Hole-in-one: Industry sentiment positive after Australian Jewellery Fair

Hole-in-one: Industry sentiment positive after Australian Jewellery Fair - Artificial Jewellery

Event organisers have described the Australian Jewellery Fair (AJF) as a striking success, as members of the industry travelled from near and far for two days of trade on the Gold Coast.

The fair concluded at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on 25 March. With around 70 exhibitors participating, the event was well-supported by two of Australia’s buying groups.

Expertise Events managing director Gary Fitz-Roy said he was taken aback by the popularity of the event.

“It was a positive experience. The opening day was a shock. At certain stages, it felt like a consumer show with the number of people who couldn’t wait to get inside,” he told Jeweller.

“The most important feedback we’ve received so far is that many exhibitors opened new accounts, which is great to hear.”

The event’s ‘open model’ — with the use of tables and dividers reducing costs associated with the construction of stands — was well received by suppliers.

In recent years, the AJF has been held in Sydney, and Fitz-Roy said the move to the Gold Coast felt like a breath of fresh air.

“We were willing to try something new this year and take a different approach, and clearly, the move to the Gold Coast has had an impact. I think it’s a perfect location this time of year,” he said.

“It’s given us an excellent understanding of the industry’s current state, which will be helpful as we prepare for the International Jewellery Fair [IJF] in August.”

Planning for the future

Among the many visitors to the AJF was Showcase Jewellers managing director Anthony Enriquez. This visit led to perhaps the event’s most significant announcement – the buying group’s return to the IJF in Sydney.

Enriquez said that speaking with visitors reaffirmed his confidence that the prevailing adverse economic conditions would change sooner rather than later.

“I expect that we’ll see an improvement before this time next year; I think consumer confidence will begin to improve by the fourth quarter,” he said.

“Between September and December, consumer confidence will begin to rise. Hopefully, this will set up retailers everywhere for a nice Christmas period.”

Australasia’s largest jewellery industry buying group, Nationwide Jewellers, hosted its annual Timeout Conference in Broadbeach on 22-23 March. Expectations were high before the conference and fair, with more than 200 registrations secured a fortnight in advance.

Independent Jewellers Collective also had a significant presence at the fair after hosting a partners conference on the Gold Coast.

The theme of the IJC conference was ‘Let’s work smarter’, with education sessions covering advances in marketing, succession planning, and artificial intelligence. CEO Joshua Zarb said the event renewed his confidence for the year ahead.

“We had a fantastic conference, and the trade fair was great afterwards. On Sunday, I had an appointment at 10 am. Around 20 minutes in, I looked up, and there was this massive wave of people entering the room,” he said.

“It was awesome to see. It was a fantastic fair. The sentiment among the members of my group who I spent time with was very positive, and I think with the holiday period out of the way, everyone is keen to get stuck into the year.”

Sales and sunshine

Another participant in the fair who was quick to report on the optimistic outlook of visitors was Ken Abbott of Timesupply, who said that the popularity of Coeur De Leon and Nomination has continued to increase. 

Reflecting on the fair, he said that the open model encouraged communication between exhibitors and visitors and that it was pleasing to see the number of retailers who embraced the Gold Coast as a destination.

“We opened more new accounts than we have in a long time, and among some of our existing accounts, we introduced them to new brands, so it was a very positive experience,” he said.

“I would say that the vast majority of people that we spoke to — I would say 80 per cent of them – were very positive and good at adapting to the new world.”

He added: “I like the location and the theme of it being a bit of a ‘holiday’ with business and pleasure combined. I think that’s a great draw card for time-poor business owners, and the success of this event is evidence of that.”

Emphasising the social components of the event – which included a sun deck with chairs and banana lounges, as well as a putt-putt golf event sponsored by Gerrim – was also crucial to Fitz-Roy.

“I think everyone enjoyed the extra activities; they added to the fun of the fair,” he said.

“After the chaos of Christmas and the holiday period, retailers are looking for a relaxed environment. At this time of year, it’s important to unwind and recharge.”

The industry’s attention will now turn to the International Jewellery Fair in Sydney on August 17-19 at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Darling Harbour.

For further details and registration information, visit jewelleryfair.com.au.


Australian jewellry fair –  Highlights


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Sales and sunshine: Australian Jewellery Fair heads to Gold Coast


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