Jewelers of America (JA) announced it is redefining the group’s relationship with the state and regional affiliate jewelers associations. The 39 affiliate associations will have the opportunity to continue their relationships with JA through new partnership agreements. Improved member benefits are set to be offered this fall as part of a recently announced merger with the Jewelry Information Center (JIC).
After careful evaluation during an 18-month strategic review completed last year, JA’s Board of Directors determined that the organization’s current business model was not sustainable to cover its operating costs. (Traditionally, JA has produced and developed the majority of services offered to members, yet it retains less than 20% [on average $12.21 per storefront in 2008] of the annual dues paid by member companies. JA remits the balance of annual dues back to the affiliate associations.)
In the new partnership model, JA will no longer offer operational assistance to affiliate associations, such as dues collection and database maintenance, but will continue a positive, ongoing relationship through other educational and marketing support.
Under the current structure, which will end on August 17, 2009, JA members have joint membership in their local jewelry association and the national organization. Going forward, members will elect to join or renew their membership with JA and/or their local association separately.
“While the current economic forecast has made it necessary to redefine the relationship Jewelers of America has with its affiliates, the association intends to continue a long-term connection with them through restructured agreements and future partnership opportunities,” says President & CEO Matthew A. Runci.
“[JA] will continually strive to strengthen and grow the partnerships it has with all state and regional jewelry associations, as it works to increase the benefits and services it offers to its membership. Our organizations share many of the same goals, [such as] … establishing and preserving high professional standards and the continuing and growing prosperity of our members,” JA Chairman John Green wrote in the notification sent to affiliate presidents.
JA President & CEO Matthew Runci.
JA will continue to focus on benefits that best address the current concerns of its member companies and to explore direct delivery options that are most convenient to them – in their stores, at local events or online. Examples include recent discounts on education and online training from some of the jewelry industry’s top education providers.
In other association news, JA is announced plans to launch a redesigned, more user-friendly website this fall. This will improve ease of access to all member services, including its exclusive regulatory and legislative guidance materials and online educational offerings from GIA and other education partners. ]
An important merger with the JIC is also planned. The merger promises to give members exciting access to high-quality consumer marketing materials and traffic-building programs. JIC members will receive equivalent access to JA benefits, as they will become JA members. More details on this integration will be announced soon. JA is also strengthening its efforts in Washington, D.C., to support the independent jeweler through legislative advocacy on key retail issues, such as sales tax fairness and group healthcare access.