The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) has bolstered its support for members by launching a comprehensive menu of personal protective equipment (PPE).
As non-essential retail stores remain closed due to Covid-19, but with the first lockdown easing measures expected to be outlined by the Prime Minister on Sunday, the CMJ has been working as a priority to help its members plan for the future re-opening of jewellery stores and consider how measures such as social distancing could be facilitated in a retail jewellery environment.
The menu of PPE products that the CMJ has issued to all members has been collated from a range of suppliers, ensuring that members will have access to fully certified equipment including masks, face shields, gloves, floor tape, hand sanitiser, cleaning equipment and in-store screens.
Emmet Cummins, Managing Director of the CMJ, said: “The team at CMJ, headed up by Amber Saunders, have been working hard behind the scenes to find legitimate PPE companies with CE certified product. We didn’t want our members to have to attempt to source this themselves on an individual basis from the myriad of suppliers out there, some of whom are more reputable than others. We also wanted to make sure that availability of products isn’t an issue, and that the diversity of products we have presented on our ‘menu’ means that there is something to meet the needs of every business.
“It was also very important for us to ensure that the providers we are working with will not be supplying our members with products at the expense of PPE for front line workers and the NHS, and we have received such assurances from all our partner suppliers.
“The aim of providing this menu now is so that members can fully prepare in advance of any anticipated easing in lockdown, whenever that may be, so that when they do re-open they can do so with the safety of their staff and customers ensured. We anticipate the need for PPE to continue for some months and we will be working closely with our suppliers to meet the demand from our membership for as long as is necessary.”
The group will also be providing members with practical support around re-opening, including in-store signage, window decals and social media assets, so that retailers can communicate effectively with customers and reassure consumers that their stores are safe environments to shop in. This will be part of a wider marketing approach to encourage customers to return to stores and support their local jewellers.
The CMJ has been praised by its members for the support the group has offered to them during lockdown. Networking and learning initiatives including a webinar programme and weekly virtual Growth & Learning Network meetings have brought members together on a virtual basis so that they can discuss concerns and share advice with their peers.
Keeley Atkinson, Director at Atkinsons the Jeweller in Birmingham, said of the group’s support: “We are relatively new members of the CMJ and I am so glad and grateful to be a part of such a strong, focused, hard-working group… The teamwork, communication and support has been tremendous. These are the times when certain people and groups shine through and the CMJ has been very professional.”
Emmet added: “We understand the importance of communication and networking at times like these. The CMJ team quickly implemented weekly webinar sessions, virtual Growth and Learning Network meetings and set up relevant chat topics on both the Retailer and Supplier WhatsApp Groups, all of which have worked successfully and will continue for as long as our members need them. Our strength as a group is that we can celebrate independent retail while being stronger together, and this message has never been more relevant than it is at this time.”
The buying group has also offered financial assistance to its retailers by bringing forward its retrospective rebate, as well as freezing its membership fees for three months.