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Showcase Jewellers and Expertise Events were recently embroiled in a dispute about exhibition space at the Sydney jewellery fair
Showcase Jewellers and Expertise Events were recently embroiled in a dispute about exhibition space at the Sydney jewellery fair

Showcase and Expertise jewellery fair showdown

The attendance of Showcase Jewellers at the upcoming Sydney jewellery fair was recently called into question when a disagreement erupted between the buying group and the event’s organiser.

In what appeared to be a silly spat from the outset, Showcase and fair organiser Expertise Events have announced they have since “resolved their differences and will now be working together with preparations for the International Jewellery Fair (IJF).”

The issue began 23 July 2015 when Showcase sent an email to its preferred suppliers that read, “We have been advised by Expertise Events that Showcase Jewellers will not be provided with space to exhibit at the August 2015 Jewellery Fair.”

The email outlined it was not Showcase that had made the decision but Expertise Events. It went on to make a number of other assertions that prompted Expertise Events to issue a response the same day.

The three-page letter stated, “It is unfortunate that Showcase has chosen to make a private disagreement a public matter so in the interests of fairness Expertise should set the record straight.”

It denied Showcase’s claims and explained that the buying group – Australia and New Zealand’s second largest by store count – could have a presence at the fair free of charge provided it did not “display or promote its own jewellery brands in competition with other wholesalers who pay to exhibit at the fair.”

The statement added, “Expertise Events stands by its position: Showcase cannot expect to be treated any differently to the other buying groups. Both Nationwide and Leading Edge have been more than happy to work with us for the benefit of the wider industry and they continue to do so.”

However, the public spat continued when, on 27 July, Showcase followed up with another email to suppliers denying the raised issues in the Expertise Events letter.

The Showcase email advised suppliers that if they had “made a decision to attend the Fair because you thought Showcase would have space there, that change was not due to a decision by Showcase. We would have loved to be there as we had planned.”

The email added, “As Showcase said last Thursday [email issued 23 July], we will continue to encourage our members to attend the Fair.”

Many people were left confused by the dispute because it appeared that Expertise Events had offered, and was continuing to offer, Showcase free space at the Sydney fair while at the same time Showcase was encouraging its members to attend the fair even though the group would not have a lounge presence.

Readers were also left wondering why there was a public dispute, especially since both parties had reached an agreement by Wednesday 12 August.

Carson Webb, general manager of Showcase Jewellers, and Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director of Expertise Events, issued a joint announcement on that day, which stated, “As always, there will be a dedicated lounge for Showcase members' exclusive use at the fair again this year.

“This is great news for everyone and the jewellery industry with both parties looking forward to welcoming you to the fair again this year. We also look forward to working within the spirit of a unified industry with all groups and associations to ensure we continue to develop and deliver the best outcomes for everyone.”
 

Moving forward

With the Showcase and Expertise Events fiasco resolved, attention moves to Australia and New Zealand’s three buying groups and their plans for the upcoming IJF – held from Saturday 29 August to Monday 31 August.

Nationwide Jewellers, Showcase and Leading Edge Jewellers have revealed a range of member events, seminars and gala dinners for this year’s fair. See below for an overview.

Nationwide Jewellers
Colin Pocklington, Nationwide Jewellers managing director
Colin Pocklington, Nationwide Jewellers managing director

In keeping with tradition, Nationwide will again host a number of seminars during the trade show, with members encouraged to attend morning briefings at 8:45am on Saturday and Sunday. The sessions will provide details on the buying group’s latest marketing initiatives, special fair deals and the 2016 conference venue.

Other presentations will cover topics including coloured diamond trends and values; how to read and analyse retail management software reports; and diamond-training workshops conducted by Gem Studies Laboratory director Bill Sechos.

Nationwide managing director Colin Pocklington said Sechos’ workshops had become a regular and popular fixture at the jewellery fair, adding, “[This year] we have added workshop 5 – man-made and enhanced diamonds – as this is a very relevant topic, with many jewellers wanting to know more about the treatments and detection.”

Nationwide has also developed a mobile app to be used at the fair, the details of which will be kept confidential until opening day.

The buying group’s annual member dinner will be held on Sunday evening at Doltone House, Hyde Park.

Showcase Jewellers
Carson Webb, Showcase Jewellers general manager
Carson Webb, Showcase Jewellers general manager

Showcase will conduct its annual three-day conference immediately prior to the fair from Wednesday to Friday. The program includes a Q&A panel of industry specialists discussing the current ‘face’ of retail; store owner and sales manager training; and a preferred supplier buying day.

A black tie gala dinner will also take place on Friday 28 August at Luna Park’s Crystal Ballroom. In addition to the Retailer of the Year and Supplier of the Year awards, the 2015 member dinner features the biennial Showcase Jewellers Design Awards event.

During the fair, the buying group’s lounge area will provide a space for members to consult with head office personnel and network with other industry participants.

Leading Edge Jewellers

Leading Edge Jewellers is also running its annual conference across the three days directly before the fair.

Joshua Zarb, Leading Edge Jewellers general manager
Joshua Zarb, Leading Edge Jewellers general manager

Leading Edge general manager Joshua Zarb said the event schedule included retail training programs, “state of the nation” reporting, guest speakers and its preferred supplier buying day.

Winners of the Leading Edge Group Jewellers Diamond Awards will also be announced during the buying group’s gala dinner held at Fairground Follies on Wednesday 26 August.

“Our night is themed around a vintage circus, whereby we will be entertained with some special side show acts, indulge in themed gourmet food stations and will be presenting our Diamond Awards for Supplier of the Year, Member of the Year and Store of the Year for 2015,” Zarb explained.

The Leading Edge members lounge is open for existing and prospective members to visit throughout the IJF. Attendees are able to receive training on the buying group’s new online B2C system, B2B buying site and marketing programs.

“Our management team will be mentoring our members and setting them up for the Christmas trading period,” Zarb added.

Each buying group has also announced the addition of several new preferred suppliers that will be exhibiting at the fair. Some of the recent recruits include World Shiner to Leading Edge and Miglio Designer Jewellery and Abrazi to both Nationwide and Showcase.

More reading
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Nationwide supports big spenders at Sydney jewellery fair 











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Monday, 16 December, 2019 07:20am
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