JCK Back in June, Celebrating 30 Years in Las Vegas

After cancelling the show in 2020 due to COVID and postponing the 2021 event to late August, JCK is back on track in 2022, scheduled June 10-13, at The Venetian Expo in Las Vegas.

With the 2022 holiday season likely to be the first “normal” holiday since 2019, exhibitors anticipate a bustling atmosphere for this leading North American trade show’s 30th anniversary.

A major anchor and supporter of JCK Las Vegas since its inception, The Plumb Club (TPC) is one of the show’s premier pavilions, and the ideal place for jewelers to initiate their trade show strategy.

Show Within a Show
While the Venetian Expo spans 2.25 million square feet, The Plumb Club, a true microcosm of the jewelry market, is the best place for jewelers to scout the lay of the land for on-trend bestsellers.

This unique coalition of nearly 50 companies delivering over 100 brands spans all facets of the jewelry, diamond, gem, pearl and watch industries, representing a large percentage of the U.S. fine jewelry market.

The organization, which started in 1983 as a social club, has grown to not only become a successful pavilion of exhibitors, but also a strong supplier organization that actively connects its members and their customers with the aim to positively impact and responsibly shape the future of the jewelry industry.

In fact, since 2019, TPC requires its members to join the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC), which Theresa Namie, merchandise manager for the manufacturer Ostbye, says brings an even greater level of trust that member companies are meeting those expectations for their retailers.

While jewelers enjoy the pavilion’s plush carpeting, networking café with complimentary beverages and frozen yogurt to recharge, and free business center amenities, visitors will come to see at this year’s show how the group has truly become The Jewelers Resource Center.

Visitors to TPC Pavilion will get to experience firsthand the resources the organization is providing its members, their customers, and the industry at large. Working from blueprints created in 2018, the organization prioritized in its growth plan, due to COVID, the development of its 24/7 virtual sales platform where members interact and conduct business with their customers.

Over the past two years, The Plumb Club has been developing a variety of learning tools and channels to share information, including podcasts and webinars on timely topics. The purpose of The Jewelers Resource Center, the final phase of the immersive TPC-365 sales platform, is to supply the industry with accessible educational materials in video, audio, and written formats from experts in their field.

“The culmination of TPC’s efforts has been to create a resource center for the industry that will continue to grow,” describes TPC Executive Director Lawrence Hess. “We are building this hub, this resource center to help retail jewelers on the front lines on a variety of topics.”

Expectations for Business
With COVID feeling like it is at a manageable place, Michael Holland, marketing manager for The Kingswood Company predicts a good turnout at this year’s JCK. “We feel this year’s show is going to be one of our best in recent memory. We’re excited to get back out to the show, and interact with all of our peers, as well as the retailers that attend the show. It’s always an exciting time to be able to interact and catch up.”

Kathy Grenier, vice president of business development for Imperial Pearl concurs: “We had a good show last year and expect an even better one in 2022.” She anticipates that retailers who have not been to the show in a while will be going this year, and that those making the effort to be there will be buying.

Namie is excited to see customers from across the country at the show, which helps her to stay in touch with what’s happening in the business. “I’m excited that many stores will get to see new product, even product from the last two years that they may not have seen yet.”

Ray and Fran Mastoloni, for the pearl house Mastoloni, who expect a busy show this year, encourage jewelers to make appointments with those from whom they know they want to buy. “This will guarantee you the time and focused attention you deserve.”

As jewelers strategize, consider what the next steps are for your brand, and what you need to reach the next level, says Holland. “The last few years have shown us some areas that we can focus on to move our businesses forward. Take advantage of those opportunities when they present themselves.”

While shopping the show, Grenier advocates that if you find something you love and want, make a commitment. “Your suppliers need to know what you want, and we need to know ahead of time. Given the supply chain challenges, the sooner jewelers can place their orders the better.”

Namie underscores that it’s about partnering for success with your vendors. “We continue to look for ways to collaborate with our stores to be successful in all aspects of the jewelry industry. We are glad to talk through the concerns the last couple of years have raised and find solutions together.”

Products to Watch
The wedding category is expected to receive a major boost, as a record number of U.S. couples, more than 2.5 million, are looking to tie the knot this year. This comes after a two-year lull when 1.3 married in 2020 and 1.9 million in 2021.

Ostbye, through its market research and customer feedback, expects classic bridal will be even more important this year. “Demand is most prominent for statement engagement rings that fit larger center diamonds,” says Namie.

Sagar Manilal, sales manager for Indigo Jewelry finds fancy shape diamonds capturing a larger portion of the diamond market, as a more affordable alternative to round brilliant and a great way to re-imagine classic styles, especially popular in trending two-stone diamond engagement rings.

While about 83% of brides prefer a natural diamond center for their engagement ring, according to The Knot, lab-grown diamonds continue to appeal to an increasing number of couples who like the sustainable message and even more like getting a bigger, better lab-grown diamond than natural for their budget.

“In the last three years, lab-grown diamonds have been a game changer,” says Cora Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold. “Lab-grown diamond engagement rings and bands are rising as an important product category, second to loose lab-grown diamond sales.”

Moreover, Colaizzi has seen an increase in demand for color stone center and accent stones in engagement and wedding rings the last six to nine months, as Quality Gold’s entire bridal collection is available for custom design. She cites color stones, natural or lab-created, the new way to customize fashion, gift and wedding jewelry.

Jewelers should be prepared for wedding band sales to exceed expectations this year as well, cheers Sean McCormick, sales and marketing for Novell Global, with single and multiple rows of diamonds, half eternity, popular. “Bridal related jewelry was, is and always will be the bestselling product lines.”

Tried and true with a personal twist is how Town & Country recently described popular jewelry for self and gift purchases, including foolproof hoops, modern pearl jewelry, diamond studs, cable cuffs and bangles, color stone rings and pendants, and monogrammed signet and initial styles.

Pearls in particular have been cultivating a growing fan base, including younger consumers and men. Beautiful styling and simplicity of design is how Grenier describes what’s popular in basic and fashion pearl jewelry.  “The pearl business has increased every year and what’s interesting is the average sale per customer has increased. We are seeing more business from existing customers, who are expanding and investing more in the pearl category.”

Moreover, this year promises to be strong for men’s jewelry. Jonathan Cohen, CEO of the men’s jewelry manufacturer, IBGoodman, reports all categories in the segment have been robust the past two years. He cites men’s diamond rings, solitaire and multi-stone up to 3 carats total weight, in demand. He also finds interest in carved gemstone rings with intaglios and signet rings engraved with a monogram or family crest. And, despite our casual society, he says cufflinks remain a go-to accessory for men of all ages.

To help JCK celebrate its big anniversary, The Plumb Club is hosting a cocktail reception in its pavilion, June 11, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. All JCK retailer attendees are invited to enjoy specialty cocktails, champagne, wine, cheese, cake and light entertainment to toast this historic milestone.