A chat with Gary Wroe05 Dec 2017
1. What is the most meaningful piece of jewellery you own / have made / commissioned and why?
The only item of jewellery I wear is my wedding ring, which was specially made at Hockley Mint – it is a platinum band and on the underside has a row of diamonds. It is discreet in design but certainly showcases the manufacturing capabilities of the company. I do wear an Omega watch, which comes with me everywhere. When I graduated with my MBA my late mother bought me an engraved gold pocket watch, which I will treasure forever.
2. How are you inspired?
I believe in people and encouraging them to achieve their potential – even if it’s not in the jewellery industry! If someone has a talent or desire to try something new and that they will give 100% too, then I get a real sense of satisfaction that my job is done. Most people will work hard and want to do their best and for me it’s that effort and going the extra mile that inspires me.
3. What has been the defining moment of your career?
There have been a few defining moments in my career, the first has to be becoming Managing Director of Hockley Mint. But in getting there it has taken an immense amount of hard work and commitment, I went back to University for 7 years in my 30’s to study for my MBA – this helped me understand the role I was taking up. When I was younger I was given a chance to prove myself when I became Production Manager, being promoted from the shop-floor. So it is difficult to choose one point but lots of moments that have enabled me to gain the confidence and experience to do the role I am currently in.
4. What has influenced you the most?
The person who has influenced me most is Ian Merrell, he is the joint owner of Hockley Mint and has always supported and guided me through my career. When I was promoted to Production Manager, Ian asked me where I saw myself in 5 years’ time to which I replied in your job! Well that happened and I have a great relationship with both owners of the company.
5. What is the most enjoyable part of your work?
I have done a variety of roles throughout the casting process, mould cutting, waxing, spruing, casting, cleaning out investment traps, all of which gave me a valuable insight into how jewellery is manufactured. After being promoted from the shop floor to production manager role I soon learnt it came with a new set of challenges and responsibilities. The great thing is understanding what is happening on the shop floor and helping to improve processes and communication. My favourite job is my current role and being able to guide the company and develop the staff.
6. Where do your magical moments come from?
Magical moments come from everywhere, family life, work life and the amazing people I know. At work it can be the magic moment when a staff member delivers on a project that they are clearly proud of, or who have overcome a particularly difficult challenge. That gives me the satisfaction that I was there or part of sharing their success. I would like everyone to aspire to what their dreams are and seeing them achieve is truly inspirational. Sometimes walking the dog across the fields can achieve those special moments – it may be the sunset or even the thoughts that are going through your head at that time that create those magic moments.
7. What excites you most about the future of the industry?
I love this industry and the relationships I have within it. I believe in UK manufactured jewellery and will keep on shouting about this to ensure we can reverse the trend of imported goods that equate to 95% of all the jewellery sold in the UK. This excites me along with the next generation of apprentices that will gain the skills needed to drive the business forward. The message does need to be loud and clear that if we do not support our UK manufactured suppliers then we will lose them.