Attendance was over 1,000 store fronts, a 25% increase over last year. “The buzz from our 2009 show was extremely positive, resulting in a major spike in registration and traffic this year,” said Dan Kisch, INSTORE/INDESIGN publisher. “
With over 541 exhibitor booths, a 28% increase from last year, jewelry brands understood the need to remain in front of key buyers, especially in this economic climate. “It’s the best run show in the jewelry business because it is run by people who actually know the jewelry business,” notes exhibitor Allen McIIlece from Jewelry Innovations.
Highlights from the show included:
- Interactive and hands-on area called Smart Central for show-goers to stop by at their leisure to learn how to improve their businesses. “It’s an opportunity to really work with a professional that will give you valuable information for your business,” says Mark Grosser from M. Grosser Jewelry Design.
- INSTORE’S Ultimate Bridal Bash sponsored by Hearts on Fire with support from The Knot attracted over 1,500 Smart Jewelry Show guests. Show-goers enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as the guests of a wedding reception while focusing on the bridal industry and the impact it has on the jewelry business as a whole.
- Ultimate Design Contest where entrants were required to create an original piece from rendering to finished product. The contest truly challenged the jeweler’s artisanship by reflecting what typically happens at a retail store when a client requests a customized piece. Tom Linenberger of Goldworks was the winner of both the CAD Rendering Category and the Grand Prize. His winning piece was a 14k white and yellow gold ring with diamond accents, featuring a faceted aquamarine and a partial chain link shank. Gregory Crawford from Gregory Crawford Designs was the winner in the Hand Rendering Category. His winning piece was an 18k yellow and white gold ring with a center cabochon rhodolite garnet surrounded by diamonds.
- Bench Challenges were highly watched events that featured two jewelers “battling it out” in a one-on-one competition to see who could create the winning customized piece in a 2-hour period.
- Education sessions were designed to bring the information and the excitement of INSTORE and INDESIGN magazines to life.
One of the most attended and talked about sessions was the “Vision of the Jewelry Future” panel with Matt Stuller of Stuller, Peter Smith of Hearts on Fire, Ken Gassman of Jewelry Industry Research, Dan Kisch of INSTORE/INDESIGN, and Terry Chandler from Diamond Council of America.
Entrepreneur, author and full-time-name-tag-wearer, Scott Ginsberg, delivered the keynote speech about the importance of networking in the jewelry business. His unique networking techniques were well received by both exhibitors and retailers.
- A sold-out networking cruise on the lake with The Chicago Jewelers Association and the Midwest Chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association.
- Generation Next Pavilion featured an array of designers who have been in business for 3-7 years. The Pavilion was a success for retailers to have an opportunity to learn about new emerging designers and the brands of tomorrow. Ellen Hertz of Max’s said: “Generation Next is great for both traditional and non-traditional retailers in terms of the selection of jewelry designers. It is great to see an untapped market of artisans making fine quality jewelry. There is such a diversity of these types of designers.”
- The Facebook Jewelers Network and the Young Jewelers Association co-hosted a gathering at the infamous Billy Goat Tavern.
- Gen-Next Jewelers sponsored a cocktail party at the Navy Pier Riva Restaurant where all the Smart Jewelry Show guests were able to network and schmooze after a day of selling/buying.
The 2011 Smart Jewelry Show is scheduled for April 2-4. For more information please visit www.smartjewelryshow.com.