12 ATTIRE BRITISH INDEPENDENT RETAILERS ASSOCIATION’S NATIONAL CONFERENCE AND AWARDS FOCUSES ON THE FUTURE BRANDS COLLECTIVE OFFERS INNOVATIVE TRADE SHOW ALTERNATIVE Brands Collective is a new consortium of trusted British brands showcasing their products independently from the main trade show circuit at a series of events around the country. Formed to give you a more relaxed buying experience with a selection of quality reliable brands hand selected by a panel of experts, Brands Collective will initially comprise of Helen Moore, Owen Barry, Glen Prince, Azuni, Samantha Holmes, and Chaniib Shoes, offering beautiful and ethically produced ranges for forward order and immediate delivery. According to Jane Vigurs, Executive Manager, Helen Moore, a member of Brand’s Collective, “We are offering a new way for buyers to meet us, along with a few other hand-picked brands, which share our values and also manufacture in the UK. We will be travelling together around the country, showing in venues within the various regions. “Buyers will get the opportunity to purchase in a much more relaxed fashion, while they enjoy our hospitality and get introduced to other brands they’ll be able to trust.” Visit brandscollective.co.uk for more information. The British Independent Retailers Association’s (bira) National Conference and Awards will focus on the future for independent retail and how to safeguard for imminent change in the industry. Held at the Jury’s Inn in Hinckley Island, Leicestershire on 10 th May, 2018, this year’s conference will be headlined by Levi Roots, who took his brand to unimaginable heights after appearing on Dragon’s Den in 2006. Sharing his recipe for business success, Levi will kick off the conference line-up of engaging and inspirational speakers, who will focus on the future of retail. Surinder Josan, from All Season’s DIY in Smethwick, who will become bira’s National President for 2018-2019 at the conference, says: “Our line-up of speakers this year will focus on what the future has in store for independent retail and the steps we can take to prepare for this, as well as the opportunities available to us at this time of real change. It is time for retailers to embrace these changes, we can no longer stand still. “With the aim of inspiring you, it will give you some great ideas to implement back in your business and give you the opportunity to meet and share ideas with other independent retailers in exactly the same boat as you.” The conference will bring back the popular Breakout Sessions of Grow, Innovate and Challenge from the 2017 programme. There will also be a host of inspiring sessions that attendees can pick and choose from. The day will be rounded off by the annual bira Awards, which recognise and reward the best in the independent retail industry, showcasing the talent, hard work, innovation and achievements of bira members and suppliers. Entries to these awards are now open. To book your ticket or to enter the bira Awards visit bira.co.uk/ conference-2018 or request a booking form by emailing events@ bira.co.uk Joanna Hardy launches first online foundation course in jewellery Jewellery expert Joanna Hardy has launched the first online foundation course in jewellery,The Joanna Hardy Fine Jewellery Foundation Course, offering insights and interviews with leading London workshops and designers. Award-winning online training provider, Learning with Experts, will offer students the opportunity to benefit directly from Joanna’s extensive knowledge, drawn from over 30 years’ experience in the jewellery industry from valuing rough diamonds for De Beers, being a polished diamond dealer in Antwerp to working in Philips Auctioneers and Sotheby’s.The course features in-depth interviews with top designers such as Shaun Leane, known for his work with Alexander McQueen, as well as revealing the inner workings of Wartski, Bentley & Skinner, Yoko London, Monnickendam Diamonds, Gemfields and many more. Tutor Joanna, a regular jewellery specialist on the BBC Antiques Roadshow, said, “My intention is to create a world class online school, where enthusiastic amateurs or professionals can be introduced to the world of jewellery.This is my first foundation course. I’m expecting people ranging from interested hobbyists, career changers and professionals wanting to improve their knowledge – right through to members of the boutique high end jewellery trade.” The course comprises of eight tutorials, lifetime access to course content, a flexible study programme, optional assignments and online support from the Learningwithexperts.com community, and is priced at £1,358. Students who do not require critiqued assignments can purchase the course for a reduced price of £158. Visit learningwithexperts.com for more information.