The annual Houlden Group’s  ‘Summer Getaway’ proved once again to be a unanimous success, providing both key commercial insights to help members strengthen their businesses within an increasingly challenging retail environment, and unique networking opportunities. One of the highlights of the meeting was the launch of the new Jewellers of Excellence Training Academy – representing the biggest development in industry training in the Group’s history. This innovative ‘Houlden Advantage” received overwhelming praise from the membership.

Designed to build on the success of this year’s earlier London event, the ‘Summer Getaway’ was condensed into two full days, with a half day Members Morning and the remaining time dedicated to a special Suppliers exhibition. A fresh approach that was viewed by members as “injecting motivation and inspiration into the group.”

Helen Haddow, CEO of the Houlden Group, comments: “We aim to provide our members with the “Houlden Advantage”, which encapsulates the membership’s wealth of experience and how we can make a difference to their business.  The retail landscape is moving at an accelerating pace and it is vital that Members continue to expand their horizons and make incremental changes to their businesses to keep up with the “New Norm”.  overall, this has been an event which clearly demonstrated the passion Houlden, its members, suppliers and associated experts, have for our Industry!”

With a collective experience of 3380 years in the industry, attendees were encouraged to use and share this experience. At the Members Morning, Houlden briefed attendees on the enhanced business and marketing services now available to them, as well as detailing the array of cutting-edge exhibitors being brought together at the event.

As part of the increasing breadth of expertise offered by the Group, thought provoking guest speakers, provided members with exclusive strategies in a digitally connected world to commercially succeed. This was further strengthened in the break-out discussion groups themed to ‘How to futureproof your business’.

The event was rounded off with a final, formal farewell to the Group’s inspirational founder, Stuart Laing, at the aptly golf themed ‘Houlden Masters Party’.  Speeches praising Stuart as one of the most highly regarded entrepreneurs in the industry, were given by Helen Haddow and one of the founding Directors, Peter Lunn from Lunns Jewellers, followed by reminiscences and goodbyes from Stuart himself.

The event concluded with dinner and dancing – and a few rounds of mini golf!

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