(NORWALK, Conn.) – Getting back to in-person business meant order writing, health and safety, conducting business, and physically distant networking at the March 2021 edition of Jewelers International Showcase (JIS), one of the first in-person trade events of the year.
170 brands exhibited at JIS March, including BA Gold, Kendra Scott, and Meira T Jewelry. Retailers were ready to restock their inventories for the busy spring sales season after few opportunities to do so in the past year. JIS reported retail buyer attendance included boutique, online, specialty, and more, and surpassed expectations, with nearly 3,000 buyers filling the show floor. In addition to retail buyers, attendees included: designers, diamond dealers, pawn brokers, wholesale buyers, distributors and more.
“This is such a liberating experience as an independent business owner to be able to get back with those who I consider our teammates, to get reacquainted with our vendors and other business owners that we’ve met at previous shows, and catch up on how they’re doing and what’s trending where they are. This is what we need as independent jewelers to reenergize. We have to do this 2-4 times a year just to stay in the know, if nothing else,” said a representative of Avalon Park Jewelers.
When asked about their experience, exhibitor AV Diamonds said: “[Trade shows] tell us whether the customers are happy about the business or not, and it makes us one with the customer, especially with the independent businesses. It’s where they find all the new trends, and we’re able to meet them in person, so we’re seeing people very excited. There’s a pent-up demand that people want to restore, and it’s all positive. For the jewelry industry, trade shows are vital.”
For the past year, JIS has offered multiple webinars and virtual opportunities for the jewelry community to connect, providing insights and data, trends, and security and retail tips during the pandemic. During 2020, Reed Exhibitions conducted several customer and visitor surveys to understand and determine how to best support them post-pandemic. The decision to move forward with the March Show in Miami Beach was based on direct feedback from the jewelry industry.
Hugh Jones, global CEO of Reed Exhibitions, in attendance at his first face-to-face event since he joined the company in February 2020, said: “It has been a very hard year for all our customers, visitors and our teams, but I’m delighted to say that physical events are back. Exhibitions and trade shows are key to the growth of business and the local economies in which they take place. JIS was alive with the excitement and buzz that comes from meeting friends, colleagues, and business partners once more, and all those present were playing their part in complying with our health and safety protocols to the benefit of all. It was humbling to witness.”
“Although the jewelry industry has remained strong through the pandemic and jewelry sales have performed well, buyers still need to see jewelry in person, and be able to touch, feel, and try on the pieces before committing to merchandise they’ll stock in their stores,” said Jordan Tuchband, Industry Vice President of JIS Events. “We are so pleased that we were able to bring the industry together again to provide in-person networking and business after an unprecedented year, while keeping health and safety top-of-mind for a productive show experience.”
Prior to the show, JIS communicated its health and safety guidelines to attendees and exhibitors to ensure everyone could prepare adequately for the event. Onsite, daily mandatory temperature screenings were conducted for everyone who entered the building, and extra registration kiosks were available to assist in physical distancing in the registration area. Other safety measures included a requirement of proper facial coverings; hand sanitizer stations placed throughout the show floor; enhanced deep cleaning and air filtration throughout the venue; transparent barriers to provide physical distancing and more.
“We’re all following protocols, washing our hands, and sanitizing, and people would like to see the product first-hand, so I’m glad to be back,” said exhibitor HippieChic by OP.
In addition to health and safety measures, JIS March was a SMART event in partnership with Konduko, an award-winning wireless technology that offers a way to network without contact. Onsite, attendees received SMART badges that they could scan on the booth readers of vendors they would like to receive more information about. At the end of each show day, attendees received a Daily Digest email including contact information of the vendors they tapped. The SMART features assisted in physical distancing when possible, while still connecting retailers and exhibitors.
As the first in-person event by Reed Exhibitions US since the COVID-19 pandemic, JIS March was a chance for the company to prioritize the best interests for its customers and see firsthand what works and how to make upcoming events better.
“Getting the jewelry industry back to in-person events is so important for our industry and the quality of networking, product and vendor discovery, and order writing that can be made. Now more than ever, this means prioritizing health and safety for our customers and our employees, alongside the business and connections made onsite,” said Sarin Bachmann, Group Vice President of Reed Jewelry Group. “Being a part of Reed Exhibitions gives us an advantage with the health and safety learnings from around the globe, and access to a large dedicated team focused on these efforts for all of our U.S. events.”
The next JIS Event will take place October 8-11, 2021 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Learn more about JIS October here.