The buzz that preceded the fair certainly paved the way for a bumper show, with many exhibitors claiming business on the Sunday – traditionally the day the fair sees its highest traffic – was better than expected.
John Papaioannou on the Time Essentials stand went so far as to say the Sunday had been “absolutely amazing”, and “easily” the best opening day the supplier had ever experienced in the years he had been attending the fair.
Similarly, Designa Accessories’ VIP room, which provided a space for retailers to view the distributor’s watch collections in the comfort of a private seated area, went down a storm, with the distributor notching up hundreds of appointments with customers over a glass of champagne.
Georgini national sales manager Marissa Gouras said the brand had opened a number of new accounts and sell-through of the new range had been very good, while Phil Edwards, managing director of Thomas Sabo distributor Duraflex, said his team had been working non-stop since the show opened.
The response was not just from the big brands. Industry stalwart, Arthur Pike of Cashelle Jewellery was very pleased with his results. “We’ve had a great fair and there’s another day to go,” he said this morning.
In fact, not a single exhibitor that Jeweller spoke to said business hadn’t been good – despite the backdrop of a difficult consumer environment.
There was no doubt that the exhibitors that undertook pre-fair marketing and visitor appointments saw the most activity.
On the exhibition floor, the continued growth of branded and fashion jewellery was strikingly evident, while the increase in silver product was also commented upon.
Meanwhile, the crowds that thronged the Pandora stand from opening until close on both the Sunday and yesterday put paid to suggestions that demand for beads is slowing.
Perhaps heralding a new era for show displays, a number of suppliers introduced new custom-built stands and many exhibitors chose to introduce widescreen video displays this year, with suppliers like Peter W Beck and Paterson Fine Jewellery showing off their latest branded collections using this medium.
As the presentation standard of the stands increases, at least three exhibitors said they want to move into the central “Designer Section” on the main floor.
Retailers, in the main, were happy with what was on show at the fair.
Angela Daniel, from Angela Daniels Jewellery in Auckland, said, “The quality has improved greatly since I came for the fair three years ago.”
Several buyers that Jeweller spoke to were at the fair to meet with existing suppliers, and there were many others who were there to source diamonds.
However, more than one buyer described the product offering as generally “conservative”.
Lorraine Royds, from Sand Pebble jewellery store in Sydney, said, “10 years ago, it was a lot more exciting. These days, fairs seem to be lacking in creativity. Everything is cast and generic.”
Off the sales floor, this year’s program of seminars proved a hit with retailers – the Sunday session on selling diamonds from US sales expert Janice Talcott
managed to attract at least twice as many attendees as there were seats.
Expertise Events managing director Gary Fitz-Roy, who organised the fair, said he believed the fair turnout was likely to be on a par with the record attendee figures seen last year.
“Last year was our best attended fair ever and at the moment it looks like we’re going to be very close to being on par… That in itself is quite an amazing feat,” he said.
He added, “Not only have they come, but they have spent. I think the fair is really important because it is the catalyst to start the ordering process for Christmas, and comes after the June financial year-end stocktake sales.”
Fitz-Roy said the aim this year was to offer a more complete experience so that visitors would feel they could come for a full day out.
“Part of the fair is the experience. We’ve really worked on that. For example, we’ve delivered a seminar programme that has been very well attended,” he explained.
New catering additions, including a deli and noodle bar, were an instant hit – by the close of business on the Sunday the noodle bar had gone through two days’ worth of food.
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