The team at Pursuit Software recently hit the road to travel to Birmingham for the Jewellery and Watch Show, taking place at the NEC. We were among 200 exhibitors and many hundreds of visitors who enjoyed the five-day show in the world famous exhibition centre. And, we were also on hand to hear a radical and surprising message from one of the UK’s best known business leaders. The Jewellery and Watch Show provides an unbeatable opportunity to network and converse with a range of people from within the industry. Attending the show were retailers from all types of stores – independents, multiples and online retailers – making this a perfect place for the exhibitors to meet existing and prospective clients. As the show’s own website says: ‘Jewellery and Watch is a showcase for classic and contemporary design and craftsmanship and is perfectly positioned and timed to provide inspiration, innovation and insight. The show is an opportunity for visitors to see, assess and appreciate the quality of pieces, meet with exhibitors and members of the jewellery community face-to-face.’ Throughout the five-day show, there were also a plethora of seminars on a host of topics. Providing customers with a new type of experience, inspiring loyalty among your customer base, tapping into the marketing potential of social media, getting your product in the press, the future for independents, how to be more sustainable – the list of topical subjects under discussion was vast and impressive. And among all the hard-nosed business advice, there was also an inspiring talk from Mary Portas, ‘Queen of Shops’ on why ‘the future of business is rooted in kindness’. Portas’s message centered around why retailers must adopt a kinder way of operating. According to the business leader, ‘we are entering a new era, where people as shoppers, as workers and as friends, want meaningful connections and shared values.’ Portas herself has been through many reinventions. Her path up the career ladder escalated when she became Creative Director at Harvey Nichols, where she was credited with turning the store into a leading fashion brand. A series of TV appearances, including as the eponymous Mary, Queen of Shops, catapulted her into celebrity status. Under David Cameron’s government she was charged with reviving the High Street – possibly her biggest career challenge. She now runs her own creative agency and is the go-to when it comes to retails expertise. Visitors and exhibitors heard Portas introduce the concept of the kindness economy. ‘This is the kindness economy, an economy built on the stuff we care about, where kindness is the new economic and social capital’. At Pursuit Software we share Mary’s hopes of a new, kind approach to retail. The past few years have been tough for people in the retail sector. Though our Lifestyle products we hope to promote a greater level of connection between customers and staff – in our own way we are doing our bit for the kindness economy.