The jewelry industry is competitive at every level. It’s also fragmented. There are many producers and many retailers. No one dominates this business; there are always alternatives. Serve the market, serve the client, or go out of business. Competition, therefore, is a very good thing if you are a client or a customer. If you are a manufacturer or a supplier of goods or services, competition keeps you from believing your own press releases. Competition forces you to constantly evaluate how you serve your market.

In 1991, JCK magazine saw an opportunity to offer a different concept to the jewelry industry: a trade show held substantially earlier than had been customary. The launch of a trade show at the end of May in Las Vegas had many people on both sides of the counter shaking their heads. Conventional wisdom held that retailers would be unable to plan that far in advance for the fall selling season, no one would travel to Las Vegas for a trade show, and retailers could not afford to be out of their stores for three or four days. There was also the fear factor: “But you’ll be taking on JA!”

These objections were addressed, and The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas became a significant international jewelry event. Today, exhibitors clamor to gain additional space at the show, beginning during each show for the following year and continuing right up to show time. For a manufacturer wishing to do business in the United States, a space at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas is of paramount importance.

Meeting the needs of 22,000 retail attendees and 3,000 exhibitors—the show’s customers—is no mean feat. Last year show management launched a research project that focused on both groups. The results were presented to JCK’s Advisory Board and were discussed and debated before a course of action was determined.

Meanwhile, a competitor announced the launch of a new show to be held in Las Vegas at the same time as The JCK Show. Readers know that I have a tendency to use the phrase, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” The lesson of competition is: Always take it seriously. JCK Show management and staff responded by communicating with exhibitors and retailers. Meetings were held with exhibitor groups to announce the planned changes, explain their rationale, and answer questions. Similar meetings were held with retailers.

Success in business depends on meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations. This is true for jewelry retailers, jewelry suppliers, jewelry trade show operators, and jewelry magazines. Competition helps all of us as we compete for your attention and your support in the marketplace.

An open marketplace of ideas, products, services, and philosophies creates opportunities to succeed. When competition is absent, the world is a less interesting place. Vying for your customers’ business and meeting their needs and expectations is the driving force behind positive change and growth.