Adventures on the Road: Publisher’s Letter, March 2014

The first few weeks of 2014 got the year off to an adventurous start, taking me from the wintry beauty of Italy’s Veneto to the mild warmth of the Arizona desert.

First up was the VicenzaOro Winter show in Vicenza, Italy. Unlike those who arrived for the start of the show and were met with heavy rain, we who attended the latter part were greeted with blue skies and beautiful views of the Dolomites! Energy at the show was high, and the overall consensus among our international manufacturing friends was a feeling that business in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) is slowing, and the focus (and hope) for the coming year is the good old U.S. of A! Here’s hoping they are correct, and that our start-of-year growth is a harbinger of a good year to come.

A highlight of the show was seeing America’s own Le Vian—showing for just the second time at VicenzaOro and positioned prominently in the main entry center aisle. According to Eddie LeVian, the response to his product and the Italian version of his trademark fashion show was strong. Congrats!

After one night roaming the cold, delightfully gloomy streets of Venice, it was back to the States and then off to Arizona. This year’s week in Tucson (and ­Phoenix) was epic, as the new JCK Tucson show at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa added to the already full schedule provided by the Centurion show, AGTA GemFair, the GJX show, and the many other colored stone displays all over town.

Me in Vicenza with JCK sales rep Mirek Kraczkowski, Le Vian chief Eddie LeVian, and Eddie’s son Jonathan

Both Centurion and AGTA appeared strong. (It’s always a good sign when all my clients are too busy writing orders to spend time with me.) According to CEO Doug Hucker, attendance at AGTA was up “3 percent in companies attending and 120 percent in attitude”—a sentiment I agree with. It seems everyone has an improved outlook at this year’s shows, a very welcome change indeed.

Congrats to JCK Events’ group vice president Yancy Weinrich and her team at Reed Exhibitions on a great first edition of JCK Tucson. As promised, the show was “classic JCK,” with a wide range of finished goods, from fashion to bridal, and price point to luxury. It was interesting to learn the traffic patterns: Business was brisk the first day, slowed a bit as AGTA opened, and then rebounded for a very strong finish on the final two days. Overall, the show delivered exhibitors more than 3,200 buyers, and nearly 30 percent of the exhibitors renewed on the spot, indicating that this show is a keeper!

Next up on my calendar is the JA New York show, followed immediately by a week in Hong Kong. See you all along the way!

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