Optimism was prevalent at Pier 94 during the Bridal 2005 show, sponsored by Lustre and Modern Jeweler magazines and Cygnus Expositions, despite light attendance from retail jewelers and about 90 exhibitors. “But the right retailers are here,” explained Carrie Fraser, associate project manager, Exposition Division, Cygnus Business Media, Burnsville, Minn., about jeweler attendance at her company’s new show.
The idea behind this bridal-only show, which took place March 20–22, was to feature only merchandise and vendors that were appropriate for the bridal market, which can account for up to a third of jewelers’ businesses. An impressive educational agenda, including speakers from InStyle Weddings, TheKnot.com, and wedding event planner Preston Bailey, also took place over two days of the show. Exhibitors were of luxury status, including Tacori and Imperial Pearls.
Feedback from vendors during the show was generally positive, despite low foot traffic. Shopping retailers were relaxed, from established stores with strong businesses, and were attentive to educational offerings. Alternatively, security in the vendor parking lot was a little light, retailers may have been a bit more interested in the seminars than they were in exhibitors’ wares, and the entire show could have benefited from more marketing in general.
Observations aside, vendors were upbeat about the idea of a bridal-only show. “A bridal show this time of year makes sense,” says Bruce Pucciarello, salesman, Novell, Roselle, N.J. “The successful shops that are playing it right knew this was the right show to come to,” adds Grace Karaguezian, director of sales, Kirk Kara, Los Angeles.
In the end, several new accounts were opened: Imperial Pearls, East Providence, R.I., opened seven; Epoque, N.Y., opened five; Sholdt Design, Seattle, opened two; and Novell was confident that it would close three by the last day. New York–based House of Baguettes counted its success differently: Midway through the show, it had sold a tray of six heavy diamond bracelets, and by the show’s end, the diamond jewelry maker had sold a necklace and matching bracelet worth several hundred thousand dollars.