The calendar might be packed but so is the new show’s exhibitor list.
The Jewellery Show London is going to be a major draw for retailers visiting Jewellery Week this month. Rachael Taylor discusses the merits of a new jewellery trade show entering the market.
The calendar for jewellery buyers is already pretty well packed – trade shows, both domestic and international, buying group meetings, trips with brands, and so on – but despite this there is a new contender coming to the fore to try and stake its claim on the buying cycle: The Jewellery Show London.
Set in the surrounds of Somerset House – the same lofty, historic building as used by the more established event London Fashion Week – The Jewellery Show London certainly has an advantage in terms of location, but will it offer retailers enough to tempt them away from their businesses for two days in the capital?
The Jewellery Show London was originally scheduled to launch last year but because the show was only announced about six weeks before it was due to open, organisers i2i – formerly known as Emap Connect – failed to drum up enough interest quickly enough to make it a success, so the idea was shelved. Rather than be discouraged permanently, the team – which is the same as that behind February’s exhibition The Jewellery Show in Birmingham – started work then on the 2012 show and the exhibitor list it has drawn up is impressive for a trade show in its infancy.
The website for The Jewellery Show London boasts 94 exhibitors. Names on the list include some of the better-known brands such as Ti Sento, Rachel Galley, Brown & Newirth, Clogau Gold and Gemex, but there are also some lesser-known brands taking a punt on a UK trade show for the first time such as Portfolio of Fine Diamonds and Lalique, as well as smaller designer-makers including Leyla Abdollahi and Claire English; the mix is pretty diverse. There will also be service providers exhibiting at the show such as the Birmingham Assay Office and TH March.
Other organisations have been quick to jump on the back of the event and use it as an opportune moment in the calendar to host their own events. Buying group Houlden has signed up as a sponsor of the show, The British Jewellers Association will host its AGM during The Jewellery Show London and, perhaps most importantly, Pandora has given the event its full backing and will host its buyers’ meeting in London at a time designed to dovetail with the show. This final display of support is hugely important to the show because the buyers’ meeting is a big draw for retailers so it will ensure that many are in the city at the time of The Jewellery Show London, which could prove to be a coup for the exhibition’s organiser.
Despite all the big industry names attached to the events there have been grumblings from retailers in the trade questioning just how many of their contemporaries will actually be visiting the show, and it could prove that in the first year the event will be a spectator sport rather than an order-writing machine.
On the other hand, i2i could have timed it beautifully. The Jewellery Show in Birmingham has been going through a phase of positive metamorphosis over the past two years led by event director Julie Driscoll, but the one element that has always held it back from truly flourishing as a jewellery show is that it is nestled inside a gift show in the less-than-glamorous location of the Birmingham NEC. Swap the scenario to the one that awaits us this month and we will see a dedicated jewellery show within the glamorous caverns of Somerset House in London, smack bang in the middle of Jewellery Week. It would appear that the organisers have potentially cured both ailments of the February show.
The show will be like no other jewellery trade show in the UK not just because of the location itself but because of the layout that location has forced upon the show. The part of Somerset House being used by The Jewellery Show London is not a single cavernous space but several smaller spaces connected by stairs and passageways, making for a visit more akin to a treasure hunt than a typical exhibition centre – there will be no walking the aisles.
The Jewellery Show London can be accessed by the entrance to Somerset House that lies facing the Thames and the show will be split into two levels. The ground level will house the seminar theatre as well as an area called The Gallery, which boasts “a diverse range of brands and designers”. Up on the second floor visitors will find the catwalk space sponsored by Pandora, the Waterside Studios that is “a mix of leading brands and stylish individual designers”, a VIP area dubbed the Waterside Boutique and the Upper Boutique sector that will host the remainder of the exhibitors.
The timing of another trade show has been controversial. The pro-Jewellery Show London camp claim that June is a striking opportunity in the buying calendar that has yet to be awoken – it would allow retailers to react quicker to changing trends, place long-lead orders for Christmas stock, top up more effectively. The opposition claim it is an unnecessary extra in an already packed schedule of buying opportunities.
These questions can only be answered post event but with a solid line up and a great location it is certainly worth a trip to the capital to decide for yourself.
This article was taken from the June 2012 issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. To read a digital version of this issue click here.