Receiving More Than You Give – The Benefits of Bourse Membership
Why am I a member of the Diamond Dealers Club of Australia (DDCA), and on the executive committee of the WFDB?
At the DDCA, we understand that the local Australian diamond dealer has to deal with trade shows, RAPNET, IDEX, international dealer's websites, and the odd merchant flying in from overseas to sell goods below prices that local merchants can afford to match.
The question is what can, and does, the local diamond dealer provide that these competitors cannot, and what can we do as a club to protect this local interest? It's important to note that we accept that it is a free market and we don’t begrudge anyone of our members or non-members from searching out legitimate goods with full KP compliance from wherever suits them, and at competitive prices.
What we had to confront in Australia (which only accounts for about 1% of total world diamond sales of polished) is how does the local industry deal with these issues?
Let’s not be naïve. Retailers need dealers and vice versa. No retailer nor wholesaler can carry everything, and in particular, for a retailer to be able to access goods within 24 hours is the difference between the make or break of a big sale.
To this end, the club has demanded that all the merchants who want to become a member of the DDCA have a business set up and offices in Australia. Above all else, when they list their goods on our new online diamond trading portal, they must have these goods in country.
Yes, there are times when you will pay more for these diamonds than the price listed on a foreign website, but the local retailer didn't have to put up the money upfront to bring the stone in, nor demand that the potential customer pays upfront before you can even show it to them.
The diamond trading portal is about connecting wholesalers to retailers, it’s about giving our members choices, it’s about giving them a price guide of diamonds in Australia. Specifically for the diamond wholesaler, it’s about connecting them to small and often under the radar jewelry workshops that they may never have known existed nor had a chance to get to. Let's remember Australia is a huge continent.
For the retailer, the DDCA is about us promoting the retailer to the consumer, in terms of them being a person of integrity. How impressive it is to be a member of the international diamond organization, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses!
Last year we held – in conjunction with the Gemmological Association, The Jewellery Association and the Valuers Association – a presentation about synthetic diamonds. We were determined to present programs once or twice a year to bring members of the industry together; to open a line of communication and to see how we can all increase our sales in the luxury market.
However, doing all these things means sacrifices, time and even some money. Being able to have a conversation with a jeweler from another region, ask questions from someone who experiences the same issues and problems that you do, but isn’t competing with you directly. Just a couple of helpful tips or pointers on who they use, how they overcome an issue – it’s all so helpful when you can speak to a colleague who really understands the pressures you are faced with day to day.
Since I began participating in the DDCA, I have met and become friends with diamond dealers in 30 exchanges around the world; invited to the USA, Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Antwerp Dubai, Turkey, Singapore, London, Russia and China and some, multiple times, dined with CEOs of the biggest diamond mines in the world and visited cutting factories with thousands of employees. I have participated in discussions on fair trade and banking regulations which could change the face of how diamonds are traded worldwide.
The highlight of it all is being instrumental in the launching of the World Diamond Mark, a generic marketing program for diamonds, which the WFDB created knowing that, as the pre-eminent body that represents the diamond industry, we needed to take responsibility an active role in their promotion to the consumer.
I could go on and on about the incredible private tours, the entry into rarefied spaces where so few have ever been invited.
However, at the end of the day, it’s about the people, the different cultures, the camaraderie and the ability to be exposed to what the world has to offer.
Yes, I do this travel at my expense, but who wouldn’t?
Since I was elected to the executive board of the WFDB I have invested hundreds of hours willingly, contributed ideas and participated in discussions which improve the conditions for all in the trade, but my contribution pales into insignificance compared to that of others who have dedicated years and, in some cases, decades selflessly, and continue to do so.
I consider it an honor and a privilege to do so, and I am the first to admit, it is so inspiring to participate. I consider myself so fortunate.
We all get caught up in day to day life. Business is hard and seems to be getting harder. The only solution I see is that one needs support and inspiration. What better way to gain this, than being a member a bourse or a diamond club .The ability to learn about the next big thing before it hits the market, and extend your understanding of what is happening in our trade must surely be a goal of everyone in the diamond industry.
All considered, I can strongly recommend that you become a member of your local diamond bourse and reap the benefits just as I have.
President of the Diamond Dealers Club of Australia