The CEO Forum

The educational programs at The JCK Shows have been signal accomplishments. Though designed primarily for retail jewelers, some also apply to the manufacturing and wholesale sectors of the industry. Regrettably, because the education program comes immediately before the shows, few exhibitors are able to attend.

The pressure involved in preparing for a trade show is intense at the exhibitor level. And that intensity grows when you arrive on site and have to deal with all that inevitably goes awry.

However, the CEO Forum at the Phoenix Show would have yielded valuable insight to those selling to retail jewelers. The Forum, a moderated discussion for jewelry storeowners, featured Jeff Corey, CEO of Day’s Jewelers in Maine; Bill Sustachek, CEO of Rasmussen’s Jewelers in Wisconsin; industry analyst Ken Gassman; and veteran industry observer and writer Russell Shor, now GIA’s industry analyst. This panel focused on items of concern to the CEOs and industry observers.

The connection between exhibitors preparing for a trade show and the panel discussion topic is this: Where else could you have the opportunity to learn of the principal concerns of two thoughtful retailers and two industry observers in a give-and-take format? And laced throughout the discussion was a presentation and subsequent commentary by Tiffany Schlain, CEO of The Webby Awards, on the growing importance of the Internet at the retail level—in particular, how retail jewelers can bring consumers to their stores through effective use of the Internet.

The point is that running a successful manufacturing, distribution, or retail business requires knowing and understanding what’s going on with your clients.

The following is just a sample of the useful information participants received at the Forum:

The Internet and building trust for retailers and manufacturers:

  • Listing affiliations (AGS, GIA, JA, AGTA) on your home page

  • Brand names you carry or represent

  • Major credit cards accepted

Buying “e-words” for your area from Google:

  • Diamonds, diamond engagement rings, wedding rings

  • Jewelry

Good new books to read:

  • Trading Up: The New American Luxury by Michael Silverstein and Neil Fiske

  • Call of The Mall by Paco Underhill

Employee matters:

  • Hiring, scheduling, objectives

  • People skills, communication

  • Awards

  • Mystery Shopper Programs

If all this sounds intriguing, be sure to take advantage of the educational programs offered at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas. We guarantee you’ll come away challenged, energized … and loaded with good ideas.

fdallahan@reedbusiness.com