The JIS October show in Miami Beach, Fla., wrapped up on Oct. 22 after a four-day run that—after having to relocate last year to Fort Lauderdale because of venue damage from the 2017 hurricanes—felt like a return to peak form for the enduring jewelry fair.
The revamped Miami Beach Convention Center wasn’t completely done; construction zones existed, but largely out of sight from the show. The rebuild was certainly elegant and added an all-around polish to the show.
A new-this-season partnership with the Centurion South Beach show, which corralled close to 100 high-end brands new to JIS under the show’s roof, also upped the luxury quotient considerably. And the pairing made the show significantly larger: There were 30 percent more vendors in 2018 than in 2017, according to Reed Exhibitions, which owns JIS (and JCK magazine).
But then everything in the 103,000-square-foot show felt vaguely supersized: The Italian Pavilion was 50 percent larger, and Sterling Silver and Affordable Fashion grew so much this season, they splintered into two separate pavilions. And the equipment, technology, and supplies vendors were gathered into JIS’ first-ever ETS pavilion (much like the one you see at JCK Las Vegas).
New-to-show exhibitors, of which there were around 70, were invited to a New Exhibitors Cocktail Hour on the first day of the show to introduce themselves to retailers off the sprawling show floor.
All that newness—and JIS’ uncommonly wide breadth of brands—necessitated a new floor layout. And the resulting configuration was quite easy to navigate.
“We’ve always had the cash-and-carry piece at JIS,” said Jordan Tuchband, industry vice president of JIS, a few days after the show closed. “But this time you had a separation. You didn’t have as many cash-and-carry brands next to order-writing companies.”
Tuchband recalled that he and his team realized a few months ago that, “October would really be the first time since Reed Exhibitions acquired JIS [in 2015] that it’s going to look and feel like a Reed Exhibitions event. And on opening day of the show, that’s what we heard—how much better the show looked, how much the feel of the show was significantly [elevated].”
Attendance for the show exceeded that of the 2016 JIS October show, which was a comparable size, says Tuchband, though official attendance numbers haven’t been finalized.
The show’s growth has much to do with its timing on the international jewelry show schedule. As buying becomes more last-minute (and on-demand) in the industry, JIS’ preholiday slot becomes a more alluring stop for retailers.
Ana Ferreira, owner of Rio de Janeiro–based demi-fine jewelry brand Creative Brazil, had a full booth of retailers when she noted, “I do JIS because there are serious buyers here. Some shows you have kind of a mix of people who are browsing and buying. But here it feels like everyone is looking to buy.”
Tuchband said the quality vetting of attendees at JIS leads the industry. “We’ve always had a ‘quality over quantity’ attitude toward attendance,” he notes. “You may not have shoulder-to-shoulder nightclub aisles, but you can be relatively confident the people who are walking those aisles are there to do business.”
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