Australian jeweller celebrates five stores with gala evening “to remember”



The old adage, when the going gets tough, the tough get going came to light throughout the past two years. Not content with riding out the global pandemic, one independent jeweller expanded his store count regardless of the difficulties during COVID-19.

Simon Curwood decided that 2021 was the year to break into the Sydney market by opening his fifth store. The problem was, he did so in March, a few weeks before a COVID lockdown.

With four existing stores on the NSW central coast – Charlestown, Tuggerah, Kotara and Maitland – Curwood chose Parramatta for his entrée into the larger Sydney market. He recently “threw a party” for 130 people, in part to celebrate the new store but mainly to recognise the efforts of his staff throughout COVID.

“We believe the people in our business are our biggest assets so every year for staff retention we organise an event to show our appreciation for their hard work and to celebrate their individual achievements”, he explained.

The event took place at Bennelong Restaurant in the Sydney Opera House and, along with all of his staff, the night included; Erin Molan, Dave Hughes, Ricki-Lee and Bruce ‘Hoppo’ Hopkins.

There were also special guest performances on the night from ‘popstars’ Jessica Mauboy, Dami Im, and The Buckleys. 

Curwood explained that 2021 was the most difficult year for staff because of confusion and controversy surrounding COVID laws.

“Throughout the year there were all sorts of impossible situations for them [staff] to manage. So this year I wanted to go ‘all out’ and put on an amazing event for my staff, to thank them for all their hard work during the covid pandemic. The kind of thing they’d always remember,” Curwood said.

He explained that staff were being abused by customers for asking for proof of vaccination status while simultaneously being abused for not asking for proof of vaccination status!

“The pandemic was the hardest situation for staff to manage. In some cases we had police officers coming into the store giving staff a hard time about vaccination and check-in management, then other police would come in saying they don’t really care, they just wanted it to be over too!

“So I wanted to celebrate their sacrifices and everything they have done throughout a difficult year and, at the same time, have a belated celebration of our first Sydney store given that not long after it opened NSW went into lockdown,” Curwood explained.

The first Simon Curwood Jewellers store opened in 2016 at Charlestown, south of Newcastle, NSW.

Curwood has been in the jewellery industry since a young boy. He worked on the bench for his father Christopher Curwood, who operated McCallum Gold in Ballarat, Victoria  – one of Australia’s leading jewellery manufacturers – in the late 1970s and early 80s.

“Dad made headlines around the world with his patented invention of the Link Lock which is see as one of the world’s leading jewellery findings,” Curwood explained. 

McCallum Gold began in jewellery retail and as the business grew it expanded into manufacturing to supply its own stores. The manufacturing developed until it was supplying more than 2,000 retail stores nationally.

The younger Curwood worked for the family business until he was 19 and left to join Harvey Norman, learning the art of successful retailing for five years.

“I missed the jewellery industry too much so I came back and worked for Michael Hill Jewellers for four years. But I always wanted to start my own business because I have always been passionate about high-quality jewellery made by independent craftspeople.

“I set out with the aim of being an independent chain store – a business that sits between a single store quality jeweller and a large jewellery chain – bringing better quality jewellery to the mass market,” Curwood said.

He believes he has had a good grounding to achieve his aim given that he learned the intricacies of fine jewellery production from his father from the age six. He says it was this early exposure to the trade that ignited his passion for fine jewellery and ambition for innovation.

“I have been passionate about that and felt there was a niche for a multi-store retailer that focuses on high-quality jewellery. More than 80 per cent of our entire business is custom-made jewellery,” he said.

The 34-year old Curwood told Jeweller that he plans to open two new stores in 2022, “when the right locations become available”, one in Melbourne and one in Brisbane.

 

EVENT GALLERY

Dami Im

Dave Hughes

Erin Molan

Glass Angels

Glass People

Glass Rabbits

Jessica Mauboy 

`Karen Griffin and Bruce Hopkins

Ricki Lee

 

PARRAMATTA STORE OPENING

 
 

 





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