Industry Q&A: NAJ Summit Shapes Professional Excellence in the Craft

Ben Massey, Senior Director of the National Association of Jewelers (NAJ) speaks to Retail Jeweler about the upcoming NAJ Summit 2022, which will take place June 10-13, 2022.

Now in its second year, the NAJ Summit is a multifaceted event designed for a cross section of the jewelry trade, including registered independent appraisers, retailers, sales professionals, designers and suppliers. Attendees can choose which summit elements are right for them, whether they attend the Appraiser Conference, Jewelery Retailer Convention, Business Improvement Seminars or Supplier Showcase. The NAJ Summit also hosts the annual NAJ Members Gala Dinner and, for the first time in 2022, the NAJ Awards.

What are you most proud of with the NAJ Summit as an event concept?

This is an event designed by jewellers, for jewellers, so I am very proud that we can appeal to such a wide range of professionals in the trade. As a concept, the NAJ Summit aimed to bring together the Association’s most popular annual events under one roof, create more learning and networking opportunities across industry demographics, and spotlight our Registered Appraisers who are a fundamental but often overlooked group of professionals. In 2021, we launched the NAJ Summit just as pandemic restrictions were easing. Although it was a nerve-wracking time, we were confident in our concept and luckily it paid off. The feedback from NAJ Summit 2021 has been truly encouraging, and it has made us all even more determined to enjoy four fantastic days in June.

What has changed in the event since the first NAJ Summit in 2021?

Perhaps the biggest change is the schedule – NAJ Summit 2022 takes place in June compared to September for our 2021 edition. This placement in the schedule is a more retailer friendly time and will allow all attendees to enjoy the maximum of the grounds and outer courtyard of the Staverton Hotel. We will also start the Assessors’ Conference on Friday, June 10, in an effort to avoid unnecessary scheduling conflicts. This will be accompanied by a welcome barbecue on Friday evening as an additional networking opportunity.

Another obvious change is the addition of NAJ Awards to the Members Gala Dinner on the evening of Sunday June 12th. We are delighted to be able to bring our prices back for the first time since the pandemic. Retailers attending the NAJ Awards Ceremony can also visit our one-day Supplier Showcase, also on Sunday June 12, which now has protected time in the schedule. A small number of complimentary retailer passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

How can independent retailers benefit from the NAJ Summit?

The Retail Jewelers’ Congress is the perfect opportunity for jewelry store owners and managers looking for an efficient and supportive jewelry network to “try before you buy”. In fact, 29% of JBN members attended Congress before joining NAJ’s JET Business Network. Congress offers a sense of community and camaraderie; freelancers will get advice from their peers on profitability and improving their bottom line. Secondly, merchants will be able to visit the Supplier Showcase on Sunday June 12 and see the products and services presented there. Time is precious and this concentrated one-day element of the NAJ Summit is a great way for retailers to “dive in” without getting too committed. However, if Independent Retailers have the time and want to learn more, we recommend arriving on Saturday June 11 and attending the Reviewers Conference. I’m sure they will be surprised at the breadth and diversity of the workshops, masterclasses and keynote presentations on offer. Finally, it’s a perfect opportunity to network with like-minded people and make connections, something we’ve all been missing out on for the past couple of years.

What are you most looking forward to?

As a team, we are delighted to welcome attendees to the Members Gala Dinner, as it was so popular last year and we have the same band, “The Revolvers”, back. I also look forward to seeing people’s faces as they participate in the day’s events, where knowledge is shared and new ideas are born. And the Reviewers’ Conference dinner on the evening of Saturday, June 11, has an interesting theme: “What’s in Your Pocket?” » Participants are invited to bring an object that they think will interest the other guests at their table – only restriction, it must be in pocket size!

What are the plans for the NAJ Summit in the future?

We are committed to the NAJ Summit concept as one of the best opportunities for members to get the most out of their membership. We’re proud that the Summit champions the benefits of in-person events, but for a fee and in a location that’s more accessible than most. Ticket sales have been strong for 2022, so we’re confident this upcoming event is one not to be missed.

The NAJ Summit 2022 will take place at the Staverton Park Hotel & Golf Club in the East Midlands from June 10-13, 2022.

Independent retailers can now claim one of 50 free passes to the Vendor Showcase on Sunday, June 12. This is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and all will have the opportunity to stay for members. Gala dinner (£65 + VAT per ticket). The morning of Sunday June 12 will also include the NAJ Better Business Marketing Seminars, which offer communications and marketing advice to visiting freelancers.

To learn more about the NAJ Summit and see all ticket options, click here:

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