Achieving Trade Show Nirvana

Trade fairs provide a powerful marketing medium. They bring together thousands of international buyers and sellers in one place in a short span of time. Trade shows like JCK Las Vegas enable retailers to see new products, attend demonstrations, ask questions and share ideas. The show provides jewelers with a comprehensive overview of the fine jewelry market and industry. By taking advantage of the benefits this trade show has to offer, jewelers can increase their business. Here are some things to think about to help you achieve trade show nirvana at JCK Las Vegas.

Create Your Own Trade Show Toolbox

Branding consultant Andrea Hansen for LUXE Intelligence, headquartered in New York, has one that goes with her to every trade fair and conference around the world. In it she keeps stationary products and supplies; extra power cords and chargers; jewelry repair kit and cleaning products; acetone/crazy glue/mounting tape; safety/straight pins and sewing kit; lint roller, Band-Aids, and painkillers. And, don’t forget your business cards, and lots of them!

Dress For Comfort

“Whether you’re a retailer walking the show or an exhibitor standing all day Vegas is a monster! Flat shoes are a must,” impresses Allison Peck for Color Merchants, New York. Hansen concurs, noting that she stopped “the vanity project” and no longer bothers with high heels. “I might take one pair along with a black tie outfit for a fancy event, but most of the time I dress to be comfortable.” Shoes are fun, but not at the expense of swollen, achy legs and feet.

Stay Hydrated & Healthy

You are in the desert, walking and standing for hours, in the heat and buildings pumped with dry air. “It’s a brutal environment on your body and if you don’t stay hydrated you won’t be on top of your game,” warns marketing consultant Andrea Hill of the Chicago-based Hill Management Group. She suggests wearing a Fitbit to not only track your steps but also to remind yourself to drink water. “People don’t realize that they can’t accomplish what they set out to do because they’re dehydrated. They’re not drinking enough water and they can’t think straight.” Retail marketing consultant Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts, Montgomery Village, Maryland, suggests jewelers buy at a convenience store a case of water to keep in their hotel room and carry a bottle or two around, refill as needed. In fact, Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio, advises visitors to The Plumb Club pavilion take advantage a complimentary refillable water bottle.

Pack some snacks, too for between meals and pick-me-ups, says Allison Peck for Color Merchants, New York, who keeps Starbursts and pretzels in her tote. Hansen is a fan of protein bars: “I never have time to eat during the show, and I never want to eat and then have to run into a meeting. Having a stash of good energy food saves my life every time.”

Be The Early Bird

They say the early bird gets the worm, and Hansen agrees that getting to the show a day early provides peace of mind and a restful night sleep before the madness starts. Moreover, rising early gives you the chance to take in an incredible sunrise and experience the calm and quiet side of Vegas, not to mention short lines at Starbucks. On that note, Peterson suggests coffee drinkers who prefer to have their cup of joe in their rooms hit a discount store when they arrive and buy an inexpensive coffee pot and supplies to make their own. “You may spend $25 up front, but will save a lot more by the end of the week and have your morning coffee without getting dressed to schlep down to the lobby Starbucks!”

Find Teachable Moments

Undoubtedly there’s a jam-packed seminar schedule at JCK, including The Plumb Club’s annual breakfast symposium, June 2 in the South Seas Ballroom, 7:30-9:00 a.m., sponsored by the Diamond Producers Association and headlining The Retail Prophet Doug Stephens.

But Peterson reminds jewelers not to overlook other educational opportunities, particularly engaging exhibitors about products, issues technology, and the market. She advocates jewelers take the time to visit jewelry supply and service providers. “In addition to being a treasure trove for a product, it’s the best place to talk with experts for all things functional and operational.

Hill encourages jewelers to ask vendors to show them their latest and greatest, which every vendor should have at the ready, and see how they present the hot new thing. She encourages jewelers to come to JCK with curiosity.

Stay Focused

While Hill says she is digitally adept, she prints out her to-do list and carries it with her. It keeps her on task to see what she has checked off and what’s left to do. To navigate the show she says she divides and conquers by section, like visiting The Plumb Club pavilion for an afternoon.

Hill encourages jewelers to make the most of their trade show experience before, during and after—especially via different social media posts. Bring your clients on your quest. Ask for their feedback. Show them what it’s like at a trade show, how something is made, who’s wearing what, and the new treasures you’ve found.

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