(ATLANTA) - The August 9-11, 2014 Atlanta Jewelry Show recorded a 10% increase in attendance over August 2013 and a 5 percent increase over the March 2014 edition. The traffic uptick, combined with reports of steady order-writing and overwhelmingly positive feedback on the show’s upscale look, new resources, networking and after-hours events, all contributed to the positive vibe and buzz that was obvious on the show floor.
“We never lose sight of the fact that this show pulls at the heartstrings of so many of our buyers and exhibitors. Whether they’ve been coming for years or are relatively new to the event, they feel at home here and look forward to returning year after year to see industry friends who have become family,” explains Carol Young, executive director, Southern Jewelry Travelers Association (SJTA), producers and managers of the semi-annual Atlanta Jewelry Show. “Our ‘(re)fresh, (re)ignite, (re)discover’ marketing campaign capsulizes the spirit of what we’re aiming for in working to foster a business-friendly, engaging show atmosphere.”
(re)Discovering Resources & New Business Opportunities
The August edition welcomed 40 new exhibitors to the show, enhancing the already versatile product selection available. First time and veteran exhibitors alike were delighted with the show’s steady traffic and geographic reach.
“We just launched our company a few months ago and are trying to spread the word. We’ve been very happy with the traffic we’ve seen at the Atlanta Jewelry Show. We signed up new subscribers within the first hours of opening morning and have seen jewelers from throughout the Southeast and as far away as Canada and California,” said new exhibitor Joseph Akar, Chronofy/Accar, Ltd.
“This show is always great for us,” added Bryan Cohen, president and CEO, Timeless Designs. “As always, we’re seeing jewelers from throughout the Southeast and around the country as well. This show just has such a wonderful hometown feel where everyone seems to know each other.”
One of the newest areas of the show, the Handcrafted Studio also welcomed new resources through the participation of 7 new artisans. This section brings together talented jewelry designers showcasing one-of-a-kind, handcrafted pieces. Exhibitors in this section were also pleased with the traffic and quality retailers they were meeting at the show.
“The Handcrafted Studio has provided a great opportunity to be promoted as an artist among jewelers looking for unique, different designs,” said Alexis Barbeau, Alexis Barbeau Designs. “This special area showcases jewelry that has been handmade by the artist, so attendees really see someone’s passion coming out as opposed to only a beautiful piece of jewelry. They get the whole story behind the design and customers have really responded to that.”
“It’s rewarding to meet with that certain customer who truly appreciates what I do,” adds Handcrafted Studio exhibitor Andrea Marshall, AndreaGems. “I was hoping to get a foothold in the Florida area and I’ve definitely met new potential customers from there, Georgia, other areas of the Southeast… even Utah!”
Jewelers also responded favorably to the versatile selection they saw this August. “I always enjoy coming to the Atlanta Jewelry Show. You can shop in a casual, relaxed atmosphere and always find great new resources, as well as your established lines,” said Mike Gibbs, M. Gibbs. Ltd, Concord, NC.
“We’ve been coming to this show for years and are always excited to see what’s new,” added Terri Israeli and Alisa Bowden, Atlanta Diamond Design, Alpharetta, GA.
“This is the main show for my buying, especially going into the fourth quarter holiday season,” said Bill Warren, Goldmine Fine Jewelry & Gifts, Hudson, NC. “All my major vendors are here and I always find new items too. If you like to gamble, go to the Las Vegas show. But if you’ve got business to accomplish, everything you need is right here, under one roof and it’s great fun too.”
As a testament to the steady order-writing that was occurring on the show floor, the August edition saw a notable increase in the number of customers redeeming orders for SJTA Rewards. As the only buyer loyalty program of its kind in this industry, SJTA Rewards gives retailers the chance to earn points for every order placed with every exhibitor at the show. These reward points can then be redeemed for anything from gift cards and tech gadgets to movie tickets and travel packages. In addition, any retailer who earns 15,000 SJTA Reward points or more at a single show is automatically enrolled in Club Elite, the exclusive club of Atlanta VIP buyers.
(re)Connecting & (re)Charging
The August edition offered both exhibitors and jewelers a wide range of opportunities to socialize and share new ideas. Among the newer initiatives is the specially priced buyer lunch, coupled with “Café Conversations.” As part of the program, buyers are encouraged to stay on the show floor to enjoy the show’s sponsored lunch buffet for only $5. As an added bonus, they also had the chance to join in the show’s daily Café Conversations moderated by Terry Chandler, President & CEO, Diamond Council of America and David Peters, Chief Learning Officer, The Jewelry Coach. These informal conversations gave retailers the rare chance to share successes, common challenges and new ideas with each other.
Another networking opportunity that continues to grow in popularity is Mingle, the show’s “after-hours hot spot.” Held each evening in the lobby of the Renaissance Waverly hotel, Mingle gave attendees the chance to socialize together outside of the show floor, in a relaxed and casual atmosphere that is highly conducive to creating new business opportunities.
“Mingle is yet another way the Atlanta Jewelry Show helps us all reconnect with old friends and customers,” said Adam Staub, sales representative, Galatea and Yael Designs. “It’s the perfect opportunity for buyers and sellers to relax and get to know each other in a casual, non-sales atmosphere.”
Other great show networking spots included the complimentary buyer breakfast, sponsored by Southern Jewelry News and served each morning in the registration concourse; the Gold Bar cocktail lounge on the show floor and the Market Place buyers’ lounge.
Retailers also had the opportunity to recharge their bottom line by choosing from a full roster of educational and motivational sessions that were all part of the popular AJS University schedule.
Among the highlights was a special “pop-up” event featuring Jesper Nielsen, co-founder of Pandora CWE and new brand Endless Jewelry. On August 10, he led a session sharing the story of creating these brands, as well as his secrets for building sales, creating successful startups and sustaining a happy, carefree life. Together with a keynote presentation by Brad Huisken on the psychology of sales and a host of programs touching on holiday trends, social media, CAD-CAM and more, the line-up offered something for everyone.
“It’s so great to have such convenient access to this type of information,” said seminar attendee Jennifer Foster, David Douglas Diamonds, Marietta, GA.