responsible jewellery business. In 2019 they were awarded a UK Jewellery Award in recognition of their work, and have recently become the first B Corp certified jeweller in the UK. In the second of this two part blog we explore how to put in place practical steps to create a better business.
Once you have a clear vision and mission for your brand you can start to develop a plan - sometimes referred to as a roadmap or strategy - to achieve them. This means thinking more specifically about what you are going to do and agreeing actions you will take over a period of time.
Actions don’t have to be huge to make a difference. Whilst your vision might be for an ethical jewellery industry, you are unlikely to be able to achieve that on your own. Instead, play a part by committing to small steps in the right direction, and encourage others to do the same.
Consider the following when creating your roadmap:
PRIORITIES - Take time to prioritise the improvements you want to make.
To help you prioritise think about:
What is easy to do with your existing knowledge/budget/time?
What would have the most impact?
Where is there the biggest risk if you don’t make a change?
What are you most passionate about?
ACTIONS - What practical steps can you take within your business to help achieve your mission?
Part of EC One’s mission is to run their business in a way that minimises negative impact on the environment. With this in mind, they decided to only stock brands who are also dedicated to working responsibly. We planned a series of actions to help make this happen:
Develop a policy that lays out all the things expected from the brands they stock.
Create a system to allow their team to check a brand meets the requirements.
Identify what support the team could provide existing brands to help them achieve the new requirements.
Mapping out these small actions allows you to see how you can achieve a bigger change and stops your mission from feeling overwhelming. It also means you can delegate tasks to others and set clear timelines to achieve them.
SUPPORT - What support will you need to achieve the actions you’ve set out?
Some actions will be entirely within your knowledge and control, others might require research or additional expertise. EC One felt they needed support to develop a brand policy and to think about how they could assess potential brands.
There are lots of free online resources that can provide advice on how to work responsibly:
Common Objective has a Jewellery Hub, which offers guides and tools.
The Incorporation of Goldsmiths’ Ethical Making Resource is great for information on responsible materials and studio practices.
Fair Luxury will connect you with other jewellery brands to share learnings.
Plus V&V are always here to support if you need us!
IMPROVE - Changing the way you work can be tough, but you don’t have to do everything at once or get it right first time. Learn as you go and improve.
Monitor your progression at regular points throughout the year - what’s working and what isn’t?
Be transparent with your clients about how you are doing. Statistics show that brands build trust and loyalty with their customers when they tell their story and speak honestly about their progress. Have a look at EC One, Little Green Radicals or Anuka Jewellery to see how they communicate their work.
The most important thing to remember is the best time to start is now. Like having a baby or moving house - there’s never a right time, you just have to go for it! If you’d like help creating a strategy for a successful (maybe even award winning!) sustainable
jewellery business then drop us a line or check out our services. We’d be happy to support.