Jewelry trade shows, like all trade shows, are the place to meet people within the industry. It also is the place to look around for all the news that brands and companies have created. Spotting trends and keeping a finger right on the pulse, to feel where the industry is heading.
Text Esther B.J. Ligthart
But trade shows are facing a lot of discussion, in all fairness, not just jewelry shows. Some say they have become too expensive and not relevant enough anymore. Others simply say that no one needs to visit a trade fair as many brands can be found online and enough agents visit their stores already. I, however, believe still strongly in trade fairs and their purpose.
As someone who has been an agent, but also owning a jewelry store myself, I can honestly say that I have experienced both sides myself. And the lack of enthusiasm at times, from both agents, clients, jewelers and occasionally: yes, also myself sometimes.
These are the most common reasons for a lack of interest, given by the people mentioned above:
- I don’t need a new brand.
- They (the brands that I carry) will visit me, if they want to show me something new
- I can’t close the shop, to visit a trade show and I don’t want to go in my spare time!
- It’s too expensive. A visit often means driving/ flying. Staying overnight. Meals and sometimes even paying admission to the show itself.
Are jewelers right?
They might have a point. A normal sized jewelry store doesn’t have the same possibilities in terms of employees and budget, as the larger ones or the chain stores. They usually already struggle and juggle with time and prepare their stores for the rapidly changing market future.
Inspiration but not only…
But there is more. As I have been living the life of a shop owner too, I feel free to say that small businesses are often known for not having the most adventurous mentality. Nothing wrong with that, but if one stays in the store, it becomes your daily reality and one may even think that one knows their customers, their taste and feel confident that there isn’t much else that a trade fair could offer. But I would argue that they will be surprised to see how much inspiration there is to be found on a trade show.
So much more than just new brands
It’s not just looking at the products, but merely looking at new jewelry, new ways of exposing jewelry, hearing about the news or attending workshops, can be so inspiring. It can open your mind. Give you fresh inspiration, either small or even for the future of your business. Talking with others make you feel less alone with the daily challenges of running a store and perhaps one can even open up and discuss real problems with real colleagues. This is what networking is also great for! But who knows, you might find a wonderful new brand or product too 🙂
Modern technology makes it easier
So go and visit a trade fair to get inspired. To see what is out there, with whom you can make a start. Perhaps find a company willing to think or brainstorm with you. And although an agent on your territory is convenient and personal, you might also find benefit from modern technology. Skype, WhatsApp, Messenger…real time stock access and what more, create no longer a barrier to work with brands that aren’t represented by an agency within your territory.
Trade shows are costly, for all parties involved, so yes, also for a jewelry store. I know! But if budget is a thing (and it should be, of course) then choose wisely. Look at the calendar of trade shows. Think about what you would need, what kind of products you are seeking and what workshops, talks and more, are offered. Even pick just one big trade show per year. But please: stay curious and get inspired! Visit a trade show 🙂
Esther B. J. Ligthart
Esther is a freelance journalist and runs the popular jewelry blog Bizzita.com. Recently she has created a new platform for jewelry stores and the jewelry industry to shine on her blog and get found by their clients! She has over 20 years of jewelry business experience and still works as a private-and business jewelry consultant.