The trade show format. For the time being, it’s still an on-again, off-again affair, but here’s hoping gathering en masse over baubles and bubbles may go back to being the rule, not the catch-as-catch-can exception. One we’re very excited to see the return of is Metal & Smith (M&S), which famously bills itself as #notatradeshow and has not had an in-person event since February 2020. Many editors and buyers have come to rely on the event as a haven for undiscovered talent, but it’s not as though M&S has been dormant during the pandemic era. If you spend any time sparkle scrolling on Instagram, you know the opposite to be true.
The priorities: 1) building a community of engaged jewelry designers hungry for information and connection and 2) developing some robust educational programming, from the Jewelry Independent Summit series (the current edition releases Friday) to innumerable short-format Q&As presented as Instagram Stories (accessible in Highlights, these address everything from developing core collections to protecting yourself from burglary when working from home, as designers so often do).
Over the last six months or so, the Q&As have been such a hit with followers that M&S has decided to transition the educational, community-building content to a new arm of the brand that will be known as The Jewelers Handbook. Launching March 1, it will exist as a private Instagram community available to registered users for a $10 monthly fee.
The Jewelers Handbook will focus on content that leverages the perspective and sought-after advice of jewelry industry leaders, something small, independent designers rarely have access to.
The content will rotate every three months. A snapshot of the spring programming lineup:
- Feedback on a variety of topics directly from members of the trade
- Tips for augmenting social media presence. (“Really big topic and steep learning curve,” says Lawson.)
- A tutorial on press releases, line sheets, and other jewelry business tools informed by experts in the field
Designers such as Jane Bartel are excited to use the platform. “I don’t need anyone telling me my jewelry is pretty anymore, I want the truth,” she says. “Metal & Smith had a conversation online with buyers and jewelers that was brutal and truthful, so I appreciate that—the jewelry business is such a hard nut to crack.”
Designer Emily Kuvin is also on board: “I am excited to learn from other designers, editors, buyers, and other members of the trade,” she says. “It’s a crowded field, but I truly believe there is room for everyone to thrive.”
Top: The Jewelers Handbook (aka @the_jewelers_handbook) is a new Instagram content hub available to a community of registered users.
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