For Ntinga managing director, Howard Graham, International Jewellery London has been an annual fixture in his business calendar for an incredible four decades.
At IJL 2017, Howard will celebrate his very special 40th IJL anniversary; showcasing some fantastic behind-the-scenes images of his time in the jewellery industry. Make sure to visit Ntinga’s stand at Olympia and share a glass of champagne with the man of the hour!
Here, Howard answers our questions about how the trade has changed over the years and why IJL is still a regular date in his diary…
Q. What are some of your fondest memories of IJL over the last 40 years?
Seeing IJL develop and change, beginning with the original Earls Court venue where exhibitors had hand-built stands with heavy and ‘hot’ lighting, then moving to Earls Court 2 with stands growing bigger and more impressive, and now at Olympia, which has made a big improvement to the layout and the amount of days brand’s exhibit. I have fond memories of my largest-ever show order by Michael Spiers of Plymouth, and we sold-out of stock by Sunday at 10am. The first stand I ever had was themed as a western cowboy stand, complete with wagon wheels and guns – it was amazing!
Q. How has the jewellery industry changed in the past four decades – are there some shifts for the better and some for the worse?
In the original shows quality control did not exist – there were no certifications of diamonds at that time. Prices have been one of the biggest changes, especially increases in the price of gold and diamonds, as has the demand for fashion jewellery. The fashion of jewellery has also changed, including the designs and styles that have developed and the ‘disposable’ fashion that now exists. Plus, there were no computers, so everything was handwritten on paper order forms. Everything was made in the UK too and not outsourced to factories abroad. Years ago, gemstones were only available in a few different colours, there was not the range or selection there is today.
Q. How will you be celebrating your 40th IJL anniversary at the show?
We are creating a timeline of my many years at the show on the wall of our stand, using photos we have collated as well as asking customers, friends and colleagues in the trade to write a few words about their memories of me, the company and the years we have spent working together.
To build up so much love and trust takes years, and you get what you put in. We want to celebrate with people who have supported me and the company and share the passion I have, and will always have, for my customers and friends. We are hosting drinks on the stand at the end of the day on Sunday 3rd and giving a gift to those who have supported us.
Q. What has kept you coming back to IJL and what do you like about the show itself?
The buzz and the excitement of presenting new products on a new stand and the fun of making it all work. IJL has been like a drug… taken once a year it seems to keep me well! The show brings suppliers and customers together with their passion for this industry.
Congratulations to Howard! Don’t miss your chance to visit Ntinga and many other long-term supporters of IJL at Olympia from September 3-5.
IJL is #withyou creating amazing opportunities for networking all under one roof. Have you registered to attend this year’s show? Complete your registration today and you’ll be in with the chance of winning money towards a luxury holiday!