About Benchpeg

A little bit about our history...

Just over a decade ago, the UK jewellery industry was lacking accessible information. Organisations in the trade were keeping themselves to themselves, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with the latest developments.   

In 2006 we founded Benchpeg, and launched the first digital newsletter for the jewellery industry and allied trades aimed at promoting information from across the trade and bridging the gap of information out there and accessibility to it.

Today we support the jeweller by assisting with recruitment needs, sharing the latest news stories and promoting business opportunities. Our website and newsletter has a national focus but owns an international audience spanning all levels of the trade, from CEOs and creative directors, production managers and bench workers, to designers, wax carvers and retailers.

The formative years: our raison d'être

Since our inception in 1996, and because we have always passionately believed in the power of information and the ability to access knowledge having a transformative effect on lives, we worked on and developed benchpeg entirely voluntarily, supporting the service we delivered with our own salaries, until only four years ago.

We've had many ups and downs along the independent 10 year path that we've chosen to journey along, and on many occasions questioned the very reason why we have continued with our Benchpeg work. Every single time this question has arisen, someone had contacted us with a little story about how we have directly affected their lives for the better, and these little stories spurred us on.

Us at work and some of our friends 

A philanthropic approach

Throughout our history, we have given our time freely by providing assistance and advice to those who have sought it, and have worked tirelessly to produce a weekly newsletter packed with news and opportunities to grow and strengthen businesses. 

We have also sponsored opportunities, prizes and have developed our own competition which is aimed at providing an opportunity to accelerate the trajectory of the winner’s careers and give them a helping leg up on the first rung of the career ladder.

This work could not have been done without the generosity and commitment of our regular advertisers, who have unwittingly supported our philanthropic work.

Some visitors to our 2010 stand at International Jewellery London

Who we’ve worked with

Since our foundation we’ve worked with most industry organisations and bodies, including notably The Goldsmiths’ Company, the Crafts Council, London Jewellery Week and the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council. We’ve been media partners to several events and organisations, including International Jewellery London, New Designers, the Design Museum and Silver Speaks.

The Benchpeg team 

Changing lives

We believe information should be accessible to those who need it. Knowing the right thing at the right time can be crucial to success, and can even transform lives:

‘In Benchpeg’s first year, a blacksmith emailed me saying his business was floundering. He was struggling to pay his mortgage and support his family. His self-esteem was at an all time low. I said I‘d look out for opportunities for him, and told him he could find these himself in our newsletter.

‘Six months later, he emailed me again saying he’d won several public art commissions and was on the shortlist for another. His business was back on track, he could pay his mortgage and support his family again. He thanked Benchpeg for changing his fate. Whenever I have any doubts about the worth of what we do , I remember we can help change lives for the better.’

- Rebecca van Rooijen, Benchpeg Co-Founder

and that is why we do what we do.

Meet the team

This is us. We are the team that bring the website, newsletter and social media feeds to our lovely readers, subscribers and followers.

Rebecca van Rooijen

Co-founder | Editor

Rebecca is the creator of Benchpeg, she has 20 years of experience in the industry (she started young!), her vision was to create a resource where the jewellery industry could share and access information. Along with being Editor-in-Cheif of Benchpeg, Rebecca is a Committee Member for the Communications and Marketing Committee at The Goldsmiths’ Company, she sits on the Selection Committee for the Goldsmiths' Directory, is a business mentor for the Crafts Council, and was elected a Committee Member of the Goldsmiths' Craft and Design Council (retired). She has acted as an ambassador for many industry events. Rebecca has over 20 years expereince in the Creative Industries, specifically the Jewellery Industry in the private, public and third sectors. In 2013 she was awarded the Freedom of the Goldsmiths' Company and is a Freeman of the City of London. 
Read more here...

Elizabeth Powell

Social Media Editor

Elizabeth's widespread knowledge of the jewellery trade makes her invaluable in managing Benchpeg's social media channels. In charge of Benchpeg's social media strategy, she finds, curates and publishes all of the feeds we broadcast throughout the day. That's why our tweets and Facebook posts come with nuggets of resourceful content. When Elizabeth isn't working for Benchpeg, she designs and creates her own jewellery collections.

Clare Sellar

Advertising Manager & Creative Editor

Clare is a media professional with a vast array of experience in publishing, editorial, blogging, social media, digital marketing, online advertising, media sales and account management. As a digital media specialist, she brings experience of the digital publishing arena to the Benchpeg team, having worked latterly at the fully digitised Auto Trader, building its strong digital presence, and before this at Wedding magazine and also at Listed. With a background in fashion, trend forecasting and design, Clare has joined the Benchpeg team to manage advertising and sales strategy, Instagram strategy and content management. A creative at heart, Clare has blogged for Time Out magazine, and has an educational background in writing, fashion and culture.

Kate Laven

Features Editor

Kate is a journalist with over 20 years’ extensive experience and has written for an expansive range of titles including the Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, the BBC and the Daily Express as well as being a contributing writer for The Times, The Sunday Times and the Guardian. Kate brings her background in corporate communications, PR, marketing, blogging and media consultancy to Benchpeg and has joined the team as Features Editor with sole responsibility for editing the news section of the website. Kate maintains her specialist knowledge of sports - specifically Sailing and Cricket, however she does have a love for jewellery and has dabbled in making the odd piece in silver.

Sarah Salmon

Trends Editor

Sarah has a natural flair for creativity and design, and is our trends and blog guru. She manages Benchpeg's weekly trends and fashion content. Her full time job is as the Editorial and Digital Assistant at Gem-A, where she works on Gem-A's Gems & Jewellery and The Journal of Gemmology publications as well as on their social media activity. Her passion for writing doesn't end here. Sarah runs a blog, Little Elysian, where she writes about food, fashion and lifestyle.

Howard van Rooijen

Co-founder

Howard has been at Benchpeg since the beginning. With an exceptional understanding of business and technology, he has provided us with practical, financial and moral support for over a decade. We couldn't have achieved half of the things we've done without his stalwart presence.  When he's not involved in Benchpeg stuff Howard can be found at endjin, his Microsoft Gold Partner status technology company which holds the #1 Microsoft Azure Partner status in EMEA. He gives his time as a Microsoft Accelerator London Mentor and has been recognised as a Microsoft Azure Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in 2016 and 2017.

If you'd like to 'say hello' please email us here