Fionagh pictured above with her Mum Rita and her Dad Stephen at her inauguration recently
We are delighted to welcome Fionagh Ryan as the new President of the Association of fine Jewellers. Fionagh has a wealth of jewellery knowledge and will be a huge asset to the Association. We sat down with Fionagh recently and thought it would be nice for you to be introduced to Fionagh so we have asked her a few questions that we thought would give you a good insight into Fionagh and her opinions.
Can you tell me a little bit about your business?
Ryans Jewellers opened in 1964 and soon became known as “Ryans for Rings” with queues seen outside the shop in the mid to late sixties around Christmas time as couples got engaged. Today, it is still a “traditional” Jewellery store offering repair & valuation services, ear piercing and engraving with an offering of watch and silver brands but it is the good reputation in all things diamond and weddings that is core to the Ryans Jewellers business.
Your family has a long history with the Association of Fine Jewellers, how are you feeling about your tenure as President?
Stephen, a trained watchmaker purchased the premises from Patrick Irwin in 1964, (Edward Irwin’s grandfather) so it has been a Jewellery store since 1876 and is one of the longest running trading Jewellery shops in Munster. Stephen also held the position of President of the then Retail Jewellers of Ireland in 1977/78, actually forty years ago and was one of the main driving forces of a group of Irish Jewellers coming together to share information, discuss issues and co-ordinating buying power with the larger wholesalers.In terms of my tenure as President, our industry couldn’t be more different to those earlier days and we do face a major challenge to alter our businesses quickly to adapt to those challenges, but we must be positive and look at what we do best, building a customer experience that can’t happen online, and reminding people we are trustworthy family businesses that are the heart of all Irish communities
What challenges are facing the Retail Jewellery trade at the moment?
There are many unfortunately, we have Brexit & all that might bring, European legislation that must be complied with, online trading, a severe shortage of footfall on streets, social media and the fact that every customer now is a buyer and a seller without the associated costs of doing business, I think we face major challenges to stay relevant as an industry.
How can the Association of Fine Jewellers help with these issues?
It is more important than ever to be part of the Association of Fine Jewellers, as for the first time ever we will have a voice at the top table of government through our involvement/association with Retail Excellence Ireland. Retail employs 280,000 people in Ireland so it should be taken more seriously, soon there will be a Retail Senator appointed in the Seanad & we have a member sitting on an All party, retail specific, Joint Oireachtas Committee so being a member ensures your issues become the Associations issues, become government issues & something gets done.
-What are the benefits of being a member of the Association of Fine Jewellers?
The benefits of being a member of the Association are many including
An industry leading education programme in Step 1 which allows store staff to progress their knowledge in all things associated with our industry. Further-more their certificate gives them direct access to the JET 2 Education programme rather than having to complete JET 1 first.
Access to Member-led educational courses in other areas of our industry such as watch & jewellery repairs, pearl re-stringing, diamond courses etc.
Newly branded in-store Promotional Material that tells the consumer you are a member of the recognised professional body of jewellers in Ireland and leverages all the positives around the Associations brand for your business giving you a point of professional difference from the likes of a pharmacy who is selling earrings!
It provides networking opportunities with other professionals in the industry where members meet at our Gala Ball, our annual AGM and our annual trade show in CityWest every August which is entering its 3rd successful Year.
It provides marketing opportunities through our new website which will soon have a members area where we can communicate directly with each-other, download specific aids to help with new legislation, buy from the association etc
A newsletter keeping members up to speed with all that is topical in our sector
Be involved with the Associations PR & Sponsorship opportunities, such as our association with Breast Cancer Research.
Exclusive member deals with energy, merchant service and communication suppliers including customer insurance options through TH March, credit finance options etc
10% off all NAJ Courses
Dual membership of Retail Excellence Ireland whose benefits are a multiple of the above
We are delighted to welcome Fionagh as president and we would like to wish her every success in her presidency.