Maximize Your Trade Show Experience

When properly explored a trade show like JCK Las Vegas can provide a wealth of new ideas and information to help jewelers propel their business forward. With only a handful of days to take in over 2,400 vendors and a packed calendar of workshops and networking events at Mandalay Bay, developing a clear plan of action will ensure your time spent at the show was worthwhile.

First and foremost pre-register for badges to save time at the show. Score a hotel near the convention center, as you’ll be walking enough during the day. (FYI: The Plumb Club holds a block of hotel rooms at Mandalay Bay and neighboring Luxor.) Read all pre-show material to help decide when and where to be. Check out the show website ( and download the app to help navigate booths, track trends, follow seminars, and make appointments. Before you set out, define the top goals you’d like to achieve.


Identify key exhibitors and make appointments. Come up with an objective for each one like meeting with a specific individual, reviewing a new product, or learning more about the brand’s marketing support. The Plumb Club pavilion is a great place to find companies proven as experts in their field, who have been vetted into the group because of what they can deliver in product and service, tells Joel Schechter of Honora, a Richline pearl brand in New York City. “The show provides a great venue to discuss the visual/branding aspects and how it can work in your store.” He also advises jewelers visit first vendors with one-of-kind and limited supply goods, as special items typically move fast.

Monitor the market and mine for ideas. When visiting with exhibitors existing or new, make it fruitful. Pick their brains for market analysis, trends insights and business solutions. The Plumb Club pavilion is a great resource to tap into all facets of the jewelry, diamond and watch industries in one place. Victor Weinman, president of Tache USA in New York City and member of The Plumb Club Executive Committee, notes that the group of 45 vetted vendors not only offers new products and bestsellers, but also the expertise and support assets that can help jewelers succeed. “Earmark time to walk the pavilion, even if you aren’t in the buying mood, just to talk to vendors. Our members take the time to speak to retailers about the ins and outs of the industry.”

Kathy Grenier, marketing and communications for the Cultured Pearl Association of America, also encourages jewelers to chat with CPAA member companies, like Imperial, Honora and Mastoloni in The Plumb Club pavilion, who are eager to share information about a free online pearl course the association launched for retailers. “The show presents a great opportunity to solicit expertise from these specialists in their field in one place,” she says.

Take notes. Bring a small notebook or use a notes app to jot down insights as you go. Include the appropriate business card on the note page or use a phone camera to nab a digital image to insert in your doc. At the very least, write on the back of a business card. Everything tends to blur by the end of the show and you’ll be glad you have notes when creating your future action plan. A phone camera is handy to remember favorite designs, displays, and people you meet.

Schedule continuing education. A day before JCK Las Vegas opens, JCK Talks, the complimentary education track, begins June 4. A highlight is The Plumb Club’s breakfast symposium, co-hosted with JCK, on June 6 in the South Seas Ballroom, Mandalay Bay. Headlining is Charles Duhigg, Pulitzer-prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, and author of “Smarter Faster Better”, about the science of productivity, and “The Power of Habit”, exploring habit formation in our lives. He will speak on the science behind the sale and how to build the habits that can increase sales through more rewarding customer experiences. The Diamond Producers Association also will present its fourth quarter “Real is Rare” campaign and how jewelers can participate.

Leave time to explore. Once you’ve hit your key exhibitors, walk the show floor. “Look for things that are new and interesting. Look for surprises,” advocates Allison Peck from Color Merchants, New York City. “Carve out an afternoon or save the last day to wander, to discover not only new products and people, but also display ideas and sales techniques. Be open to new possibilities.”

Post Vegas action plan. After the show, review your notes and identify and prioritize your action items. Work with people on staff who can help put what was learned in motion.