Trade Shows

RETAILERS BUY CAREFULLY AT MIDAS SHOW IN DALLAS

Name: Dallas Fine Jewelry Show by MIDAS (Manufacturers, Importers, Diamond Dealers and Associates Show).

Date: Sept. 16-18.

Location: Market Hall, Dallas, Tex.

Attendance: 330 exhibitors, 10% more than in 1994, with 350 product lines in 379 booths. About 15% of vendors were first-timers at MIDAS, including a few from Mexico and Canada. Buyers totaled 3,847, up about 10% from 1994.

Ambiance: “A sweet little show” is how Janisue Maynard, executive director of MIDAS, described it. MIDAS President Jack Beck said: “We’ve found our niche. Retailers and exhibitors know what to expect and what we can do. We’re getting back a lot of retailers who had soured on Dallas jewelry shows [by other operators] in years past.”

And Steve Wayne of Kurt Wayne Inc., New York, N.Y., added: “The fact they’re increasing exhibitors [up 22% in two years] indicates they are doing something right.”

Security was tight, signage was good and the show featured a designer section and Discovery Island showcase of new items. A layout of rows of “cubes” (four vendors to each) gave almost every exhibitor a corner location.

Business: A number of exhibitors said buyer traffic seemed lighter than last year, but the final tally showed a 10% increase. Almost all were independent jewelers from the TOLA region (the show’s primary target of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas), though some came from as far away as Nebraska and Tennessee.

A few vendors suggested the JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas in June has siphoned away buyers. But Maynard disagreed. She and a number of exhibitors said the region’s economy has slowed from last year. Maynard also said the aisles were intentionally larger this year, making the traffic seem lighter.

Regardless, retailers came to Dallas with jewelry on their minds. They didn’t buy heavily, but came to replace specific items or to look for specific designs. As a result, business was satisfactory, but not outstanding, said most vendors. Among exceptions that had very good business were Allison-Kaufman, a diamond jewelry manufacturer in Van Nuys, Cal.; Hirsch U.S.A., a watchband supplier in West Caldwell, N.J.; and first-timers Dimension Trading Inc. (Southwest distributor of Adidas, Ellese and Helvina watches) and D.K. Jewellery of Canada. “A lot of the jewelers who went to Vegas are here reordering,” said Herb Lewis of Allison-Kaufman. “That means they’re doing business in the TOLA region.”

Still, MIDAS officials and vendors agreed that more needs to be done to attract buyers to the show. “Retailers need to know the Dallas jewelry show is back,” said Pat Henneberry, Southwest regional director for the Diamond Promotion Service. “This is the best run, most user-friendly, cleanest, most comfortable regional show, with hotels within walking distance and entertainment for retailers at night. It has every ingredient for a strong show. People just need to know about it.”

Toward that end, MIDAS did preshow advertising and direct mailings to Kansas, Illinois and Nebraska for the first time this year.

Professional training: Preshow seminars included “The Ultimate Success Formula,” “The Diamond Success Team,” “Enhanced & Fracture Filled Diamonds,” “Estate & Family Planning,” “Top 10 Display Mistakes” and “Training a Professional Sales Staff.” Despite a strong curriculum, most sessions had low attendance. MIDAS is reevaluating the seminar program and may make some changes for 1996.

Social notes: The Southwestern 24 Karat Club celebrated its 35th anniversary on the first night of the show with a black-tie dinner at the Wyndham-Anatole Hotel. Some 600 guests attended.

The second night of the show featured a champagne reception and An Evening with the Phantom, with highlights from the musical Phantom of the Opera and popular songs from other musicals by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was performed by members of the Los Angeles cast of Phantom, flown in specially for the one-night performance. More than 1,200 retailers, vendors and guests attended.

Show notes: A silent auction raised almost $6,000 for the Center for Battered Women, the largest Texas provider of services for victims of domestic violence.

Next year’s show will be Sept. 7-9 in Market Hall.

PLANS PROCEED FOR JA LAS VEGAS!

More than 1,000 exhibitors have signed up for 1,650 booths at JA Las Vegas!, a trade show scheduled Jan. 10-12 in the Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nev.

The new show is sponsored by Miller Freeman Jewelry Group, publisher of National Jeweler magazine, and Blenheim Group USA, producer of the JA International Jewelry Shows. The show is sponsored by Jewelers of America and the California Jewelers Association.

According to show producers, the combination of location, positioning and timing fills a gap in the roster of industry events. (The Jewelers International Showcase is scheduled Jan. 20-22 in Miami Beach, Fla.; the Tucson gem and minerals shows begin the last week of January and Blenheim will present its winter New York show Feb. 3-6.) Producers plan to move the show to late January/early February beginning in 1997.

The National Jeweler Magazine Conference will be held as part of the show. Called “How to Prosper Alongside the Jewelry Super Sellers,” the conference will offer separate tracks on business development (focusing on marketing and operations) and on diamond industry concerns. The Jewelers of America Center for Business Studies will offer its Certified Store Manager Review and Exam for preregistrants. And the Gemological Institute of America will present an all-day session on synthetic diamonds and gemstone enhancement.

To register, call (800) 528-7017. For more information on the show, call (212) 615-2600.

PLUMB CLUB PLANS PAVILION AT JA SHOW

The Plumb Club will introduce a new pavilion for members at the JA International Jewelry Show in New York City Feb. 3-6.

The 33,000-sq.-ft. pavilion will have booths for 30 companies, private conference rooms, a lounge with complimentary refreshments and a business center with telephones, fax and copy machines.

“The Plumb Club Pavilion will offer buyers a pleasant ambiance, creating an excellent selling environment on the show floor,” says Marvin Markman, president of Suberi Bros. and chairman emeritus of the Plumb Club. “This is the first time the Plumb Club will exhibit [as a group] in New York, and we are excited about the attention it will receive from retailers.”

FAIR TO FEATURE WORKS BY WOMEN

The Celebration of Craftswomen will showcase the work of more than 300 women Dec. 2-3 and 9-10 in the Ft. Mason Center, San Francisco, Cal. The holiday crafts fair will feature precious metal jewelry, sculpture, decorative ceramics and glass, woven clothing, household accessories and toys.

Larsen Associates, 360 Ritch St., San Francisco, Cal. 94107; (415) 957-1205, fax (415) 957-1520.

FOREIGN SHOW UPDATE

More than 43,400 buyers and 2,000 exhibitors attended the International Autumn Fair, held Sept. 10-13 in Birmingham, England. Exhibitors said business was good all four days of the fair. Next year, the spring edition of the fair will be held Feb. 4-8, with the autumn edition scheduled for Sept. 8-11. Trade Promotion Services Ltd., Exhibition House, Warren Lane, London, SE18 6BW, United Kingdom; (44-181) 855-9201, fax (44-181) 855-3506.

Orogemma, held Sept. 9-13 in Vicenza, Italy, closed out a successful year for the Vicenza Trade Fair, according to organizers. More than 10,000 buyers attended Orogemma, including 2,000 foreigners, up 8% from last year.

The Autumn International Frankfurt Fair, held Aug. 26-30 in Frankfurt, Germany, attracted more than 100,000 buyers from 106 countries. Non-German exhibitors were more pleased with business than their German counterparts, according to organizers. In the jewelry sector of the multitrade fair, pearls and amber were the biggest trends. The 1996 Frankfurt fairs that include jewelry sectors will be held Feb. 24-28, Aug. 24-28 and Nov. 7-9. Messe Frankfurt, 200 Galleria Parkway, Suite 790, Atlanta, Ga. 30399; (770) 984-8016, fax (770) 984-8023.