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David Geller

David Geller: Mr. Vegas

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David Geller never thought much of Las Vegas. But some great business, and a few acrobats, changed his mind.

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[h3]Mr. Vegas[/h3]

[dropcap cap=I] never used to go to Las Vegas. To me, the big jewelry shows were either the one in Atlanta or the one in New York.[/dropcap]

In fact, my first trip to Las Vegas for a convention wasn’t the JCK Show. It wasn’t even a jewelry show. Back in 1995, I made a pilgrimage to Vegas for the January electronics show with my uncle and a couple of cousins. What an eye-opener!

If you think JCK Vegas is big, with its 15,000 jewelers and vendors, you should have seen this electronics show, which drew 100,000. Talk about a hard time getting into a room! Talk about crowded aisles! Talk about claustrophobia!

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That trip was also the first time I saw “Mystere” by Cirque de Soleil at Treasure Island. If you haven’t seen it you’re missing the absolute greatest show on Earth.

[inset side=right]Talk about a hard time getting into a room! Talk about crowded aisles! Talk about claustrophobia![/inset]When I came back home, I told my wife Renie and a fellow jeweler about Vegas. They were quickly persuaded: “We’ve all gotta go!” So six months later, I attended my first JCK Vegas. The first trip, we spent four days — the second trip, five days. It takes that much time to come close to seeing all that’s on offer.

Some words to the wise: when you go, wear comfortable shoes. And bring a little suitcase with wheels to store all the catalogues you are going to pick up. (Don’t worry about looking dumb — your shoulders will thank me.)

If you’ve never been to JCK Vegas, you’ve got to make a pilgrimage. Beyond all the amazing products and new tools, it’s a great place to learn — the two days before the show are filled with useful seminars, one after another, lasting from 45 to 90 minutes. In the late 90s, I did a seminar on making money from jewelry repair. The room held 250 people, and it was filled. Jewelers were even standing against the back wall because they couldn’t find seats. I had brought 75 pricebooks with me “just in case” some folks wanted one. I sold all 75 in less than 15 minutes as I walked out of the auditorium.  

Until I sold my store in 2000, I always brought my highest-selling salesperson to the show with me as a reward. This is a great motivator — if you can, do it!

[inset side=left] The fact is, jewelers don’t share enough with each other.[/inset]There are two more reasons you should attend. First, it helps you get out of your shell. The fact is, jewelers don’t share enough with each other. They don’t get out enough, they don’t meet each other, and they end up living in their own little worlds. Vegas brings you back into the world of jewelers — and that’s always an invigorating experience.  

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But the second reason you should go is for yourself and your spouse. You can eat some of the world’s best food, and be entertained by multi-million dollar productions. It’s a chance to have fun and enjoy some of the money you make at the store.

The first time I brought my wife to Vegas, we went the first night to see Mystere. For the first 15 minutes of the show, I just watched Renie’s face as she gazed at the acrobats coming down from the ceiling and listened to the wonderful music. I’ve now seen “Mystere” five times.  

As for deciding what to spend and what to buy, I’ve written that column before. So all I’ll say here on that subject is to remember my motto: “If you bought it in Vegas, you shouldn’t own it next Vegas!”

David Geller is an author and consultant to jewelry-store owners on store management and profitability. E-mail him at [email protected].

[span class=note]This story is from the May 2006 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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