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From bench to business: How to thrive in a world of change

Antonio Serafino (left) and Annegret Morf (right).

By Kate Hubley

Once upon a time, the notion that if you built it, they would come rang true. It was possible to hang a shingle on Main Street and be the jeweller in town. Times, however, have changed.

It’s a whole new world

Over the past few years, the industry has shifted as a result of the changing economy. This  completely altered the way business is done. For many professional jewellers, change seems to have crept up stealthily, and they were blindsided.

Perhaps, they’d become accustomed to the ebb and flow of business and assumed ‘things would pick up again,’ as it always had in the past.

Whenever I bump into an industry acquaintance, the conversation inevitably starts with: “So, how’s business?” More nostalgic jewellers who long for the golden age of bench work might answer: “It’s slow. It’s not what it used to be.” However, there is a whole other cluster of jewellers, whether they be millennials, generation X, or somewhere in between, who always talk about a cool new project, a collection, or an opportunity with passion in their voice.

These answers are very telling as to whether they are shape-shifting in response to the changes in the industry and economy.

So how do you adapt to changing times? More specifically, how do you embrace the changes and create a business that will thrive in this new reality?

Certainly, things will pick up again if we can harness the powers and expectations of the new world order.

Welcome to Serafino Contemporary Jewellery

There have been times when I’ve needed a helping hand. Over the years, I learned to turn to master jewellers who share their problem-solving expertise, skills, and experience to help me find clever ways to streamline my production, reduce my overall cost of goods, and take my designs to the next level.

This willingness to share is the very foundation of Serafino Contemporary Jewellery, a Montreal-based contemporary fine art jewellery studio owned by the husband-and-wife duo of Annegret Morf and Antonio Serafino, a highly regarded Italian master jeweller.

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Renowned for their sophisticated and expressive fine jewellery designs, Morf and Serafino took a step back in late 2016 to see how they could grow their business and strike a work-life balance that would continue to fan the flames of their creativity over the long term.

They emerged from their brainstorm with an inspiring and somewhat unconventional business model and philosophy: in addition to creating fine jewellery for customers, they would be a collaborative community-focused service provider for fellow bench jewellers and designers, specializing in both traditional and new-technology techniques.

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