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MJSA Expo Draws Buyers “In a Spending Mood” for the Latest Jewelry-Making Equipment, Supplies, & Services

More than 3,000 buyers crowded the aisles for 3 days.

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(PRESS RELEASE) “Attendance was excellent, and people were in a spending mood” is how Dave Siminski described the atmosphere of the 2019 MJSA Expo, the industry’s longest-running show dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design.

Siminski—the vice president of sales and marketing at United Precious Metal Refining in Alden, New York—was among the many exhibitors at this year’s show, which ran March 10-12 at New York City’s Javits Center. Over the course of those three days, more than 3,000 buyers crowded the aisles searching for not just the latest equipment, supplies, and services for jewelry making and design, but also business solutions.

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“People were really looking for solutions and buying, and they wanted to talk about how to improve their businesses,” said Andrea Hill, MJSA’s designer advocate and president of the Hill Management Group, which provides strategic consulting and marketing services to small and mid-size companies. Hill had conversations with buyers throughout the show—many of which took place at the MJSA Designer Collaborative booth, where she and art/business consultant Marlene Richey offered free advice—and she found that attendees “wanted to know how to reduce costs without reducing quality, and how to invest wisely, even if they were concerned about cash flow.”

“In past years I think all of us who attended shows heard a lot of moaning and groaning about how tough things were,” she said, “and this wasn’t a ‘moaning and groaning’ show. It was positive and solution oriented.”

As it’s done for the past four years, Expo ran simultaneously with the JA New York retail show. In fact, the two shows were closer than ever, in a new space separated by only a short walkway. And that proximity seemed to make a difference.

“Being connected to the JA show—truly connected—was a big help,” said Shawn Albert, the trade show/product manager at Stuller Inc. in Lafayette, Louisiana. “We got a good mix of both customers…. We probably wrote 20 percent more business than we did last year.”

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Not only did the JA attendees head onto the Expo floor, but so did the manufacturers and designers exhibiting at the retail show. For all of them, the lure was simple, as Siminski aptly summarized: Expo, he said, “is the toy store, offering everything from software and services to tools and gemstones. And everyone wants to come see the toys.”

And, of course, they want to play with the toys. And that’s exactly what Expo’s attendees did over the course of three days. Whether louping a 3-D printed model or examining a casting tree, testing the grip of a handpiece or graver, or just sorting through the myriad gemstone choices, Expo attendees were able to touch, test, and inspect every item on display, and to see them in action.

Jonathan Young, CEO of Orion Welders in Payson, Utah, discovered this firsthand. His company used Expo to introduce the DADO laser welder, a benchtop unit priced below $4,000, and he found people “lined up” to test it.

“We had all three DADO welders going often,” he said. “The traffic was amazing—it was steady from opening to close. We didn’t even have time for a quick break, even though we had two full-time staff.”

Expo attendees were also able to learn how to best use those tools and supplies—as well as improve their businesses— thanks to the expertise offered by this year’s seminar presenters. The educational program opened on the first day with a panel discussion, “Where Does Custom Design Go from Here?” Presented by members of the MJSA Council of Custom Jewelers, which guides MJSA’s efforts to advance the art and creation of custom jewelry, the session focused on the various models of today’s custom businesses, from traditional retail stores to virtual shops.

Several members of the council came back the next day to present a series of “Jeweler’s Bench” sessions. The council’s chairman, Lee Krombholz, and its director, Joel McFadden, demonstrated various stone-setting techniques, while a third council member, Gary Dawson, delivered a session on computer-aided design (CAD) and 3-D printing.

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Other seminars included:

  • “What’s New in Responsible Sourcing,” a panel discussion led by Andrea Hill and featuring some of the industry’s leading advocates for the responsible sourcing of diamonds, precious metals, and colored gemstones. The panelists included Mark Hanna, CMO of the Richline Group; Susan Wheeler, founder of the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference; Stewart Grice, vice president of mill/refining with Hoover & Strong; Brandee Dallow, North America consultant for the Responsible Jewellery Council; and Patricia Syvrud, manager of the University of Delaware Minerals, Materials, & Society program.
  • “You’ve Lost That Handcrafted Feeling: Heart and Soul in a CAD World,” a session in which Scott Bradford of the Rio Grande Tech Team explored how designers can employ the latest CAD/CAM technologies while still maintaining a design’s creative spirit.
  • “The Importance of Freehand Jewelry Design,” a hands-on lecture delivered by Rémy Rotenier, a classically trained designer renowned for his mastery of the freehand style. (One attendee, upon leaving the session, was overheard saying enthusiastically, “I need more, I need more!”)
  • “Platinum Casting: Methods, Alloys, and the Role of Design,” in which Teresa Fryé of TechForm Advanced Casting offered advice for how to achieve successful, predictable castings.
  • “Celebrating the American Jewelry Design Movement,” an overview of the last 40 years in contemporary U.S. jewelry design, presented by Marlene Richey.
  • “CAD, CAM, & Casting: Celebrating Best Practices, Debunking Myths, and Achieving Cleaner Castings through Chemistry,” a session in which J. Tyler Teague
    of Proto Products and JETT Research explored the chemistry between resin models and production molds, as well as how to engineer a CAD design for production.
  • “Tracking Your Digital Advertising,” in which Matthew Perosi of the Sapphire Collaborative demonstrated strategies to invest wisely and gain maximum value from digital advertising efforts.

The sessions were recorded, and many will soon be available on the MJSAExpo.org website.

The 2020 MJSA Expo will take place March 15-17, again at the Javits Center. For updates, visit MJSAExpo.org.

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WJA Announces 2019 Awards for Excellence Honorees

Annual gala set for Monday, July 29, during New York’s summer jewelry trade show week.

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Stellene Volandes, Mark Hanna, Carol Pennelli

(PRESS RELEASE) The Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA) has announced its 2019 honorees for the association’s annual Awards for Excellence gala, to be held Monday, July 29, 2019. The gala will once again take place at Pier 60 on the Chelsea Piers in New York City, and will continue its new Visionary format and event design for the second year.

“The Visionary Awards’ revamped program was an incredible success for WJA last year and we’re thrilled to continue this new tradition with our truly remarkable honorees in 2019,” says Jenny Luker, WJA board president. “Our Visionary Awards will go to women who have been trailblazers and the driving forces of leadership in their companies. Our Cindy Edelstein Mentorship Award will go to a man who provides exemplary support and mentorship to women.”

The two individual WJA Visionary Awards will be bestowed on Carol Pennelli, president, David Yurman; and Stellene Volandes, editor in chief, Town & Country magazine. Previous Visionary Award recipients are Mercedes Abramo, Cartier; Caryl Capeci, Hearts On Fire; Nadja Swarovski, Swarovski; and the partnership between De Beers Group & UN Women.

Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer, Richline Group, will be presented with the Cindy Edelstein Mentorship Award. Hanna is the fourth recipient of the award which was established in 2016 after the passing of Cindy Edelstein, a longtime WJA member who dedicated her life’s work to the development, encouragement, and enrichment of the lives of women in the jewelry industry. This is the first time the award recipient has been announced before the event. Previous winners of the mentorship award are Bev Hori (2018), Peggy Jo Donahue (2017), and Cindy Edelstein (posthumously in 2016).

Carol Pennelli is the president of David Yurman, overseeing all functions outside of design and creative. She reports directly to David Yurman, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of the brand. Pennelli joined the company in 2002 as chief commercial officer, where she oversaw all aspects of David Yurman’s commercial channels, profit and loss, and general performance, including retail, wholesale, digital, and outlet businesses. Prior to joining David Yurman, she served as senior vice president of sales, education, and global special events at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.

Stellene Volandes was named editor-in-chief of Town & Country magazine in 2016. Before her appointment, Volandes had been style director at the magazine since March 2012, and before that she was jewelry & accessories director. Previous to her work at Town & Country, Volandes was style editor for Departures magazine starting in 2003. Volandes is a graduate of Vassar College, and holds a master’s degree in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. Her book, “Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design,” was published in 2016 by Rizzoli.

Mark Hanna is chief marketing officer of Richline Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company. He chairs Berkshire Hathaway’s Sustainability Leadership Committee and is an active speaker and advocate on responsible issues at events such as the UL Responsible Sourcing Summit, MJSA Expo, Pure Earth, and the Jewelry Industry Summit. He serves on various boards including the Mercury-Free Mining Challenge, the Responsible Jewellery Council, the Special Olympics, and the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance. The CMO Club named Hanna the 2015 and 2018 CMO of Year, Corporate Social Responsibility.

“WJA congratulates our honorees for their distinguished achievements. The elevated event experience we’ve been able to present through the Visionary Awards program runs parallel with the strides WJA is making programmatically for its members. We’re leading the charge for progress in areas that matter most to women in the industry: mentorship, gender equality, financial support through scholarships and grants, and making connections,” says WJA Executive Director Bernadette Mack.

At its annual Awards for Excellence gala, WJA brings together industry leaders for a social evening that also raises money for its scholarships and grants for women. A silent auction will again be mounted to raise additional funds for these important causes. Sponsorships for the gala are currently available. Please contact WJA Executive Director Bernadette McGovern Mack at: bernadette@womensjewelryassociation.com. Tickets to the awards gala will go on sale later this month.

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WatchBox Partners with Les Ambassadeurs

The partnership brings expertise in the secondary watch market to one of the industry’s most esteemed luxury watch sellers.

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(PRESS RELEASE) PHILADELPHIA, PA – WatchBox, the leading global platform for pre-owned luxury timepieces, announced a partnership with Swiss watch retailer Les Ambassadeurs. The partnership brings expertise in the secondary watch market to one of the industry’s most esteemed luxury watch sellers. Les Ambassadeurs represents the first retail institution in Switzerland to formalize a program for the thriving pre-owned category, and with this announcement, WatchBox further extends its global presence across Switzerland’s most historic and vibrant cities.

The worldwide secondary apparel market–both buying and selling pre-owned items–has experienced remarkable growth in recent years, with expectations to reach USD $41 billion by 20221. Financial consultancy Kepler Cheuvreux estimates the current global market for pre-owned watches alone to be worth upward of USD $15 billion annually, and WatchBox has earned its position as the front runner for the luxury watch category. With showrooms and trading floors in the United States, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Neuchâtel, Switzerland, WatchBox formally launched an authorized dealer network in the United States in December 2018 with California-based Hing Wa Lee Jewelers. The partnership with Les Ambassadeurs represents the next phase of strategic growth for the company.

Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store
Headlines

Rooftop Burglars Take Everything from Jewelry Store

Video: No, I Won’t Help You Commit Fraud … But Thanks for Throwing Water in My Face
Cullen Wulf

Video: No, I Won’t Help You Commit Fraud … But Thanks for Throwing Water in My Face

Video: When Should a Jeweler Fire Someone?
Jimmy Degroot

Video: When Should a Jeweler Fire Someone?

WatchBox Global President and Chief Operating Officer, Amanda Ellison, remarked, “The vision for WatchBox is to create a truly connected global marketplace, instituting a standard of excellence for both product and service within the pre-owned category. By bringing WatchBox to a global stage, we can offer a broader inventory to a greater network of consumers, while hiring and partnering with the most talented traders and retailers in the industry, and achieving economies of scale. We are delighted to forge ahead with Les Ambassadeurs as a strong, forward-thinking partner.”

As an authorized WatchBox dealer, Les Ambassadeurs will offer comprehensive services and consultation for watch trading and buying, as well as access to browse and purchase from WatchBox’s unsurpassed inventory of certified pre-owned watches. Les Ambassadeurs’ buying, selling, and trading services commence in early May at the company’s locations in Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, and Lugano, Switzerland. And WatchBox’s extensive inventory will soon be presented on lesambassadeurs.ch in the WatchBox Digital Corner, as well as through interactive digital showcases in Les Ambassadeurs’ boutiques across Switzerland’s most prominent cities.

“We are thrilled to enter into this innovative partnership with WatchBox,” Joachim Ziegler, CEO of Les Ambassadeurs, shared. “It was very important for us to not just be a first mover in Switzerland in the pre-owned market, but to also offer an unparalleled service for our clients. They will thus be able to buy, sell, and trade pre-owned watches in our boutiques as well as online, all backed by a 15-month warranty and the trusted expertise of two industry leaders.”

WatchBox’s partnership with Les Ambassadeurs signifies a strategic investment in the growth of the category, uniting the primary and secondary watch markets at their highest levels; an in-store presence with incredible digital support, and a customer-first mindset built upon trust, transparency, and education.

Danny Govberg, co-founder and CEO of WatchBox, affirmed, “WatchBox is thrilled to bring our pre-owned buying, selling, and trading practices to Les Ambassadeurs. Their well-earned reputation extends far beyond Switzerland, and their embrace of the pre-owned market supports WatchBox’s founding thesis that the future of the watch industry is in the true merging of the primary and secondary watch markets.”

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Stuller Now Certified Member of Responsible Jewelry Council

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(PRESS RELEASE) LAFAYETTE, LA – Prime manufacturer, Stuller, announces that it is now a certified member of the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC), the foremost standard setting and certification organization for the jewelry industry.

“Ethical sourcing, supply chain transparency, workplace safety and other similar issues, are of increasing concern to more and more consumers and businesses,” says Stanley Zale, vice president of diamond and gemstone procurement. “The RJC Code of Practices helps the jewelry industry meet these challenges, and we knew we needed to be a part of it.”

RJC Executive Director Iris Van der Veken said, “It is with great pleasure to announce that Stuller has achieved certification against the RJC Code of Practices. We are proud that our membership continues to reflect companies of all sizes from across the supply chain. We commend their commitment to responsible business practices and the positive impact this has on the jewelry industry.”

“Stuller is committed to responsible jewelry practices,” says founder and CEO Matt Stuller. “When joining the RJC in 2016 our ultimate goal was to show our unwavering commitment to our customers and employees. It is truly an honor to be a part of such an important organization in this industry.”

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