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Three buying groups have committed to participating at this year's International Jewellery & Watch Fair (IJWF).
Three buying groups have committed to participating at this year's International Jewellery & Watch Fair (IJWF).

Buying groups confirmed for Sydney Jewellery Fair

This year’s International Jewellery & Watch Fair (IJWF) will be supported by Nationwide Jewellers, Showcase Jewellers, and the country’s newest buying group Independent Jewellers Collective, organiser Expertise Events has confirmed.

Gary Fitz-Roy, managing director Expertise Events, said the fair was an opportunity for the Australian jewellery industry to reconnect and heal following a devastating year of bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IJWF is scheduled to take place from 12–14 September at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney, with Fitz-Roy expressing confidence in governments rolling back COVID-19 restrictions and border controls in the coming weeks.

“As each week goes by we are increasingly confident that both Federal and State government restrictions are being relaxed. We have had indications the Queensland borders will open by 10 July and we believe exhibition centres will have staggered openings from July in Queensland and NSW,” Fitz-Roy said.

"[Expertise Events is] ready to go for a successful fair and we are equally waiting to take advice from the [NSW] State Medical Officer as the rules are changing weekly, and by the time the IJWF comes around the rules will be different from today," he added.

Fitz-Roy emphasised that the participation of three of the four buying groups – which together represent more than 550 jewellery stores and more than 460 members – was critical to achieving the goal of reconnecting and reuniting the jewellery industry.

Gary Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events managing director
Gary Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events managing director
"I thank the two oldest buying groups and our newest group for having a vision and concern for the future of the industry and understand the need, especially this year, for the industry to stand united"
Gary Fitz-Roy, Expertise Events

“I would very much like to acknowledge the support and encouragement from Nationwide and Showcase over many years for showing their commitment to help jewellers thrive and prosper,” Fitz-Roy said.

Colin Pocklington, managing director Nationwide Jewellers, said, “The IJWF is the main industry event each year, so we all need to do our best to support the industry, particularly in these difficult conditions.”

Carson Webb, general manager Showcase Jewellers, added, “The importance of getting together and planning for the Christmas period should never be underestimated. It’s been one heck of a ride so far in 2020 so this would be fabulous as a positive get-together.

“Networking, preparing product and range offerings for Christmas, communicating with our partners and retailers, and specifically sharing our challenges and wins over this difficult period, will be essential.”

Independent Jewellers Collective (IJC), which was established in January 2020, will make its debut appearance at the fair, with CEO Joshua Zarb telling Jeweller, “This is an exciting year for IJC as it will be our chance to tell our story and cement our place in the jewellery industry. We always set out to be a smaller, bespoke group of proactive retailers and suppliers and although we hadn’t factored a pandemic into our opening timeline, we hit our starting numbers and couldn’t be more excited to get to the fair.”

Notably, Leading Edge Group Jewellers (LEGJ) is yet to confirm its participation at this year’s event.

Simon Lane, CEO Leading Edge Group, said, "We are looking at attending again this year but are looking for assurances around social distancing measures to protect our staff and members. We are in discussions with the event manager as to how we might participate and how they intend to promote and market the event this year."

He added, "In these tough times in this industry, we are all keen to ensure that there is a good return on investment on all expended promotions and this event is no exception. We believe it remains a relevant attraction for our membership.”

Read more: 'Sydney fair set to 'heal' the industry »

Fitz-Roy said, “This is both surprising and disappointing given that we supply the floor space free of charge to Leading Edge, as we have always done for the buying groups."

“Regardless, I thank the two oldest buying groups and our newest group for having a vision and concern for the future of the industry and understand the need, especially this year, for the industry to stand united with no expectations other than to reconnect and celebrate.”

However, he emphasised that LEGJ would still be welcome to participate: "Subject to space availability, the door is open for Leading Edge to join the other three buying groups in presenting a united front at what will likely be the first major jewellery industry event of the year."

For the first time, the IJWF will be held in conjunction with the Spring Gift & Lifestyle fair, allowing retailers to visit two shows at the same time and at the same venue.

IJC’s Zarb called the fair a “perfect opportunity” for retailers looking to top up ranges and find new stock for the Christmas season: “I think the entire industry will look forward to this year’s fair, as it genuinely will be the first time for many of us to view new products ‘in the flesh’.”

Pocklington advised that Nationwide would send out a detailed Fair program for members in late July. “There will be a strong focus on supporting members with business and marketing strategies for the important trading months ahead,” he added.

"The September fair will be an ideal lead-in to the busiest retail sales time of the year and we aim to arm jewellers with fresh and new ideas to assist their businesses to bounce back"

Meanwhile, Fitz-Roy said that a Retail Summit focusing on strategies and education would be a key feature of the show this year, focusing on recovering from the COVID-19 crisis.

“The September fair will be an ideal lead-in to the busiest retail sales time of the year and we aim to arm jewellers with fresh and new ideas to assist their businesses to bounce back. We have also completed a new program called Expertise Safety Matters which is our plan to ensure we do everything we can to cater for the safety and wellbeing of our exhibitors and visitors and whilst we come out of COVID-19 restrictions,” he explained.

In addition to increased safety and hygiene measures, Fitz-Roy noted that the pandemic may result in fewer international suppliers attending the show – presenting an opportunity for local suppliers to more closely connect with retailers.

He concluded, “We understand and appreciate what small businesses have gone through over the last four months given we are also a small family business. And equally we also know that we have to look to the future not to the past and together we must plan what the ‘new normal’ will be like.”

Details and registrations for the International Jewellery & Watch Fair are available at www.jewelleryfair.com.au.

UPDATED 3.45PM: Subsequent to publication, Gary Fitz-Roy responded to the statement from Leading Edge Group Jewellers: "We've made it very clear to Leading Edge that we will comply with all state and federal government health requirements – the health and safety of our clients and the attendees of the fair is our first priority. As far as Mr Lane's comment about the marketing of the fair, we have successfully run the event for nearly 30 years, so I find his comment misguided."

 

 

More reading: 
Sydney Jewellery Fair set to 'heal' the industry
Buying Groups Report 2020: Strength in numbers
New jewellery buying group formed

 


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