Is new jewellery show JGF-Europe perfectly pitched or too ambitious?
The global calendar of jewellery trade shows is undeniably busy but that has not hindered the creation of a new European show JGF-Europe, which will launch during BaselWorld 2014. Kathryn Bishop hears from the JGF-Europe’s senior vice-president Wolfram Diener about what the show has to offer.
When UBM Asia announced plans to launch its 12th global jewellery trade show it revealed it was not about to do things by halves.
Firstly UBM, organiser of the Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fairs, Japan Jewellery Fair and shows in Turkey and India, revealed plans to launch its first trade event in central Europe. Secondly, it decided to launch the inaugural show to coincide with the dates of BaselWorld 2014.
And so between April 1 to 4 2014 the first ever Jewellery and Gem Fair Europe, or JGF-Europe, will take place at the Messe in the southern German city of Freiburg, just 30 minutes on the fast train from the Swiss city of Basel where the world’s largest watch and jewellery show, BaselWorld, is held.
Many visitors to BaselWorld already stay in Freiburg and its environs owing to its transport links to and from Switzerland, a fact sure to have contributed to UBM Asia choosing the city.
JGF-Europe’s senior vice-president Wolfram Diener spoke to Professional Jeweller about the show, describing it as an important move for the company. “With reference to our market research, UBM Asia confirms the need of a comprehensive sourcing fair covering a wide range of jewellery products and serving all of Europe,” he says. “We are confident the fair will bring quality exhibitors and equally important, serious buyers from around the world.”
At present JGF-Europe has about 300 confirmed exhibitors from 25 countries. Those set to show range from manufacturers and wholesalers of finished jewellery to loose gem suppliers, packaging companies and firms offering tools and equipment. “JGF-Europe is positioned as a fair which is complimentary to BaselWorld’s brand building position,” states Diener. “It will enable buyers to easily visit two European fairs in one trip in sourcing product with different price range.”
UBM Asia said it has about 80% of the show’s target number of exhibitors for its debut and while the list is not yet complete, a few exhibitor names have been released including Pranda, Thien Po and Friedrich Binder.
The show will also feature nine group pavilions showcasing product specialities from countries including India, Italy, Thailand and the US.
So what do jewellery firms and buyers in the UK think of this new show and its potential? Jewellery and watch distributor Daniel Ozel of Unique Jewelry is used to showcasing product at the UK trade shows and attends BaselWorld with Festina, a watch brand distributed by Unique Jewelry in the UK. He believes the show has been positioned not at the German market, for which he believes Inhorgenta largely exists, but instead the global contingent visiting BaselWorld. “I know that a few Basel exhibitors want to move there,” Ozel says. “We ourselves will probably not exhibit there but I will go and visit to see how the show is.”
Ozel believes UBM’s decision to launch the show at the same time as BaselWorld is not a bad move, especially as a shuttle bus will be organised to pick up visitors from Switzerland and the local train station in Freiburg.
“The reason some exhibitors want to move to this show is the high costs of exhibiting at BaselWorld,” Ozel adds. “There are certain sizes and standards that the stands have to be [at Basel] and to be honest the show has changed a lot in the last 10 years. Smaller exhibitors and in particular those in the silver market have been pushed away by the changes made at the show.”
It is possible that the silver and gold jewellery manufacturers who were once an important reason for jewellery buyers to visit BaselWorld are now finding that their place at the Swiss show has been marginalised in favour of watch brands, and so the launch of JGF-Europe is a timely, exciting and fresh alternative show.
Tustains co-director Tom Milner typically stays 30 minutes from BaselWorld when visiting the show. “If we were staying [near Freiburg], I may add a day to check it out but I don’t find the offer at JGF-Europe compelling enough to distract me from what is the main buying focus of BaselWorld,” he states. “I think people put a lot of energy into BaselWorld and adding this into the mix will be a step too far for most.”
Professional Jeweller spoke with a number of other UK jewellery companies about the show, including present or former BaselWorld exhibitors. Some said they would be sticking with BaselWorld for the time being, at least for the 2014 show, and spoke of their uncertainty as to what JGF-Europe could offer. A concern that was mentioned repeatedly was the fact that many companies, upon discussing the show, felt that it might have been created with watch companies in mind, despite being marketed as a jewellery and gem show. This is a particularly significant point when more and more jewellery brands and trade associations are reporting that retailers are completing their watch buying before paying attention to jewellery. However Diener firmly states that watches will not be part of JGF-Europe’s offer in form.
With the launch of JGF-Europe eight months away there is plenty of time for buyers and brands to plan a visit and for the show itself to reveal more information to entice retailers. The one thing that cannot be denied is that UBM Asia has dared to launch something new and arguably needed to support the industry at a time when all eyes will be trained on Europe.
This article was originally published in the August issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.