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Frugal Buying Makes for Slow JA NY Summer Show

Jul 30, 2014 1:29 PM   By Nirali Sheth
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RAPAPORT... Slower than years past,  the JA New York  Summer Show that was held at the Javits Center this  week was better for jewelry designers than loose stone dealers. There were few customers for most of the exhibitors, but some designers closed the show calling it a success.  Retailers are no longer looking to fill holes in their inventory; instead, they are looking for one-of-a-kind pieces and unique collections that will spark consumer interest.

One veteran of the JA summer show, Namrata Kothari, the co-founder and designer of Syna, said, "There are less people than there were in the past eight or nine years that we have been coming here. People are buying more one-of-a-kind pieces than anything else."

Diamond wholesaler Krishna Vedawala of Diacenter Inc. attributed the lack of buyers to the overall change in how they shop. "A lot has changed in the 15 years we've been coming to this show. More people are looking online at inventories and sites like RapNet before buying. Back then, people didn't have as many tools to compare prices as they do now. They are more hesitant to buy right away at these shows. It's easier to shop around online for the right product."

In the colored gemstone section of the JA New York show, Pala International's strategy for overcoming inactivity was to make appointments with attendees ahead of time instead of relying on people to come to them, although the show was still slower than last year, they noted. 

Others put in more effort than usual to attract people to the show after the first day, according to Carlos DeLeon, a buyer for jewelry manufacturer HK Designs, which also exhibited. "They're putting in extra effort to corral you in. I got emails saying, 'We Missed You' when I didn't come the first day. That was a first. Exhibitors are paying attention to the list of registered attendees and who's actually showing up," he said.

A. Jaffe reported  "a good response" from the show, according to Kate Smith, who cited new brand schemes  as the main attraction at their exhibit space.  "We have a lot of new programs, like Perfect Match, which allows rings to have an interchangeable head; Quilt, which features thinner rings with a quilted interior that allows for fingers to expand; and Places to Remember, which are pendants with maps that pinpoint sentimental locations, that are sparking people's interests. This is our first time coming here in a long time and we've had a lot of people order because they want more inventory," she said.

Puja Bordia of Tresor added, "People are buying big pieces for the holidays. Our Origami collection and long necklaces from the Lente collection did particularly well. We have products in every color and we use both gemstones and diamonds, so this variety attracts a lot of retailers. Small stud earrings are still the trend because they are easy to wear."

The consensus across the show floor  was that the JA summer show had less traffic than exhibitors had hoped for, but cautious buyers were still placing orders for unique collections and pieces that really stood out from mass market merchandise.


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Tags: ja, Jewelry, new york, Nirali Sheth, trade show, trends
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