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.
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.
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.
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.