Jewelers of America and the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America are forming a for-profit corporation called JA/MJSA Net. Inc. that will create and maintain an industry portal site on the Web complete with e-commerce capabilities that will function by Oct. 1, 2000. JA and MJSA made the announcement at the JCK Show in Las Vegas.
Business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions will be supported by Brand Matrix Ltd., Golden, CO, a newly formed division of the Polygon Group. Brand Matrix will handle technical support and software needs for the new online venture.
Funding for JA/MJSA Net will come from within the industry, rather than outside venture capital.
"Our purpose is not to compete with existing ventures, but to bring the industry together to work inclusively," says acting CEO Bev Hori, also JA's vice president of professional development. All jewelry retailers and suppliers will be invited to participate in the online project, not just members of the groups creating the site. Fees for participation are not yet set, but organizers say fees will be structured to allow even small retailers or manufacturers to take part.
The JA/MJSA site's scheduled early October launch should allow retailers and manufacturers to take advantage of holiday business. All business-to-consumer transactions will include the participation of the buyer's local retailer, to protect the retailer's link in the supply chain. One of the new venture's goals is to minimize buying-channel conflict within sectors of the industry.
- by Peggy Jo Donahue