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Time to embrace and participate in our industry

The decision by two of the major buying groups to cancel their respective buying days and encourage their members to attend the three days of the International Jewellery & Watch Fair (IJWF) is a very positive move for the greater industry.

As an exhibitor of the Sydney trade fair in every year of its existence bar one, Paterson Fine Jewellery is more excited about this year’s event than at any time in recent memory.

Instead of the usual dread about week-long accommodation costs and arguments about how to fill the last day, the thought is now if three days will even be enough time to catch up with customers.

This is an opportunity to hear all about what’s working, what has slowed down, and where we can step in and help, as well as explain our new concepts and ranges that we have been working on since the last Fair.

It’s brave and magnanimous of Showcase and Leading Edge to follow the lead of Nationwide and keep all their members together at the one location.

From a supplier’s point of view, condensing what has been a week-long event into three or four days will save time and money and bring more people together in a positive reflection of what our industry should be.

Previously, a supplier who was lucky enough to be invited to participate in these buying group days committed to a conference in August. It started with getting to Sydney with all your stock and displays for the week ahead, before attending Group A’s buying day, at a random venue.

That rolled into Group B’s buying day at another venue, which rolled into the set-up day of the Fair, where the supplier would need to make sure their booth at the Convention Centre was ready and decorated.

"Relationships are at the heart of everything we do. Our relationships with customers, suppliers, agents and reps – even our relationships with our competitors – define who we are as a business"

Then there were the three days of the main Fair, followed by packing up and bringing all stock and displays back to the office. It was a fun week, but tiring and challenging.

It was a challenging time for members of the buying groups too. They wanted to support their group and take advantage of the camaraderie at the dinners, the marketing training, and the supplier offers and products.

But they might also have wanted to see what was new and exciting at the Fair, and there was the added concern of being away from their store for a full week.

Now, for the first time in a long time, manufacturers, wholesalers, jewellery and watch brands are coming together for one event.

Suppliers can expect more numbers in the one location and be able to focus their time and attention on delivering a more attractive booth, consolidating their stock in one location, and having better offers for all visitors.

And most importantly, they can catch up with friends and colleagues that they don’t get to see as often as they might like, and hopefully form relationships with people new to the industry.

Relationships are at the heart of everything we do. Our relationships with customers, suppliers, agents and reps – even our relationships with our competitors – define who we are as a business and how we are perceived, and hopefully valued.

That is why a united jewellery fair is so critical to our industry and why it is so important that it is not dismissed with the usual excuses: “It’s too far”, “I can’t be away from the shop”, or “I’m not buying at the moment”.

Every person who has used one of these excuses changed their mind once they committed to attending, had a great time, and found it very useful in their business.

Big or small retailer, group member, independent, buyer, seller, on the bench, or on the road – all will be under the one roof for three action-packed days (and nights).

So book your flights. Choose a hotel. Organise your staff roster. Let’s all get together to celebrate the best of what our industry has to offer: its people.

Name: David Paterson
Business: Paterson Fine Jewellery
Position: Managing director
Location: Moorabbin, VIC and Bangkok, Thailand
Years in the industry: 23

SAMS Group Australia

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