Anecdotal evidence would suggest that exhibitors who introduced new ranges or who undertook pre-fair marketing achieved better than expected results while those that just relied on being present at the Brisbane fair left somewhat disappointed.
Kiwi-based supplier Worth & Douglas launched its new Looney Tunes’ Tweety Bird range with managing director John Worth saying it had been well received despite many retailers being unaware of the licensed range leading up to the fair.
“At this stage it’s our existing clients who are picking it up, but no one really knows about it yet, so that’s understandable,” Worth said. He said his clients liked the colour and styles of the collection as they are very eye-catching and when placed in store windows, Tweety should act as a draw card to attract customers.
John Rose also found eye-catching childhood memories a big draw card at the fair. Rose’s West End Collection launched its Mickey Mouse watch range, which also garnered a lot of attention.
Rose said he didn’t know what to expect from the Brisbane fair given it was so hot on the heels of the Melbourne fair, so he was thrilled to see not only good numbers of retailers but to see so many open to doing business.
“We weren’t sure what was going to happen coming into this, but yesterday we wrote more business than we did for the whole of the previous year’s jewellery fairs,” Rose said. “When we spoke to our retailers [before the fair] they said they would see us here but that doesn’t always follow through. This time they did.”
For many the fair was not just about writing orders and signing new accounts but creating and nurturing relationships and networks.
Uberkate’s Kate Sutton said she had achieved everything she had hoped for at the fair along with exposing her new range, Uberfine. The fair also offered the opportunity for exhibitors to connect with both retailers and other suppliers.
“We have found the fair is about networking with people you know and swapping information about what you’re doing,” Sutton said. “It is also about catching up with your peers and seeing what they are up to. We have had a lot of chats in recent days about social media and seeing what everyone else is up to, which has been really interesting.”
Bolt internationals' Larry Porter, who was showcasing Ice-Watch at the fair, said despite the second day being a little slower than the first, the fair had still been another way for Ice-Watch to build its brand awareness.
“I think we achieved what we were aiming for,” Porter said. “We are very active in promoting the brand, both trade and consumer wise, getting that awareness and traction in the market.”
Porter said the success of the trade fairs was about getting the balance right and required the support of both the suppliers and retailers alike.
“It is a two way street at the end of the day, it makes sense for us to get retailers through the door and retailers want to see something new when they come. It has to be a balance and it’s difficult for both at the moment because people really want to make sure they get a return out of whatever they do.”
Not all exhibitors had a good fair with some finding retailers still very cautious before committing to new lines. Many exhibitors complained about visitor numbers but most pointed to the general nervousness and decline in consumer confidence.
Conversely, however, it seemed that distinctly unique styles of jewellery and one-off pieces were in higher demand, with both Cool Coconut’s San Marco range and Renee Blackwell doing plenty of business.