Golden Years: Looking to the Future of JCK Las Vegas

Since its move to Mandalay Bay in 2011, JCK Las Vegas has committed to improving the show experience for buyers—with much success

It’s been five years since JCK Las Vegas and its sister events, LUXURY and Swiss Watch, vacated the Sands Expo & Convention Center for bigger, brighter digs at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. This year, the floor plan is shifting again to accommodate a slew of redesigned and expanded “neighborhoods” meant to enrich the shopping experience. JCK senior vice president Yancy Weinrich gives us the lay of the land.

JCK: Now that the show has settled into Mandalay Bay, what’s the big takeaway for attendees?
Yancy Weinrich: The Mandalay Bay convention center itself is a much better place to do business for the jewelry industry because it’s a much more beautiful venue and it allowed us to better design the floor on all levels. We were also able to bring all the industry events under one roof—like Plumb Club and the IDCA [Indian Diamond & Color Stone Association] party—because it’s a bigger, better event space. Plus, the LUXURY show was able to expand its footprint and make a bigger presence by remaining in one location for seven days.

JCK: Have you already started thinking about what’s coming in 2016?
YW: The show continues to have a wait list, and with the expansion of the convention center targeted for completion in 2016, we’re being mindful about how to grow it. Some of the areas that show promise are the Design Center, Swiss Watch, Clockwork, and Now/Next.

The fifth year at Mandalay Bay promises to be more action- (and jewelry-) packed than ever!

JCK: All the JCK editors are excited to explore Now/Next, the new and improved fashion jewelry pavilion. Why was it important to expand it?
YW: We knew this was an area that buyers were increasingly paying attention to because we have tracking devices—we call them quads and mats—beneath the carpet as well as beacons that allow us to track foot activity and cellphone usage. These things indicate the areas of the show that are most trafficked.

JCK: Why do you think fashion ­jewelry is such a growth area?
YW: It’s one of the new realities of retail—people are buying fashion and fine. JCK is the perfect place to learn how to bring your store into the future by selling both. Fashion plays such a role in our world. If you walk down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan now, it’s not just Gucci, Hermès, ­Burberry anymore. Now you’ve got H&M, Gap, Joe Fresh, and it shows that the world is changing. People are shopping high and low, people are mixing. The American consumer is a mature consumer, and they believe in their trusted brands. It’s not about money and price point. It’s about loyalty and trust in a brand.

JCK: How is the show positioning itself in light of the shifting consumer landscape?
YW: We’re doing everything we can through our education program and the show floor design to teach retailers how to apply this knowledge to their stores—to not just walk booth to booth looking for product at a cheaper price. It’s about understanding how to be a better retailer, not just a merchant.

JCK: The jewelry shows leading up to JCK, including the Hong Kong and Baselworld fairs in March, were a little slow. What do you think that means for JCK?
YW: Expectations are high for this year. When the market is slow, typically JCK does well. Whether you’re looking to spend a lot and fill your cases, to be educated, to meet people, or to have a little fun—because it’s not just business, it’s personal—it’s all here at JCK.