(ATLANTA) - The new hall layout set the stage for a fresh new approach to the Atlanta Jewelry Show for buyers and exhibitors alike. From exhibitor reports of new business to positive buyer feedback on new product resources and new sales ideas generated from seminars and events, to the new talents that emerged during the SCAD Student and Torch Awards Independent Jeweler Design Competitions, ‘new’ was indeed the focus for the February 25-27, 2012 edition at the Cobb Galleria Centre.“There’s little question that buyers and exhibitors alike are drawn to trade shows for the ‘new’ factor – new products, new ideas, new business, new contacts, new opportunities,” says Carol Young, executive director, Southern Jewelry Travelers Association (SJTA), producers and managers of the semi-annual Atlanta Jewelry Show. “We unveiled our new show floor design in August and fine-tuned it this February as a way of repackaging and refreshing the show’s offerings to position them in a whole new light. The fresh new floor look, together with a record number of new, first-time exhibitors, new seminar speakers and other initiatives helped create a sense of optimism on the show floor and excitement about business growth for the coming year.”
New Looks. New Business.
The SJTA team built upon the new, sleek and modern floor look that first debuted during the August 2011 show by expanding the show’s selection with more than 40 new exhibitors. These companies were interspersed among the show’s new chic, contemporary “Promenade” area of custom and hard-wall booths, and the cutting edge “Point of View: Designer Gallery”.
Tracking evenly with the 2011 edition, the February 2012 show attendance included returning retailers and first-time visitors from throughout the Southeast, as well as other parts of the country.
“We are a first-time exhibitor at the Atlanta Jewelry Show, which is also our first US show,” said André Wegner, Bering Time. “We have been very pleased with the show and the new customers we have found here.”
“The retailers who are here are serious buyers,” added Barbara Garwood, Barbara Garwood. “We have opened a number of new accounts.”
“I am very impressed with the changes to the show floor – It’s new, edgy and fresh,” said Terry Chandler, CEO, Diamond Council of America. “At jewelry shows, retailers are invited to attend business-building seminars where speakers tell them they need to change and innovate – that they can’t just open their doors, keep their displays the same and expect business to come in. But so often the jewelry shows themselves don’t practice what they preach. Rather, the show layouts look the same year after year. The Atlanta Jewelry Show has made a leap – creating a fun, interesting environment that encourages you to look closer at the booth offerings and literally draws you in to see what’s around the next corner.”
As part of the show floor redesign, a new Buyers Lounge, “Market Place,” has been created to give buyers the chance to relax, meet up with friends and enjoy light refreshments.
“The show floor has such a nice, welcoming ambiance,” noted Kathie Stansell, Grimball Jewelers, Chapel Hill, NC. “From the great selection to a quiet place to regroup at 4 pm where a glass of wine shows up at your fingertips, this is quickly becoming our favorite show.”
New Exposure Avenues for Exhibitors
One of the newest initiatives for the February edition was the opening morning fashion show, Jewelry On the Catwalk. Held at 9:30 a.m. at the registration concourse on opening morning, Saturday, February 25th, this high-energy event kicked off the show in style by bringing fabulous designs from exhibitors together with stunning models to give buyers a first-hand look at the latest “it’ pieces before they stepped on to the exhibition floor.
First-time exhibitors also had the chance to put their product in front of buyers during the popular “New Exhibitor Meet & Greet” sessions on Sunday, February 26 at 9:30 a.m. These sessions give new exhibitors an expanded platform to host a brief presentation for buyers in a casual, relaxed, breakfast setting.
New Seminars Offer New Ideas
The February edition welcomed the return of the popular SJTA U education program with a full roster of seminars, including a program on new display and lighting ideas led by Keely Grice, Grice Showcase & Display and Darrin Davis, lighting consultant; The New World of Retail 2015 by Lynn Switanowski-Barrett, Creative Business Consulting Group; the Tucson Roundup by Richard Drucker, Gemworld International; an inspirational keynote address by Mentalist Mark Johnson who showed attendees how to break the barriers of disbelief, and other programs by James Porte, Porte Marketing Group, David Peters, Jewelers of America, Mia Katrin, Jewel Couture, LLC, and Andy Kroungold of Stuller, Inc.
In addition, the show also featured special hands-on workshops including the Gemological Institute of America’s Pearl Grading Lab Class and a program on corundum treatments and pricing presented by Gemworld International.
“We enjoyed the programs and will apply the ideas we’ve gotten here to our store,” said seminar attendee Gerri Richard, Sister’s Treasures.
The February edition played host to two design competitions that put the spotlight of some on the industry’s true emerging talents. The Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) and the SJTA co-hosted the 8th annual Student Design Competition Awards Ceremony on Sunday, February 26 at 3 pm. Co-sponsored by Stuller, this competition recognizes student entries in four categories – rings, bracelets, necklaces and brooches.
Winners included: RINGS: 1st place – Jean Kee, 2nd place – Bonnie Bramante, 3rd place – Archer Skinner. BROOCHES – 1st place- Sarah Consentino, 2nd place - Kristen Baird, 3rd place – Shiying Gao. BRACELETS – 1st place – Kristen Baird, 2nd Place Lexiebec (Alexis Turner), 3rd place – Miao Mai. NECKLACES – 1st place – Corrina Goutos, 2nd Place – Amiee Petkus, 3rd Place – Caroline Low. In addition, the attending buyer audience voted on the BEST OF SHOW award which went to Cameron Kruse for her necklace design, Treasures of the Sea.
The 2nd annual Torch Awards Competition returned to the Atlanta Jewelry Show to highlight the design talents of bench jewelers/designers across the nation. All state jewelry associations were invited to participate by submitting the winners of their own state-wide design competitions. Entries were on display during the February Atlanta Jewelry Show and the winners were announced at the Show Gala, including: BEST OF SHOW: Mikheil Kautengzhi, Tena’s Fine Diamonds, Elberton, GA ; FIRST PLACE – Johnny Johnson, Edward John’s Jewelers, Marietta, GA; SECOND PLACE – Philip Henniken, Blomberg & Co., Birmingham, AL ; THIRD PLACE – Jonathan Smiddy, Kent’s Jewelry, Rolla, MO.
New Reward Opportunities
With each new exhibitor come new opportunities for buyers to earn SJTA Rewards points. That’s because SJTA Reward points are earned with every order placed with every exhibitor at the show. As the only buyer loyalty program of its kind in this industry, SJTA Rewards offer retailers a great way to earn fabulous rewards ranging from travel experiences and electronics to home goods, personal accessories and more.
“The SJTA Rewards program is definitely something I look forward to taking advantage of at each show,” says Suzanne Horton, Jewelry Wholesale, Inc., Sumter, SC. ”We’ve redeemed points for a Keurig coffee maker which the office has absolutely loved. I’ve also used points for a vacuum cleaner and wine cooler. It’s great to actually get something back!”
As an added bonus, once buyers earn 15,000 SJTA Reward Points or more at any one of the past three shows, they are automatically enrolled in the Elite Buyers Club, which offers many show privileges, including special badges signifying their VIP status, entry into the exclusive, members-only Club Elite lounge on the show floor where complimentary breakfast, lunch and snacks are served throughout the show and more.
New Gala Theme -The Wizard of Aahs
Each show, buyers and exhibitors look forward to the show’s Sunday evening Gala. This year’s theme, The Wizard of Aahs, invited everyone to slip on their ruby slippers and enjoy a wicked evening of fun, food, and OZmopolitans in SJTA’s Emerald City. A great place to gather with old friends and network with new ones, the evening sent many over the rainbow.
The next edition of the Atlanta Jewelry Show is August 11-13, 2012.