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JCK and Luxury Drew 30,000 Visitors

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(PRESS RELEASE) NORWALK, CT – JCK Las Vegas, the jewelry industry’s largest North American trade event, wrapped its 2018 installation earlier this month. This year’s LUXURY and JCK shows brought together over 30,000 visitors from 110 different nations of industry professionals who experienced JCK’s all-encompassing collections of jewelry, timepieces, technology, services and gemstones from over 2,300 exhibitors that occupied one million square feet of exhibit space. 2018 marked the final exhibition at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino before the 2019 relocation back to the renovated Sands Expo and The Venetian. 

“The mood was clear; from both retailers and exhibitors alike, it was optimism,” said Reed Jewelry Group Senior Vice President Yancy Weinrich. “This and several other buzzwords and topics permeated the show: innovation and adaptation, broadening the consumer landscape, lab-grown diamonds and De Beers, sustainability, high quality attendance and networking, and the 2019 move to the Sands Expo and The Venetian, to name a few.”

Innovation, Optimism and Adaptation – Reaching the Changing Customer

“This year, our theme at LUXURY was focused on innovation in retail and the in-store experience,” said Event Vice President JCK and LUXURY Sarin Bachmann. “We selected speakers and planned events that showcased how retailers can bring better experiences back to their stores to engage and draw in new customers. Throughout LUXURY, retailers were able to participate in experiential activations which set a positive mood for the duration of the events.”

LUXURY commenced on Wednesday, May 30, with a kickoff breakfast hosted by Bachmann. Keynote speaker Johnny Earle, the founder of Johnny Cupcakes, supported the theme with an invigorating presentation on the out-of-the-box concepts he employed to launch his t-shirt and apparel brand into a multi-million dollar operation with a worldwide following. From hand-written notes, scented business cards, and Alfred Hitchcock stamps to experiential social media giveaways and brand partnerships, Johnny Cupcakes has spread his name around the globe with unique tactics to create a resounding buzz.

“We were so pleased to see the energy and success from the [email protected] selection of talented jewelry artisans and consumer-driven design brands. We added this area to the show in 2017 based on retailer feedback seeking a larger design presence to discover.” Bachmann adds, “We continued to enhance the artisanal offerings by successfully debuting the new Greek Jewels section, which showcased some of Greece’s most gifted jewelry designers.”

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The JCK show opened on Friday, June 1st with the first ever Industry Trends Breakfast, hosted by Weinrich and sponsored by Signet. Within the event, Weinrich presented the highlights of the first annual JCK State of the Jewelry Industry Report, a detailed summation of findings from a survey conducted by GFK of over 500 participants comprised of retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers and designers. The results revealed an overall positive outlook towards the future of the industry, while also citing the key challenges felt by the industry*. Signet CEO Virginia “Gina” Drosos delivered a fervent discourse on the importance of embracing diversity and innovation in business, especially in the jewelry industry, which she feels has fallen short as of late. Drosos urged the industry to meet the demands of all customers, specifically identifying the Hispanic market and same-sex and unmarried couples.

Lab-Grown Diamonds – Responding to Consumer Demand

The highly attended JCK Talks Keynote Lunch on Laboratory-Grown Diamonds presented by De Beers further identified the consumer demand for diamonds that are both accessibly priced and traceable. As the consumer, especially the millennial consumer, becomes tenaciously mindful of ethical sourcing and sustainability and, of course, price, the call for brand compliance becomes an integral portion of business success. Lightbox Jewelry, De Beers’ direct-to-consumer lab-grown arm supplied with diamonds grown by Element Six, will strive to bridge the knowledge gap that lives within the lab-grown sector and will offer transparent pricing in direct ratio to cost of production.

In line with these notions, JCK expanded upon its staple neighborhood offerings to accommodate changes in consumer demand and evolving retail market. The 2018 show floor was enhanced with the co-location of JIS Exchange, as well as the new partnership with Palm Beach Show Group to include a Las Vegas Estate Jewelry & Watch Pavilion. JCK also introduced a dedicated destination for lab-grown diamonds, providing buyers with choices for all gemstones – real, rare, and grown – to ensure that the retailers meet the demand of any and all customers. JCK partnered with Jewelers Security Alliance (JSA) to launch a new neighborhood that features tailored security solution providers to keep jewelry businesses safe. Alongside these new destinations, JCK set forth a Retail Experience neighborhood with a collection of suppliers whose products and services transform the retail shopping experience. Exhibiting companies included Yelp and eBay, among others.

Buyers and Brands, Buyers and Buyers: Connecting People with People

JCK Las Vegas 2018 held over 70 events, from networking to education, including the JCK Talks series which offered opportunities for peer-to-peer discussions and learning opportunities.  Other highlights within JCK Talks included Retailer Roundtables, Sip and Learn Social discussions, and an Afternoon with the Associations where the experts covered the industry’s most requested topics. Additional notable educational events included the JCK Think Tank as well as the annual Rapaport Breakfast and GIA Sessions. 

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Celebratory networking events were plentiful and included the following highlights from the week:

  • Diamond Empowerment Fund’s “Diamonds Do Good” Gala
  • Jewelers For Children’s “20th Annual Facets of Hope Dinner”
  • JCK Bling Happy Hours
  • JCK Rocks the Bowl
  • Le Vian’s “Red Carpet Revue 2019 Jewelry & Fashion Trend Forecast”
  • Mix & Mingle Happy Hours
  • Platinum Guild International’s “Fall in Love in Platinum – The 5th C: Wedding Jewelry Trends”
  • Plumb Club’s “Breakfast Symposium” and “Gala Evening”
  • Rappaport Breakfast-“State of the Diamond Industry – The Buy Side” 
  • WJA, Gen Next and AGS Young Titleholder Mix & Mingle

JCK Match, the newly enhanced matchmaking program, successfully paired retailers with exhibitors based on their sourcing needs. For an opening purchase of $50 or more that a buyer made with one of their recommended vendors, they received $50 US. For each additional purchase made with recommended vendors, they earned a spin at the new JCK Match wheel, a prize wheel boasting various awards, including $10,000 in merchandise credits, and creating a tangible buzz on the show floor. In conjunction with this program and other modifications to the show, exhibitors have reported vast improvements on ROI this year versus previous years.

Carol Wexler, of Crystal Cocoon Designs, a winner of the $10,000 Match wheel prize, “JCK Match really encouraged me to seek out all of the potential new diamond suppliers that JCK matched for me. The whole concept did exactly what it was supposed to do; it resulted in me shopping more, spending more and helping me find some great new diamond suppliers!”

For exhibitors and retailers alike, JCK proved to be the jewelry event of the year. To celebrate the success, JCK launched a new content campaign called “Why I JCK” which began to roll out its presence over digital advertising, Insider Blog content, social media, print campaigns, onsite signage and more.

Enhanced Tools and Looking Forward

2018 saw the introduction of other new tools to streamline show navigation. The “Bling Brigade” debuted this year, a re-imagining of the “Ask JCK” service that existed in prior years. Adorned in eye-catching sparkles, this squad canvased the floor to both provide show information for visitors and to generate bursts of energy and excitement throughout the day. In the JCK Mobile app, customers were able to text their questions to Bling on demand through “Ask Bling”.

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In 2019, LUXURY and JCK Las Vegas will return to its origin at the newly renovated Sands Expo and The Venetian. JCK Las Vegas looks forward to unveiling their new logo to coordinate with an overall fresh and modern show look and feel at the new location. There, it will offer even more advancements, curating everything a retailer could need – all under one roof, including a Global Gemstone Pavilion, which includes 80% of the current gemstone exhibitors, plus a new International Gemstone Pavilion in partnership with the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) and the at-show delivery vendors from the JIS Exchange show who will have their own designated area. Other prominent JCK exhibitors have demonstrated their eagerness for things to come with long-term commitments: Forevermark, ICA, Le Vian, Plumb Club, Prestige and Stuller have all signed multi-year contracts to exhibit.

“The move to Sands Expo and The Venetian is because we continue to listen to our customers,” says Bachmann. “The major decisions and future enhancements to the show in 2019 are based on customer feedback gathered from post-event digital surveys, the JCK & LUXURY Advisory Boards, retail store visits by JCK staff, and more. The exciting changes and innovations coming in 2019 are all being shaped by customer input and insights.”

2019 dates will be announced shortly. 

For more information, please visit www.jckonline.com/lasvegas or call 203.840.5684. 

Full survey results available for purchase at jcklasvegas.com/industrysurvey.

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