Anyone who’s a regular at JCK Las Vegas knows what I mean when I say some years are kookier than others. This was one of those years. I had more random run-ins, chance meetings, and offbeat conversations at the show than I’ve had in the past three years combined—a consequence, I suspect, of my decision to embrace a “say yes” philosophy to anyone who requested a meeting with me before the show.
Among the kookiest people I encountered—and I mean that with the utmost affection—was Liza Urla (aka @Gemologue), the statuesque blonde with the dramatic pearl headdress swanning around Mandalay Bay, snapping selfies with reckless abandon. During the hour I spent with the Russian-born, London-based blogger and Instagrammer, I learned the key to a top-notch jewelry selfie is a winning combination of light, color, and a great manicure.
Read about Urla in our annual “Best in Show” feature, a listing of the 10 coolest, smartest, and most memorable people, events, and products we came across at JCK. (Don’t miss our ode to iridescent gems, notably moonstone, June’s alternative birthstone and a clear designer darling this season.)
Next, check out the series debuting in this issue: “The Ultimate How-To Guide.” From creating a great corporate culture to determining the best places to go trend spotting, we break down the basics of how to staff, how to sell, how to network, how to promote, and how to stock. It’s a must-read for both jewelry newbies and veterans.
Later, we elaborate on “how to stock” when it comes to diamond jewelry—i.e., responsibly. Senior editor Jennifer Heebner tackles the ins and outs of what ethical diamond sourcing means and why it’s increasingly important for retailers who want to connect with millennial buyers.
Speaking of millennials, in Las Vegas, I heard something about the much–discussed demographic that I hadn’t heard before: “What defined the boomer was the home,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group, during an enlightening session on JCK’s Showcase Stage. “For Generation X, the defining product was a laptop. What’s the defining product of the millennial consumer? It’s not a product at all. It’s about being connected. We’re trying to sell them product when that’s not what they’re interested in. It’s about having an experience and sharing it.”
With Melissa and Lance, enjoying a view of Vegas from a balcony high atop the MGM Grand
Here’s the thing: Don’t we all feel that way, regardless of our age? One of the highlights of my week in Vegas was attending a Muhammad Ali tribute party at MGM’s Skyloft thrown by TwentyThree9 Design, a New York City–based manufacturer that just came out with a collection of licensed jewelry featuring quotes by The Greatest.
My cohorts Melissa Rose Bernardo and Lance Pettiford—JCK’s indispensable managing editor and senior art director, respectively—came with me. We proceeded to Instagram our butts off. When I think back to that night, I recall watching the sun set over Sin City, as iconic images of the late Ali appeared in projection against the backdrop of the Strip. Jewelry was the reason we came, but the experience is what I’ll remember—and talk about. Does your store and the experience it offers inspire people to share? Let that be your new litmus test.
Top: Blackbird and the Snow’s Big Full Moon earrings—just one of the many moonstone jewels that caught my eye in Las Vegas
(Gomelsky photograph by Steven Simko)