Fiera di Vicenza Unveils Five-Year Plan

The organizers of VicenzaOro First, Charm, and Choice, announced ambitious plans for growth and revitalization this week during its first fair of the year.

The VicenzaOro
First
fair
, Jan. 15–16, in Vicenza, Italy, served as the stage for
organizer
Fiera di Vicenza’s big announcement: a five-year growth
and
revitalization plan.

VicenzaOro First

Dubbed FDV 2011/15 Project, it calls for a face-lift of the
fairgrounds, including the addition of a 15,000-square-meter,
open-floor-plan
pavilion (covering the site of the former Motel Agip, in the vicinity of
the
existing grounds) to accommodate more exhibitors—despite an
attrition of
258 exhibitors total in the past two years. “Even though we lost
exhibitors, we
have no empty spaces in the fair,” says international
marketing
manager Cristina Salvi, who adds that current vendors were eager to expand their
booths.

Other plans include a jewelry museum in Vicenza, a parking facility for the fairgrounds, a
website update, an international design competition, and more
networking opportunities for exhibitors—all efforts to position the group as “best interpreter of Italian DNA,”
according to
a statement, with its shows becoming “places of content rather than
container
places,” or, hubs of activities for the best minds and makers of product
in the
Italian jewelry industry.

VicenzaOro  First new pavilion

A new proposed
atrium in the redesigned Fiera di Vicenza fairgrounds.

“Fiera di Vicenza wants to be the engine of the region’s
economy,” said president Roberto Ditri on opening day. “We are not
just
giving out spaces, we are the interface between Italian companies and
the
world.”

Plans also call for slight differentiation of the three VicenzaOro
fairs—First, Charm, and Choice. First will still target the international
buyers—those from outside of Italy—with the biggest mix of merchandise
and
brands like Roberto Coin. But beginning in 2012, the Charm fair (held in
May)
will begin offering more cost-effective booth space to lesser-known
designers
and manufacturers—consider it a bigger version of Glamroom. “This
makes the
product—to me—more competitive,” says Salvi, who adds that mandatory
uniform
booth space—unlike in Choice and Charm—levels the playing field for all
firms. Finally,
Choice (in September) will still cater to primarily domestic, Italian
retail
operators looking to acquire higher-end, more handmade inventory in time
for
the holiday season.

VicenzaOro First

The new
proposed 15,000-square-meter, open-floor-plan
pavilion to be added to the Fiera di Vicenza fairgrounds.

“The
distribution channels are changing, and jewelry is being sold in fashion
stores
now,” says Salvi. “We want the May edition to be less expensive, and to
be just
about the product, possibly offering new business opportunities that
will
appeal to concept stores.” Closely timed and competing international
fairs like
Luxury at JCK
in Las Vegas, May 31–June 6, also impact Fiera di Vicenza’s
decision to make May’s format more appealing to emerging talent. The new
Charm
format could also be an opportunity for some companies to “invest in
other
markets,” says Salvi, by sitting out the spring edition and allowing
emerging
talent—perhaps with lower-priced goods—to comprise that body of
exhibitors.

Meanwhile, a newly launched VicenzaOro Italian Club will
help Italian companies participating in exhibitions abroad capitalize on
their
heritage—their Italian DNA—through a unique presence and community feel.
Participants
needn’t be VicenzaOro exhibitors to join the Italian Club, but they must
either
design or make jewels in Italy. The Italian Club will debut at the JCK Las Vegas
2011
show in Mandalay Bay with the existing 150 vendors
participating in the
former Italian Pavilion. Also of note: This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, further emphasizing
the
significance of uniquely Italian products.

Some $29 million—from the city and province of Vicenza (located in the Veneto region of Northern Italy), the local
Chamber of Commerce,
and Fiera di Vicenza—is being invested in the plan, which kicks off next
month with
construction starting on a 600-space parking garage.