Kickstart 2018 - Now open for applications for six of the best

12 February 2018

This year’s successful six will receive expert mentoring, business advice, access to buyers, a dedicated bursary and industry-wide publicity. 

Emerging UK up-and-coming jewellery designers with their sights set on success are invited to battle it out for one of just six places in this year’s KickStart initiative – organised by International Jewellery London (IJL), the must-attend annual destination for the jewellery industry, taking place at Olympia London from September 2-4, 2018. 

This long-running mentoring, advice and exhibition platform is a key link in the IJL Journey – a unique industry path that guides design talent from final year student to successful consumer-facing brands.

In a change for 2018, KickStart will accept just six applicants from UK-based designers. The chosen designers will have access to the many career-boosting benefits, including a mentoring package, workshop days, ongoing pricing, branding and marketing support, introductions to key industry figures - and the opportunity to win a free stand at IJL 2019 in the special ‘Industry’s Choice’ award.

In addition, to provide extra support, each UK-based winner will receive a bursary funded directly by the Benevolent Society, to assist with London transport and accommodation costs.

All of which will help ensure that each KickStarter has the opportunity to excel on their IJL Journey and maximise their experience at the show, where they will have access to IJL’s 9,000-strong jewellery audience of key buyers, leading influencers, international brands and consultants.

IJL Event Manager, Sarah Kitley-Spencer, comments: “If you’ve worked hard to establish your brand, now’s the time to start your IJL Journey. KickStart nurtures ambition, determination and talent, giving up-and-coming designers the chance to get their collections seen. Now in its ninth year, KickStart is entirely unique, with an unrivalled package of support, as well as the opportunity exhibit at IJL 2018. We balance practical advice with design inspiration, so that you can become a better jewellery entrepreneur in today’s digital world.”

NAJ Jewellery Industry Promotions Ambassador, Lindsey Straughton, says: “Those chosen for KickStart are immediately highlighted as the ‘stars of tomorrow’, which creates an important media and brand awareness opportunity. Retailers will look to you as trend-setters and future collaborators, so you can’t afford to miss out!”

Previous 2017 KickStart winner, Farrah Al-Dujaili from Oddical, adds: "KickStart gave me the perfect platform to launch new additions to my collection and get in touch with stockists that I wanted to work with; it gave me more confidence sending those initial emails. It helped me secure multiple stockists and created great PR for Oddical.”

The IJL Journey begins with the final year student and graduate-focused Bright Young Gems initiative. Alumni of this scheme and emerging designer brands can then apply for KickStart: a programme dedicated to new brands looking to make waves in the trade.

Following these schemes, more established designer brands can apply to become an IJL Design Gallery Exhibitor – a sign that their fledgling business has achieved industry success and consumer recognition.

KickStart, created by jewellery industry hub IJL and trade body the National Association of Jewellers (NAJ),  has over the past nine years, helped more than 80 contemporary designers launch their careers and get an all-important foot in the door.  KickStart alumni have gone on to have impressive careers in the jewellery sector. 

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