Rapaport Magazine

Special Delivery

Retailers get a last chance to stock up for the holiday season.

By Amber Michelle
RAPAPORT...The feeling of a 47th Street exchange gave the fourth annual JA New York Special Delivery Show a more relaxed atmosphere than most jewelry shows. Indeed, the cash-and-carry, immediate-delivery show at the Javits Center was filled with 425 vendors in a variety of categories from fine jewelry to costume jewelry. There was also a smattering of vendors selling fur coats, handbags and small leather goods, as well as writing instruments and other gift items, giving the show an almost bazaar-style ambience that was conducive to a more convivial than usual selling floor.

The three-day show, which took place at the end of October, had an eclectic assortment of designer jewelry, Italian designers, Hong Kong manufacturers and mass-produced jewelry. Diamond firms and colored stone bead vendors were side by side, enticing retailers to make last-minute purchases for their stores.

“We do JA and we are happy to support this show,” commented Jeanne Johngren, of the self-named Princeton, New Jersey, artisan design firm. “The traffic has grown. There was good traffic the first couple of days. It’s good to be in front of people this time of year when they want to buy.”

Drew Lawsky, group show director, confirmed that attendance was up 13 percent over last year to just over 5,000 buyers, a figure that does not include 47th Street wholesalers who came to walk the show. He noted that overall the show was better than what vendors had anticipated.

While business boomed for the lower-end manufacturers, business was not as brisk for the few diamond firms at the show. Aaron Sputz, a sales rep at Olympic Diamonds, found that traffic was not quite what he would have liked it to be. “Overall, the show was on the slow side. There was a nice trend of people coming through and we met a lot of people. Hopefully, that will pay off later.”

Alan Levine, vice president of Bill Levine Diamond Jewelry, a mid-priced design-oriented diamond jewelry company based in New York City, was satisfied. “We were pleasantly satisfied. There were buyers and lots of lookers. The first couple of days, there were lots of people; then it got quiet. Traffic was comparable to the past couple of years, but we noticed more out-of-town people than previous years.”

Los Angeles, California–based exhibitor Varsha Diamonds vice president Nishith Mehta noted that there were a lot of wholesalers from 47th Street visiting the show. Varsha Diamonds is the exclusive distributor of Nordic, a branded Canadian diamond.

L.I.D. was another diamond firm exhibiting at the show. The company was promoting its new Diavante collection of fashion-oriented diamond jewelry. The show didn’t go as well as they had wanted, mostly because the company offers a more upscale product. “I think most customers here are looking for closeouts. We are more expensive,” said L.I.D. sales rep Joseph Karniel. “People here want $250 to $500 items. They want to take advantage of prices.”

The show did seem like a place to pick up bargains. There was definitely room to negotiate price over at R&S Creations, which offers a collection of price-conscious, fashion-forward diamonds, as well as colored gemstone and diamond jewelry. Sales rep Gabi Malaka said that the show was going well and noted that one of the reasons was because of the company’s willingness to work with customers on prices. “If a customer is not satisfied with a price, we will negotiate. Customers want to feel like a close neighbor. Our prices are reliable, so we do well.”

Buyers were from all over, but were coming mostly from areas neighboring New York City, as well as the New England states. “This was my first time at the Special Delivery Show and I came because I couldn’t make it out to Las Vegas market-week, but some of the vendors that I work with are showing here,” said Derek Simpson of Derek Simpson in New Haven, Connecticut. “I was looking to buy for the holiday and gain insight into what is going to be big for the holiday season and was happy with what I found here at the show.”

David Gordon of Whitman Coin Jewelry in Melville, New York, also found the show useful for last-minute fill-in for the holiday season. “The Special Delivery show had exactly what we were looking for and I was able to purchase what I needed all in one place, very conveniently.”
Notably, there was also a strong showing of buyers from Canada.“There were more Canadians at this show than usual because of the dollar exchange rate,” said Lawsky, who noted that JA show owner Nielsen will be actively promoting to Canadian buyers for its upcoming shows. “We’re pleased with the numbers. Of course, you always want more, but this is a nice niche end-of-year show. It’s the largest and best-attended of this type of show, and it meets the need for a cash-and-carry show,” concluded Lawsky.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - December 2007. To subscribe click here.

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