By The Australian Financial Review EditorAUSTRALIA’S first jewellery company, jewel weed, is going bust.
The company was founded in 2005 by a group of high-end jewellering professionals in Melbourne.
“We started off with no money,” said the founder, Ms Elaine Gurney.
Jewel weed started out as a hobby of Ms Gurneys father, the Australian artist and designer, and her husband, Mr Alan.
He had been a jeweller for nearly 30 years.
The couple had an interest in the jewellery business and knew the potential in it, but were not sure if it would be a career choice.
In 2006, the couple moved to Perth from Sydney and started selling jewellery to jewellery chains in the Perth CBD.
They knew that there was a demand for high-quality jewellery in Australia, and were impressed with what they saw.
Ms Gurnes jewellery expertise was so strong that she began working with the Melbourne-based boutique Jewelweed.
This is how she described Jewelweed to the Financial Review.
“We had some really talented people who were going to help us grow the business.”
In the first year, the company had a revenue of $1.5 million, and was expanding rapidly.
It had become a well-respected name in Australia for quality jewellery and was a gold mine for the couple, Ms Gowey said.
“People wanted to work for us and we were always happy to have people come to our store,” she said.
The company was sold to a rival, jeweler, for $3.5m in January 2019, and Mr Gurnell is no longer a director.
While he is no more in the business, Ms Gilles legacy is still alive.
On Saturday, the Victorian state government announced it was selling Jewelweed’s assets to the highest bidder, a private equity fund.
With Ms Grainys legacy, Jewelweed will go into receivership.
“She’s a great ambassador for jewellery, for the state of Victoria and for the country,” said Ms Gillen.
She said Jewelweed is going into receiverships because of the “disastrous” market environment, and because of its “over-reliance on private equity”.
“I am not optimistic that this company is going to be able to withstand the next few years,” she told the Financial Report.
“I have seen the industry evolve and I think we are going to see a lot more consolidation in the industry.”
What to know about:The state government is also selling Jewel weed’s assets.
Mr Gurnee is a director of Jewelweed but is no long a director.(Supplied: Jewelweed)Ms Gillen said Jewel weed had been growing in the past five years and was now valued at about $10 million.
“It was a business that was very successful in the early years and has grown exponentially,” she added.
“But we are also seeing a lot of consolidation.”
The industry is very competitive, and it’s a business where the growth is very much dependent on private companies buying into the market.
“She said the state government was selling the company’s assets at the right price.”
Our priority is to get it back into the hands of the Victorian people who deserve it and we will do all we can to make sure that happens,” she says.
Ms Gillie has already sold Jewel weed to a private investment group and is now working on the future of the company.
She said there were some exciting plans for Jewelweed, but declined to give details.
(Supplied)In a statement, Jewel weed said it would continue to provide the services it had provided to jewellery chains in Victoria.”
While Jewelweed was founded by highly skilled professionals, its main aim has always been to create a high-level jewellery design service,” it said.
Read more about jewellery:Topics:business-economics-and-finance,industry,finance-and/or-fraud,australia,melbourne-3000,perth-6000,vic