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The fair had an upbeat atmosphere and changes to the event were heavily supported
The fair had an upbeat atmosphere and changes to the event were heavily supported

Positive outcome for jewellery fair

The first Australian jewellery fair for 2014 drew to a close yesterday, with those in attendance reporting overall positive results and support for the many changes that were introduced to the event. 
An obvious change for the two-day show was the relocation from Brisbane to the Gold Coast - a decision that was embraced by all the exhibitors interviewed by Jeweller
Costas Karabouloukis, director of The Amber Centre, said that the supplier gained a number of new accounts from retailers that were located in Sydney in Melbourne. 
“The fact that these customers weren’t from Queensland is proof that people are definitely travelling interstate to attend the show. I think a lot of people are using the fair as an opportunity to combine business with pleasure,” he explained.  
Bolton Gems director Brett Bolton was another exhibitor in favour of the relocation: “We’re actually commuting [from Brisbane] every day to the show but I’d have it here in a heartbeat over Brisbane.
“It’s [Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre] a great venue and destination. There are too many draw cards for suppliers and retailers and I think the only negative is that there would even be a consideration of hosting the fair in Brisbane next year.” 
For show organiser Fair Events managing director, Gary Fitz-Roy, the feedback received about the positive atmosphere and quality of exhibitors were major highlights. 
“The feeling of the overall event was upbeat and happy and that sets a great tone for the start of the year,” he explained.  

Good start
There appeared to be a buzz about the floor on the first day, with many attendees lining up before doors had opened. 
Laura Sawade, marketing manager for precious metal supplier Peter W Beck, noted a particularly strong result on day one.   
“We have five staff members here and every one of us was flat out all day on Sunday. But then again, today [Monday] we’ve also had some quality buys. It’s clear that the fair is being well supported by the retailers and I think being held at the Gold Coast really helps.”
Kagi’s recently appointed general manager, Richard Fleming, said he was pleased with the amount of business the New Zealand-based jewellery brand had generated, while Marc Salzmann, account executive for first time exhibitor Effy Jewellery reported a “much better response than we were expecting”.
Similarly, Julie Sandlau brand manager Helen Hagerty explained that she was surprisingly happy with the support received for the Danish jewellery brand on Monday - which is traditionally a quieter trading day.  
“Retailers are now finally beginning to ‘get the brand’. The unique thing about Julie Sandlau is the brush finish and that’s starting to really resonate. It seems to be the right timing for the brand,” Hagerty said. As previously reported by Jeweller, the business opened an Australian subsidiary last month.  
While many branded product ranges achieved success at the fair, there was also a notable trend towards visitors purchasing more high-end, traditional bread and butter jewellery items.  
“Our Argyle Chocolate Diamonds are selling amazingly well. We ensured we had plenty of chocolate diamond product available for the fair and most of it has sold,” Bolton explained, adding, “We’ve had to display our sold items because there’s not enough left.” He also noted there was a lot of interest in pearls and emeralds. 
Spotlight presentations
The Spotlight education sessions were well attended on both days, indicating that the relaxed format – the presentations were held on the show floor – was popular among visitors.
Rachel McPhie from Starfish Gallery noted that the presentation style was less intimidating than other more formal lectures and that the 20-minute time allocations were ideal. 
“They’re short, quick snapshots of information, which is great when attending a trade fair as you still have time to visit the stands,” she explained.
Presentations included various sales, business management and marketing-focused topics as well as an update from JAA Code of Conduct Committee chair Colin Pocklington on the latest fair trading laws and the impact to the industry following the recent Zamel’s case.  
A new feature of the Gold Coast show was the Ask the Expert lounge, which allowed retailers to schedule free one-on-one consultations with Spotlight presenters Deb Templar of the Templar Group and Bryan Young from Retail Rescue.

“The expert lounge is a really good tool as we’re able to ask questions specifically about our own businesses without feeling embarrassed or that we’re wasting other people at the presentation’s time,” Leeanne Bond from Breakthrough Energy explained. 

Bryan Young, Mr Retail
Bryan Young, Mr Retail
Kagi, winner of best small stand
Kagi, winner of best small stand
Laura Sawade from Peter W Beck, winner of best large stand
Laura Sawade from Peter W Beck, winner of best large stand

Best stands
In true jewellery fair tradition, awards were given for the most outstanding exhibitor displays. The 2014 winners, announced at the Jewellery Industry Awards (see separate story), were Peter W Beck for best large stand and Kagi for best small stand. 
“We were really excited to win best stand. We don’t win these sorts of things very often so it’s nice to be recognised,” Sawade explained. 
“At every fair we try to put together something new and fresh while still maintaining the Peter W Beck DNA. This time around we focused on a Mother’s Day theme with lots of yellow – it was a bit of a change from the more romantic angle that we normally take.”
Commenting on Kagi’s win, Fleming said: “We’re very happy of course to have won the best small stand award. We’ve put a lot of work into it and coming from New Zealand always makes it harder to organise due to shipping etc.”

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