Last updateTue, 17 Apr 2018 11pm

MJSA Expo New York draws dynamic crowd, despite severe weather

(ATTLEBORO FALLS, Mass.) - Despite opening on a day of drenching rains and near-hurricane-force winds, the 2010 MJSA Expo New York attracted a growing number of buyers throughout its three-day run - and exhibitors saw that traffic turn into new leads and customers.

Presented by Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA), the Expo is the largest and longest-running show dedicated to the design and manufacture of jewelry. This year’s event ran from Sunday, March 14, through Tuesday, March 16, at the Hilton New York. It was the first time since 1994 that the show had taken place at a hotel, and the convenient location undoubtedly helped attendance.

Ann Arnold of Lieberfarb, Michael Schechter of Honora, Veronica Wei Sopher of Ben Bridge, and Carrie Soucy of Miamore Communications, discussed social networking during MJSA Expo New York. Almost 100 attendees listened and participated interactively.
Although the weather led to a slight reduction in attendees on the opening day compared to last year, the numbers rose 5 percent on Monday and 10 percent on Tuesday. Overall, nearly 3,000 attendees crowded the Expo’s aisles. And according to exhibitors, they came ready to buy the metal, tools, gems, beads, findings, and other supplies and services they need to make jewelry.

“MJSA Expo New York was the best show I’ve ever had in New York during 35 years in the business,” said Bill Heher of Rare Earth Mining Co., a gemstone supplier from Trumbull, Connecticut, whose booth was crowded during much of the show. “MJSA is the cutting edge when it comes to tools and technology, and for the serious jeweler making jewelry today, this show is crucial.”

“We obtained triple the number of solid leads for new business than what we’ve experienced at other shows. That made the show for us,” said Kevin Sweeney, director of sales and marketing for LDC Inc., a full-service manufacturer and tool-and-die maker in Providence, Rhode Island.

Buyers, too, extolled the Expo’s offerings. “It’s been a game changer for me,” said Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, a designer and jeweler from Stow, Ohio, who attended all three days of the show. “Expo has opened my eyes to all of the companies that supply and support our industry. I’ve been impressed with how willing exhibitors were to talk to a new business owner. If they couldn’t answer a question or help me with a product, they were also willing to direct me to their competitors.”

“I did a lot of damage to my wallet and made a lot of connections,” said Edith Armstrong, a designer who does custom work and also represents a variety of well-known Maine jewelers at her retail store, Folia in Portland, Maine. “I bought a laser machine, some great pearls, and pretty much everything else on my laundry list.”

An online posting by Karen Christians, owner of Cleverwerx in Waltham, Massachusetts, perhaps best summed up the mood of many buyers. “MJSA, you knocked this one out of the park! The new venue at the NYC Hilton was friendly, cozy, and packed with incredible information,” wrote Christians, whose company designs and sells high-end jewelry tools for metalsmiths. “The layout was perfect in layering three floors of equipment, services, and gems and beads... The whole look was cohesive, and filled with positive energy.”

MJSA Expo’s seminar program, buyers agreed, generated part of the positive energy.  “I liked all the panels for different reasons, but ‘What You Can Do Now,’ moderated by Andrea Hill, was a particular favorite, because I liked hearing about the challenges of the really large companies like Sterling, Hoover & Strong, and Stuller, and how they’re addressing them,” said Pajak-Reynolds.

“The format of the seminars was great,” Armstrong said. “The speakers were the right picks, and the sessions were informal enough that the audience felt comfortable asking lots of questions.” She particularly liked “From Old Media To Social Media: Promoting Product in the 21st Century,” which featured a panel of Facebook and Twitter veterans that included Michael Schechter of Honora, Ann Arnold of Lieberfarb, Veronica Wei Sopher of Ben Bridge Jeweler, and Carrie Soucy of Miamore Communications.

Other noteworthy sessions included “Surviving the Great Recession: Proven Ways to Deal with Challenging Times,” moderated by industry analyst Ben Janowski of the Janos Group; “Future Stock: Putting the ‘Custom’ in Customer,” moderated by Ron Mondillo, RAM Marketing; “Drivers of the Gold Price,” with Jim Steel of HSBC Bank; and “Profiting by Design,” presented in partnership with the American Jewelry Design Council (AJDC), with consultant Marlene Richey, Jeweler’s Resource Bureau President Cindy Edelstein, and designer Philip Crangi, along with five distinguished AJDC designer-members.

In addition to the seminars, Expo hosted two of MJSA’s signature At the Bench Live sessions: “Working with Alternative Metals,” presented by Chris Ploof of Chris Ploof Studio, and “Creating Custom Finishes,” with Lee Krombholz of Krombholz Jewelers. MJSA also welcomed exhibitors and attendees to a social event and party at the Cornell Club on Monday night, and honored the winners of its Thinking Ahead and Vision Awards.

According to MJSA President and CEO David Cochran, the 2010 show’s success “is a testament to the importance of jewelry making in the industry today. From the increasing number of retailers offering custom design, to the designers, artisans, and manufacturers who produce jewelry in America - they came regardless of the weather.”

For more information about MJSA Expo New York, contact MJSA at 800-444-MJSA (6572) or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..