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One fair is held at International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Sydney’s Darling Harbour precinct, while the second fair is held at Carriageworks, part of the Eveleigh Railway Workshops built in 1880, about a 15-30 minute drive from Sydney CBD.
One fair is held at International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Sydney’s Darling Harbour precinct, while the second fair is held at Carriageworks, part of the Eveleigh Railway Workshops built in 1880, about a 15-30 minute drive from Sydney CBD.

Jewellery Trade Shows II: Is all ‘fair’ in love and war?

As previously analysed, in a few weeks, the Australian jewellery industry will be presented with two jewellery trade shows in Sydney on the same weekend.

The question that has been asked many times before: Does the jewellery industry need two fairs on the same weekend in the same city, and who really benefits?

When new industry events are launched - such as the Jewellery Industry Fair in 2023 - the ‘curiosity’ factor can yield immediate advantages.

It’s been said that the true test of any industry gathering is the second year, not the first.

Essential reading: Part I - The facts and figures without puffery

Likewise, it’s important to note that the International Jewellery Fair benefits from its 30-year history and the ensuing long-term relationships formed with exhibitors.

Methodology & Maths
Laura Moore, director of Jewellery Industry Network, and organiser of the Jewellery Industry Fair.
Laura Moore, director of Jewellery Industry Network, and organiser of the Jewellery Industry Fair.

In preparing a like-for-like comparison of each trade show, it is essential to be clear on the definitions so that the comparison is equitable.

For that reason, 'exhibitors' (as previously noted in Part I with an *) were defined and counted as industry suppliers.

That is, the primary objectives of retailers when visiting a trade fair are to see new products, meet new suppliers, and, ultimately, buy from the exhibitors.

Event organisers live or die on this. If exhibitors have a successful trade fair, they rebook, and if they don’t have a successful event, they are unlikely to return the following year.

It is a simple calculation of return on investment.

While associations and other organisations can play an essential part in any industry gathering, retailers do not visit a trade show with the primary purpose of seeing an industry association.

Andy Phanthapangna, Jewellery Industry Network
Andy Phanthapangna, Jewellery Industry Network

They visit with commercial objectives – to stock their stores – and anything else is a bonus.

For that reason, in providing a like-for-like comparison of the two trade shows, any industry association appearing on the exhibitor lists of the International Jewellery Fair or Jewellery Industry Fair was not counted as a supplier exhibitor.

It is customary for event organisers to grant associations and industry groups free space so they can attend the show courtesy of the organiser's invitation. This further strengthens the case for not including associations in the final figures when evaluating the two shows.

It’s also important to note that it can be the practice of some event organisers to show multiple brands and products on an exhibitor list.

Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director of Expertise Events, and organiser of the International Jewellery Fair.
Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director of Expertise Events, and organiser of the International Jewellery Fair.

In other words, a company’s brands or products may appear on an exhibitor list as an individual exhibitor when, in reality, they are not separate exhibitors. This practice is done to inflate exhibitor numbers and enhance the perception and size of the event to potential visitors.

Therefore, to compare equally, in Jeweller’s research, an 'exhibitor' is the business that books and pays for the stand. If that business is promoting, say, three brands or products, it is only listed once as an exhibitor, not many times as a company and brand/products.

Friends & Family

More importantly, any business 'related' to the event organiser and its directors was not counted as a supplier exhibitor.

The event organiser is most likely to have provided its own (related) companies with free space because they are owned by and/or related to the show’s directors. Jewellery Industry Network is owned by Laura Moore and Andy Phanthapangna.

The Jewellery Industry Fair website lists four ‘related' businesses that were not included in the like-for-like comparison.

They include The Centre Sydney, Women in Jewellery Community (WIJC), Jewellery World, and Skytrust Intelligence Systems.

The Centre Sydney is listed as an exhibitor; however, the Jewellery Industry Network owns that business.

Interestingly, The Centre Sydney is also listed as a Gold Sponsor for the Jewellery Industry Fair – despite being owned by the Jewellery Industry Network directors!

Jewellery World is also owned by Moore and Phanthapangna, and similar confusion emerged surrounding the Jewellery Industry Network’s Melbourne event in February.

Despite being owned by the event organiser, Jewellery World was listed as a Gold Sponsor of the event.

Event organisers live or die on this. If exhibitors have a successful trade fair, they rebook, and if they don’t have a successful event, they are unlikely to return the following year.

Another business, Women in Jewellery Community (not to be confused with Rami Baron's Women in Jewellery) is owned by Moore via one of her many entities, Moore Events. It is listed as an exhibitor at her own Sydney show.

Skytrust International — another company listed as an exhibitor — is a related business in the true sense of the word. It is owned by Moore’s father, Jeff Sawade.

All of these have been excluded; to do otherwise would allow event organisers to list many other family and director-related companies as 'exhibitors,' potentially deceiving visitors into thinking the show is larger than it is.

Many interstate retailers travel to Sydney to attend jewellery fairs, expecting to see a diverse range of jewellery suppliers, not businesses related to the event's owners. 

Therefore, of the 38 names listed as exhibitors on the Jewellery Industry Fair website, four related businesses, six associations, and three duplicates — 13 in total — were not included.

This reduced the current Jewellery Industry Fair list from 38 exhibitors to 25.

Background reading: More questions raised about Jewellery Industry Network

For the record, the Jewellery Industry Fair listed a number of related businesses as exhibitors at its first show in 2023.

Three companies owned by Phanthapangna - Fullhammer, Banquet and Ezyfund – were listed as exhibitors, which begs the question: Are jewellery industry suppliers subsidising the costs of the businesses associated with the event’s directors?

By way of comparison, the International Jewellery Fair website lists four organisations which have not been included in the count. Expertise Events does not have 'related businesses' listed as exhibitors.

This means that retailers - as of the time of publication - can expect to see around 134 unique supplier exhibitors at Darling Harbour and around 25 at the Eveleigh Railway Workshops.

It is reasonable to assume that both organisers will add exhibitors between now and showtime; however, it is also reasonable to believe that less than two months out from the events, significant suppliers who are ‘serious about business’ will have already booked.
 

<a href="https://www.jewellermagazine.com/Img/156018/" target="_blank">The above data was taken at 5pm on 24 June</a>, and is provided as a like-for-like comparison of genuine jewellery supplier exhibitors, excluding industry associations and director related companies listed as exhibitors.
The above data was taken at 5pm on 24 June, and is provided as a like-for-like comparison of genuine jewellery supplier exhibitors, excluding industry associations and director related companies listed as exhibitors.

Reputation & Revenue 

Given these statistics and the critical observation that a significant percentage of the Jewellery Industry Fair’s 2023 exhibitors have not rebooked, we return to the same question: Who benefits from a second fair in the same city simultaneously?

At this point, it doesn’t appear to benefit leading jewellery suppliers. At the very least, the second year of a trade show should see an increase in exhibitor numbers, not a decrease. 

Any fair without a large number of suppliers (sellers) won't attract many visitors (buyers). So, the question is: Does a second fair in the same city really benefit anyone?

Over the years, this question has been asked - and answered - on three previous occasions.

“We’re not confident that the industry could support a second event at the same time."
Peter Beever, Former JAA President

The first was in 2007 when Jewellery World magazine attempted to launch the Jewellery World Show and which was scheduled to take place two weeks before the Expertise Events jewellery fair.

The concept failed, and the show was cancelled.

Jewellery World attempted the same thing five years later. In 2011, the magazine announced the Jewellery World Show 2012, scheduled for the week before the Darling Harbour event.

At the time, Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) Chairman Peter Beever admitted that the announcement of a second jewellery fair in the same city was a shock.

“The JAA wasn’t aware that Jewellery World was planning a fair at all, let alone a fair one week before our official industry trade fair”, he said, adding that he was unsure as to why Sydney needed a second fair.

“We’re not confident that the industry could support a second event at the same time."

The 2012 Jewellery World Show was cancelled.

Not content with two previous failuares, the question was asked again in 2016 when - this time - the JAA ended its 25-year relationship with Expertise Events and attempted to launch its own trade fair.

The JAA’s strategy was to divide the industry by launching a second jewellery fair on the same days in the same city as the International Jewellery Fair.

On that occasion, the JAA's failed strategy split the industry and provoked major backlash from suppliers and its members, from which it has never recovered.

For the 10 years before the JAA decided to split from Expertise Events with its own fair, the member-based association had been supported to the tune of $1.15 million (plus non-cash benefits) in sponsorship revenue generated by the trade fair.

Membership numbers and revenue plummeted.

Contradictions & Change

Ironically, the JAA Jewellery Tradeshow was promoted by then vice-president Laura Moore (nee Sawade), owner of the Jewellery Industry Fair.

Moore was on record as leading the charge for key industry events to be owned and operated by the JAA — not by private companies, which she claimed "strip funds from the industry."

“The JAA board also considers that any profits derived from key industry events should be reinvested into the Australia Jewellery Industry through a host of services that can and only will be provided by the JAA,” a statement from 2016 reads.

“The JAA will not be able to undertake this function if private companies are allowed to strip these funds out of the industry.”

Moore’s Jewellery Industry Network is a privately owned events management company. While the JAA will attend her event as an exhibitor, the association does not own the event.

Unlike its deal with Expertise Events before 2016, the JAA’s financial accounts suggest that it receives little if any, sponsorship income from the Jewellery Industry Network.

That aside, the JAA Jewellery Tradeshow failed because it did not have support from major participants, including the three buying groups. The industry determined the show had been launched for the wrong reasons, and the consequences were devastating for the JAA in terms of reputation and revenue.

Therefore, since 2007 - and on three previous occasions - very few suppliers have seen the need for two jewellery fairs in the same city simultaneously.

More the merrier

As previously reported, both fairs will likely increase exhibitor numbers before the events, so the ‘statistics’ presented here do not represent the final outcome.

That said, the data does tell a story that is not immediately obvious without looking ‘under the hood’, especially in light of typical promotional puffery.

It must be said that the larger issue is not how many jewellery trade fairs should take place in Australia each year. Ultimately, the market (suppliers) determine that.

The more important question is why there are continual attempts to divide suppliers by deliberately organising events that clash.

It must be said that the larger issue is not how many jewellery trade fairs should take place in Australia each year. Ultimately, the market (suppliers) determine that.

This is not an issue exclusive to Australia; many other countries have had the same experience of people launching a second ‘rival’ jewellery fair that competes with industry stalwarts.

Interestingly, the second event often provides transport, typically buses, between the new event and the incumbent, which some see as a form of guerilla marketing.

Do industry suppliers really need a second trade event in the same city at the same time? The keywords are ‘same city and the same time’.

And more importantly, do suppliers appreciate being forced to decide between two events, for no obvious benefit?

Provided that any jewellery event is run for the right reason, and benefits the broader industry without causing division and disharmony, then the more shows the merrier!

However, history demonstrates that since 2007, the industry has not believed there is merit in an argument for two Sydney fairs running simultaneously. Will the 2024 Jewellery Industry Fair change things?

Only time will tell; however, the current circumstances – blemished by continual industry division and disunity - will have to dramatically improve to do so.

 

FOOTNOTE: As a matter of transparency, readers should note that Jeweller produces the trade fair directory for the International Jewellery Fair.

As part of this arrangement, the magazine has a stand at the fair; however, in accordance with the methodology described above, Jeweller has not been counted as an exhibitor for the purpose of this like-for-like comparison.

It should also be noted that Jeweller was the official magazine of the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) until 2017, when the publisher ended a 20-year sponsorship agreement.

 

More reading
Jewellery Fair: Special visitors from US heading to Sydney
Hole-in-one: Industry sentiment positive after Australian Jewellery Fair
Industry unity: Showcase Jewellers commits to Sydney Fair
Industry upbeat following Melbourne Jewellery Expo
Blast from the past: More questions raised about Jewellery Industry Network
Jewellery Industry Network: Moore moves to correct misleading trade fair statements
Correction: Jewellery Industry Network directors have resigned
International Jewellery Fair: Change is inevitable, progress is optional

 











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