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Article: Las Vegas Jewelry week: Premier Tradeshow 2019

Las Vegas Jewelry week: Premier Tradeshow 2019

Las Vegas Jewelry week: Premier Tradeshow 2019

Las Vegas Jewelry Week is one of the largest and most widely recognized jewelry trade events in the Country. It's an opportunity to get together in person and meet all those cool jewelry people that you follow on Instagram! Haha well it's more than that really. There is no substitute for connecting in person. Like a lot of things in business, it is all about the people you know. How do you get to know anyone if you are a jeweler/designer who is working really hard in your studio, but struggling to get the word out about your brand? For me I had to step out of my bubble and go to Vegas!

These events take place at various locations around Las Vegas and are only open to others in the jewelry trade. What this means is that the events are not open to the public. To gain access you must either prove that you are a buyer and plan to resell the items that you are shopping for, are someone with press/media covering the event, or another designer looking to scope out the show to potentially participate in the future. 

The Collective is a trifecta of three shows in one including Premier, American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), and the Antique Jewelry and Watch show.

The end result of having a booth at a show like this is super polished and professional.  I thought I'd show just a little bit of what actually goes into getting to that point. For those who have a lot of experience doing tradeshows, this process would go much smoother, but for me a lot of this was new. I've worked for other jewelry brands, but it is different when you are doing everything yourself and your way.

Preparation begins at my studio finalizing all designs that I will be taking with me and making sure I have a sample ready to go in Sterling Silver as well as 14 Karat Yellow Gold. A trip to the art store with my assistant to pick up supplies for the booth is also in order. Just kidding, she was not helpful and dragged her feet the entire time!

In the past a lot of my jewelry was made to order, meaning I stocked very little finished inventory. This meant I needed to stick to a timeline and create a set number of pieces every week (in addition to my usual custom jobs and retails orders) in order to have all of the samples completed in time for the show. I had about three months or so and this didn't really feel like enough time. I had new designs that I wanted to bring, but they just weren't ready in time and I didn't want to rush them.

Having as many physical samples on display is critical to selling that item and making the most out of the show. It is easy to point to a design in Sterling Silver and tell someone that "this design is also available in 14 Karat Yellow Gold", but unless they can see it and hold it, the likelihood that they will purchase it in gold is much slimmer.

A lot of wholesale buying takes place over the internet these days, but buyers who value and attend trade shows also appreciate the tangible, in person experience and so I wanted to capitalize on that. Jewelry buying or picking up a new line is an incredibly large investment for a store and so it makes sense to want to experience and view each piece in person. I still believe there is no better substitute. 

I wanted to have some recent imagery to use on post cards and marketing materials. With a little help I photographed all new designs on white background as well as some additional shots with props and textures. 

There is an incredible amount of administrative work behind getting things set up to begin to wholesale. A long time a go I put in place a process to assign a sku number to each design (thank god) but creating a proper line sheet from scratch can almost be a full time job for someone. A line sheet is a document containing an image of every design that you carry with details on price, metal type, gemstone type, and every size,  length and variation that you offer. These can get pretty lengthy and fast!

Stores needs a line sheet in order to have all of the information they require to place an order and know exactly what you offer. This also serves as a reference for them as a selling tool.  It helps them communicate specifics to the end customer like carat weights of gemstones and whether they can order it in another size if something doesn't fit.

Here I am outside of my house laying out what a 5'x10' booth footprint actually feels like. It might seem silly, but for me these things help me to plan and lessen my anxieties about what things are going to look like once I get to the venue.

Several more art store visits with this one (where is the laugh/cry emoji face on this Blog template?!). I actually cut a piece of canvas to the dimensions of the display case and painted it Ombré fading from grey to white and guess what?! You couldn't even see it once the jewelry was on top of it. Ugh.

Here I measured out the dimensions of the display case and did a trial merchandising run. Yes that's a cardboard box propping it up on the left. I didn't have a table long enough to lay it out! You guys I never said the behind the scenes was pretty. 

I showed up to the convention center and yes everything fit into those two roller bags. 



It would be an understatement to say that I was with like-minded people at Premier. I had the coolest, talented booth mates Linda Hoj, Caroline of Jolly Bijou , and Mia Chicco making incredible work each with their own unique voice and personality showing through in each piece of jewelry. 

A lot of hard work goes into preparing for a show like this, but it was also truly a lot of fun once I got there. The coordinators of the show had put together Idea Labs consisting of presentations and talks with Industry leaders in various aspects of the jewelry community. 

      • Benjamin Guttery of Third Coast Gems and Liz Kantner, marketer and advocate for emerging designers (and show coordinator among other things) gave helpful tips and advice surrounding utilizing social media in an authentic way to get out of your bubble and reach more people and the right people with your content. They reiterated the importance of connecting to your audience through the use of video and storytelling and not fixating on the perfectly edited jewelry image!
      • Monica Stephenson of ANZA Gems together with gem cutter Beth Stier and Jennifer Maxwell (of Leigh Maxwell Jewelry) spoke about the importance of supporting and empowering the communities of people that are responsible for mining the gems that we use in our jewelry and making sure they are valued and taken care of by establishing an ethical supply chain.
    • Grace Lavarro, owner of Jewels by Grace spoke about how she left her corporate job to pursue her own business that now specializes in rare and antique diamonds, estate jewelry as well as contemporary engagement rings. She emphasized the importance of building relationships and trust with clients as well as supporting other women in an industry that was at one time dominated by men.

I also got to see more original oil paintings by Angie Crabtree at AGTA and chat about our love of French Bulldogs!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by my booth, said hello, chatted about the jewelry or came to see my Sundial Ring IRL :) Thanks also to my sweet mother who flew across the country to assist at the show. Finally thanks to Liz Kantner and Morgan Miller who pulled out all the stops in order to curate the ultimate Designer section.

If you'd like to see more of my time at Premier 2019 you can check out my Instagram Highlights.


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