Expert advice on making the most of your time and money at this year’s JCK Las Vegas show
1. Plan to spend at least a few days at the show. “The first time I attended, I went for only a day and a half, and I didn’t get anything done,” says Scott Mathis, owner of K.S. Mathis Jewelers in Downers Grove, Ill. “You need a full day just to get your bearings.” And depending on where you’re coming from, travel time can eat up quite a bit of the journey.
2. Stay in the same hotel as the show hosting the majority of the vendors you want to see. “We’ve stayed farther away, and parking was horrible, and it was so hot I thought we were just going to die,” recalls Rosalee Eles, vice president of Crown Fine Jewelry in Scottsdale, Ariz., of her first visit to the show.
3. Dress in layers. “It’s freezing cold inside and blazing hot outside!” says Melissa Oster, co-owner of Oster Jewelers in Denver.
4. Wear comfortable shoes. “If your feet are hurting by 2 p.m., you’ll quit looking,” Mathis says.
5. Limit your time at booths, especially if the goods aren’t a fit for your store. “Exhibitors will eat up an hour of your time if you let them,” says Benny McNair, owner of McNair Jewelers in Gadsden, Ala. If lines aren’t important for your store, spend five to 10 minutes looking, “and then move on,” he says. “You have to be selective—like buying a car.”