Business’ future looks sound

A SON studying economics and a daughter heavily involved in design leaves Alan Linney with a wealth of talent that has the potential to continue his successful 30-year-old jewellery business.

His business is one that he has grown to be one of WA’s most recognised brands, growing from a little known shop in London Court to its soon to be expanded premises in Subiaco.

Mr Linney’s father and brother both work in the business and all things going to plan the business will be operated by a new generation of Linney talent.

The success of Linney’s is one that began out of unsuccessful grades achieved by school boy Alan Linney.

His father, who is a watchmaker by trade, organised an apprenticeship for him at a local jeweller’s shop.

Mr Linney fell in love with the craft and while his father enjoys the mechanics and clockwork operation of watchmaking Mr Linney prefers the endless boundaries of the jewellery craft.

After completing his six-year apprenticeship Mr Linney decided to set up his own shop and focus on producing jewellery that was free form and very different from the market trend.

“Back in those days jewellery was very traditional. There was the traditional diamond ring and they all looked the same. It was very mechanical and that part of it stayed that way from very early on,” he said.

“I got into form style but that was frowned upon by the industry. They said I would never sell what I was designing. It took them about eight years to come around and then they started selling it.”

It was many years later, after a meeting with biologist Bill Read in 1978, that the Linney’s name soon became well known in Broome and Broome pearls became well known in Perth.

Mr Read was interested in getting a designer to work on the pearls he harvested.

“There were not too many pearls sold in Australia. Most of them were sold to Japan. Bill wanted someone that could value-add the pearls so he could sell them in Australia,” Mr Linney said.

“That was the next leap when I joined him [Bill}. He was 25 years older than me and had a lot of business experience.”

While Mr Linney is in no hurry to give up his craft or his business he is comforted by the fact that his children are working in areas that could lead them into the Linney’s business operations.

“My son is working but he has a job here and my daughter is in Sydney doing fashion design. We were going to put her collection on display here but we’ve put that on the back burner,” he said.

However, even a family man can not deny simple business principles.

Although his son is in the midst of getting through university his hours have been cut back to tailor to business needs.

p  Third and fourth generation family businesses are particularly invited to nominate for this year’s Family Business Awards.

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