The Retail Jewelers Organization (RJO) holds two buying shows each year, each strategically timed for members to get an early look at new merchandise and to build inventory for the busiest seasons.
While RJO may call them buying shows, their take on them is much more comprehensive than offering members the latest merchandise. Camaraderie is at the core of RJO, so each show falls somewhere between a reunion, a vacation and a business trip. This makes sense, as RJO was founded back in 1966 by a handful of noncompetitive central Iowa jewelers who were looking for a more economical way to buy merchandise. Now, a half century later, RJO has blossomed into a national jeweler support organization that serves more than 1,100 members while staying true to the original tenets of friendship and support.
In addition to highly discounted merchandise, each show offers members many opportunities to learn and grow their businesses. One of the most popular is each show’s slate of free seminars conducted by leading figures in the industry and experts in their field, covering a broad range of practical topics. Each seminar delves into topics of high importance to the independent retail jeweler.
Buying shows also feature a number of meetings and receptions featuring information on RJO-sponsored foreign buying expeditions and how to leverage them, jewelry system updates, PR opportunities and nationally-known keynote speakers. There also are moderated sessions to share what is working for member retailers in the areas of marketing, personnel, jewelry and more, leading to new ways of thinking and important takeaways to implement at members’ stores.
All of the products and services at each show are reviewed and approved by RJO’s member-run Merchandise Review Committee, and the prices are pre-negotiated to eliminate haggling and potential animosity between jewelers and vendors.
RJO’s vendors include internationally-known brands and are the most trusted manufacturers and suppliers in the jewelry industry. The vendor membership carries merchandise in all styles, metals, stones and price ranges for every demographic. The buying floor is home to a diverse range of support service companies, including financial services, operational systems, web services, marketing services, insurance, and assorted supplies from boxes to tools. RJO works to cover all retail jeweler needs through its vendors, thereby offering opportunities to maximize their members’ annual dividends.
Dividends? Yes, dividends. RJO is unique among jewelry retailer groups in that it is a co-operative, with each member being an owner and shareholder. The board is selected among its membership by its membership. As a co-operative, member/owners receive annual dividends based on the amount of merchandise purchased throughout the year from RJO’s roster of vendors, composed of well-known national and international brands and suppliers. Putting the most money back into the pockets of its owners drives many strategic decisions of the organization.
Members typically receive purchase vouchers at each show to reduce prices an additional 1-3 percent, based on their previous year’s vendor purchase total. Each show also offers contests and opportunities to win cash prizes. As perquisites, attending, qualified members receive travel discounts to the shows, and hotel nights paid by RJO during the event.
Inquire about attending the exclusive, member-only RJO buying shows or apply for membership with full privileges by completing and submitting the form found at RJOmembers.com or by calling the RJO corporate office at 800-247-1774.