My Favorite Mistake: Jewelers Recall Their Biggest JCK Las Vegas Blunders

Nobody’s perfect, and jewelers are among the first to admit it, particularly when it comes to America’s biggest jewelry trade show. With its football field–size exhibition space—first at the Sands Expo, and now at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino—JCK Las Vegas has overwhelmed many an attendee. Here, seasoned showgoers share their foibles, so you can avoid similar blunders.

The Tao of the Long-­Distance Traveler

A few years ago, Philip Grillo, owner of Grillo & Co. in Towson, Md., stayed at a hotel “a taxicab ride away” from the show instead of a place within walking distance. “Why I did that I’ll never know,” he admits. He wasted time traveling between the hotel and show—but he won’t make that mistake again.

Lacking a Plan of Attack

Chrysa Cohen, an owner of Continental Jewelers in Wilmington, Del., still regrets her lack of preparedness for the 2007 JCK show. She didn’t create her plan of attack for the show floor or bring her folder containing client wish lists. As a result, she met with fewer vendors, had zero time to shop at her leisure, and ultimately went home wishing she’d accomplished more. “I had to catch up at night after dinner, re-creating where I’d been,” she says.

All Work and No Play…

Grillo recalls working too hard during the 2008 show and neglecting to budget downtime into his schedule. “I popped out at night to eat, but then I just went to sleep and didn’t take advantage of all the fine entertainment in Las Vegas,” he says. For example, he wanted to see Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles show, LOVE, but didn’t. Several months after JCK Las Vegas, he flew back to Sin City to see what he missed. “Next time, I will take an extra day or two and enjoy Las Vegas,” he says.

Just One More Day

Five years ago, John Weeks, owner of Arthur Weeks & Son Jewelers in Peekskill, N.Y., allotted himself only two and a half days to work the fair, when he really should have set aside three or four days. “It’s just too big, with too many vendors, to cover it in less time,” he says.

No Reservations

Like many other attendees, Ashok Taank, owner of A&J Jewelers in Snellville, Ga., has procrastinated and booked hotel stays too late in the game. One regrettable booking required him to take taxis to and from the fair. “It was a mess,” he recalls. Of course, forgetting your own advice can be detrimental. “This year we are in MGM Grand simply because we did not book early enough,” he sighs. “I’m dreading it.”

Shoe Business

In 2007, Continental Jewelers’ Cohen, who’s attended JCK Las Vegas since its inaugural year, had a lapse of judgment when she wore a pair of three-inch heels to work the show. By lunchtime, she arrived at a vendor’s booth and blurted out, “Oh my gosh, I can’t take another step!” Though she worked the rest of the day in the shoes, she cut dinner short that night, much to the relief of staffers. “I don’t suffer silently,” she deadpans.