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GJEPC Concludes First India-U.S. Jewelry Business Summit in Chicago

May 21, 2015 11:48 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... India's Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) wrapped up its first U.S.-focused Jewelry Business Development Conference on May 3 in Chicago, which attracted  leaders from jewelry retail chains and  diamond and diamond jewelry manufacturers. The goal of the event was to improve business  between GJEPC's members and their U.S. retail customers by gathering a select group of companies to address pressing issues across the pipeline. 

Vipul Shah, GJEPC’s chairman said, “We envision this type of event as an ongoing platform for members of this most critical link in the international fine jewelry supply chain to build one-on-one sourcing relationships and to address broader issues to increase efficiency and profitability within the sourcing process.”

Sohil Kothari, the director of Fine Jewellery Mfg. in  Mumbai, who chaired the event's manufacturer's committee, said,  "We are extremely pleased with the results. Manufacturers and retailers had fruitful individual meetings and worked excellently as a group to address issues of mutual concern."

At one joint supplier-retailer panel discussion,  attendees focused on creating an industry-collective marketing and advertising program to fill the void left behind when  De Beers discontinued generic advertising and promotion  across North America. Conference leaders pledged to report the work concluded from this session to GJEPC  in order to ensure the new coalition's perspective is represented in strategic planning.

Whitney Sielaff, the co-founder of S&B Partners, which organized the conference, said, "Indian supply to U.S. retail is the single largest link in the international fine jewelry supply chain. We're honored to have produced and to be spearheading this conference series as a dedicated working force to tackle issues critical to the ongoing interests of both groups."
Ausaf Sayeed, the Consul General of India’s Chicago office, opened the conference and pledged ongoing support, while reiterating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support for the diamond and jewelry sector. Sayeed also acknowledged the important role the GJEPC plays in fostering ongoing trade development both in India and the U.S. 

Keynote presentations spanned several important topics and included Benjamin Smithee, the chief strategy officer at RELEVENTS in New York, whose topic was “Today's Changing Jewelry Consumer.” Smithee dissected the mindset and actions of generation X and millennial consumers and shared how jewelers need to evolve their business to be more engaged with the intellectual and emotional requirements of those consumer groups.

Ben Janowski, the principal at Janos Consultants in New York, delivered a keynote presentation on "The Ugly, the Bad, the Good...and the Maybes," describing critical industry trends and dynamics affecting the major U.S. retailers and their suppliers.

Barbara Raleigh, the principal at International Design Source in New York, addressed product innovation through the presentation titled "The Design and Fashion Imperative." She discussed  what makes saleable jewelry, including a review of current fashion trends, coupled with which consumers are buying and why,  what they're looking for and  what jewelers must do to stay ahead of the competition.

On the final day of the conference, attendees participated in a town hall style meeting to review the strengths and weaknesses of the event and to weigh in on hot topics to address at future meetings. Organizers stated that suppliers and retailers expressed a high level of satisfaction and called for planning to begin on a similar conference in 2016.




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Tags: events, export promotion council, gem, India, Jeff Miller, jewelers, jewellery, marketing, retailers, summit
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