The Australian Jewellery Fair ran over the weekend and has been declared a success. The boutique-style event, which was sold out four weeks before opening, was promoted as “Kick Start 2022”.
The event was held in the same room as last year’s event at Sydney International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour and Gary Fitz-Roy managing director Expertise Events said it “hit the mark”.
“There was a definite upbeat feel from the opening to close on both days, with strong reports of very good buying on the show floor.
“It seems all businesses have been riding a rollercoaster and, after starting to recover from COVID restrictions, lurching from bush fires to the latest flood issue, sometimes you can’t help but think, ‘Give us a break’, but like most Australians the jewellery sector is very resilient,” Fitz-Roy said.
He explained that the success of the tradeshow was “helped by the NSW government’s easing of QR codes and masks, so it was great to see smiling faces. Saturday night Happy Hour was very much appreciated and was certainly a small celebration.”
At the commencement of Happy Hour, and when everyone had a drink, Fitz-Roy took the opportunity to ask the exhibitors and visitors to pause and salute industry icon Peter Beck – who passed away last year – as many of his industry friends and colleagues were unable to attend the funeral in Adelaide because of COVID border restrictions.
David Paterson, managing director of Paterson Fine Jewellery said the fair was great result for all involved: “It was terrific to see so many people we haven’t seen for a long time and all came together to listen to some of the sad but inspiring stories of our friends and peers who are doing it tough with the recent floods.
“However, there is lots of resilience and positivity. We had a great weekend with sales and we are now really excited about what we can expect in August.”
According to Mike Dyer, sales manager, Retail Edge, “The show was great. The atmosphere was warm and exciting, a bit like a gathering of friends that had seen each other for a while.”
He added, “The traffic [visitor numbers] was good for both days and for us there was a good mix of existing clients and new opportunities. The exhibitors around us all expressed that they had been busy and did good business. Retailers were there to spend,” he added.
Greville Ingham national sales manager Peter W Beck said, “It was nothing short of an ‘uplift’ is how I would describe the AJF this past weekend.
“Despite so many being affected by the recent floods and suppliers being hampered by COVID and travel restrictions, people came together to support the industry and a “get on with it” attitude in a good Aussie spirit. The show was pervaded by a sense of positivity, loud banter, slaps on the back and lot’s of great complements for the product on display. Well done to all!”
There was a good cross section of retail buyers with Erin Keller, membership manager Nationwide Jewellers confirming that “the energy in the room was amazing! Our members attended from all over the country, from Toowoomba to Mudgee to Launceston, and they were just as excited to see us and suppliers, as we were to see them!”
Josh Zarb CEO Independent Jewellers Collective said that overall he was “very pleased by the vibe and the atmosphere throughout the whole show.”
He was another who said that the show was well supported. “I was surprised on how busy the show felt overall on both the Saturday and the Sunday. It seemed to open with a bang right from 10am on the Saturday and didn’t slow down at all over the two days.
“The [ICC] room felt like it was the perfect size and I am sure that all suppliers would have had a fantastic result.”
Vera Jarjo jewellery services relationship manager at Pallion also said it was great to see old and new faces over the two days.
“We have missed this personal interaction due to COVID and it is fantastic to be engaging with clients again. The lead scanning tool was a welcome addition to the fair and we look forward to connecting with these clients post event,” Jarjo said.
Both Nationwide Jewellers and Independent Jewellers Collective took the opportunity to use Kick Start 2022 to kick-off their group’s activities for the New Year.
Nationwide Jewellers managing director Colin Pocklington said, “Our members benefitted from our workshop program and enjoyed the chance to meet suppliers face-to-face with again. The high level of retailer attendance and busy aisles translated into good sales for exhibitors.
“The attendance and results from the March fair augers well for the IJWF at Darling Harbour in August.”
Zarb added: “We use the fairs to meet new stores of course, and just as importantly to catch up with our members. We hosted a function on the Friday evening prior to the fair and it was so nice to have over 30 of our IJC partners join us over the weekend.
“We used the fair to have the opportunity to spend time with our retailers.”
Fitz-Roy said that final planning is well underway for the August International Jewellery fair and, “If the weekend’s results are anything to go by it will be well and truly to complete coming together.”
He said the three key buying groups – Nationwide, IJC and Leading Edge – all had space on the show floor and will be hosting membership activities in and around the three days.