The JCK Strategy
JCK Las Vegas, June 1-4 at Mandalay Bay is the place to discover top trending products, new technology and innovative ways of doing business. With over 2,300 exhibitors and dozens of education sessions and networking events, having a strategy to make the most of your time is essential.
Pre-register for badges to save time at the show and read all the pre-show material to help you develop an effective action plan. Once you activate your MyShow account at www.jckonline.com/lasvegas you can explore an interactive floor plan and personalize your experience with the matchmaking platform, JCK Match. Download the app to navigate the show from your mobile device.
Define Your Goals
Identify the goals you want to accomplish, including must-see vendors, items you need to purchase, what new product lines you want to view, and which seminars and events you shouldn’t miss, says Renato Cruz, vice president of product development for Sumit Diamond, New York. Retail market consultant Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts, Montgomery Village, Maryland advises jewelers consult the show floor map before committing to appointments. “The layout at JCK is challenging. I’ve seen too many people waste far too much time and energy in transit between appointments, running from one end and level of the show to the other and back again.”
Spend an Afternoon in The Plumb Club
With more than 40 vendors representing leading suppliers in all facets of the jewelry, diamond and watch industries, retailers can get a good overview of the market in The Plumb Club in one afternoon, touts Victor Weinman, president of Original Designs / ODI New York, and member of The Plumb Club Executive Committee. Hailed a show within a show, The Plumb Club represents a significant portion of the domestic fine jewelry market. “The pavilion is easy to get around, whether you’re meeting with existing vendors or exploring new ones,” cheers Allison Peck for Color Merchants, New York. From free refreshments and plush carpeting to comfortable seating and open booth designs, The Plumb Club is a destination.
Take advantage of JCK Talks complimentary education track beginning June 1. A must-attend is The Plumb Club’s breakfast symposium in the South Seas Ballroom, Mandalay Bay on June 2 beginning at 7:30 a.m. with a presentation by the event sponsor the Diamond Producers Association. Headlining is Doug Stephens, aka The Retail Prophet, in a presentation named after his latest book: Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World. He will discuss the struggles brands and retailers face across categories and how to understand the shifting needs of consumers, the concept of what stores are and how consumers shop them, and how the core economic model for revenue is being reinvented. Following the breakfast, retailers can meet the author and receive a signed copy of his book in The Plumb Club pavilion.
Come to JCK curious! Mix in flextime with appointments. Look for teachable moments, particularly engaging exhibitors about products, issues technology, and the market, says Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts, Montgomery Village, Maryland. She advocates jewelers take time to visit jewelry supply and service providers to talk with experts about all things functional and operational. Consultant Andrea Hill of the Chicago-based Hill Management Group encourages jewelers to ask exhibitors that catch their eye to show them their hottest item as a way to track trends.
Products including lab-grown diamonds, color stones, and yellow gold are expected to lead trends in Las Vegas. Consumers like new options and are drawn to the choice and price points lab-grown diamonds offer, reports Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser for Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio. Heightened awareness is fueling consumer curiosity. “Younger consumers and Millennials raised on the advancements in technology and choices afforded by them are approaching this category with an open mind.” So, jewelers who understand that lab-grown diamonds are there to compliment mined diamonds not replace them are doing well with the product, says Monica McDaniels, communications manager for the San Marcos, California-based lab-grown gem brand, Chatham. Company President Harry Stubbert cites strong demand for lab-grown across all categories with excitement for its latest Diamond Fashion Line.
There is a huge surge in interest for a variety of colorful stones, cheers Allison Peck for Color Merchants, New York, noting that bold gem pendants and necklaces are popular. “Shoppers are more knowledgeable and they don’t want something typical or usual. They want something that makes them feel special and different.” In that vane, the men’s jewelry brand IB Goodman is launching a new women’s fashion line that combines shell and wood inlay with silver and gold in geometric designs. “We’re taking classic looks to see how we can do them differently,” says Laura Burton, business development for the Newport, Kentucky based manufacturer, noting that “brand new” is the brand’s buzzword.
While white metals have captured the trends for many years, Colaizzi says yellow gold is preferred for designer styles and core classics. Peck says that if the end consumer is spending real money on jewelry they want everyone to know their piece is made of real gold. Maren Spence, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota says she expects statement earrings to be hot for fall with drop and hoop styles popular on the runways easily translated to the mainstream. She also cites vintage-inspired designs and bezel settings in both the fashion and bridal categories.
Hill encourages jewelers to make the most of their trade show experience before, during and after—especially via 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.