Positive reports about IJL 2010 streamed in from visitors and exhibitors alike as the show closed. Buoyant exhibitors commented on the high level of business which was done during the four days of the show, and many have already booked for the 2011 event.
As well as showcasing a high standard of brands and designers, IJL is dedicated to investing in new initiatives which lead the way within the industry. All are designed to add to the quality and content of the show. These initiatives included the seminar programme, Editor’s Choice, Bright Young Gems, the Great Debate, KickStart and the Diamond Club.
Event Manager Sam Willoughby commented: “The IJL team were thrilled with the response from people at the event. We have had so many compliments about the general look and feel of the show and, importantly, how it has provided a good environment in which to do business - making new contacts, catching up with existing customers and finding out about the latest industry news and trends. Many exhibitors have booked for next year as a result of the success of this year's show, and we are already looking ahead so we can continue to develop and launch new features. We believe it is this proactive and forward thinking approach, added to the high calibre of exhibitors, that makes IJL the UK’s premier jewellery trade event."
IJL is seen as a barometer for the industry ahead of the A/W period, and the productivity seen at the show indicates positive times ahead.
Success of the show
VIP Diamond Club
Now in its second year, a host of key figures from leading retail jewellers across the UK visited the show as members of the prestigious VIP Diamond Club. The Diamond Club is the most senior level and largest VIP programme at a UK jewellery trade event. Nominated by the IJL Advisory Board, members are invited to join this exclusive club.
Neil Dunwell, general manager of the Isle of Man based Wilkins Jewellers had not been to the show for 36 years, but he decided to attend the event as a Diamond Club member and commented on what attracted him to the show this year: “We felt the need to keep up with current trends and to find out what’s working in more fashion based jewellers. We would definitely recommend IJL - jewellery trends are forever changing and I’m ashamed of myself that I have not been for so long. I’ll now make it an annual event”.
Alison Skeates, buying director of EC One added: “IJL brings the industry together under one roof. It’s great to see a good selection of new designers being promoted, for example on the KickStart stand. The Design Gallery looked good this year, and the sparkly floor guided people around the area, ensuring that we didn’t miss out on anyone. Overall, it’s a very good show and a manageable size”.
New Designers and New Collections
In addition to the 100+ new exhibitors at the show, two IJL flagship initiatives – Bright Young Gems and KickStart - provided visitors with an exciting sneak preview of some brand new and undiscovered designers who are tipped as the talent of the future.
Bright Young Gems, now in its sixth year, is a show feature which is well-known within the fashion industry. An impressive panel of leading editors nominated the five designers who were unveiled at the show as rising jewellery stars. The finalists were Jessica Poole, Sophie Breitmeyer, Harry Hornby, Victoria Tryon and Hannah Livingston.
“Being selected as a Bright Young Gem has given me an amazing opportunity to gain exposure for my brand. Here I have met the press as well as buyers, from both boutiques and galleries. Winning the IJL Bright Young Gems Astley Clarke Gold Award means that I will be mentored by the design team and I am really looking forward to working with the creative team to launch an exclusive range for them next year” said Hannah Livingston.
KickStart, an exciting initiative from IJL which is supported by the BJA, saw ten up and coming designers launching their innovative jewellery with the help of a bursary scheme. Providing a commercial launch pad for fledgling designers and giving retailers a chance to see some fresh and interesting designs, the feature proved a popular destination yet again.
“It’s been a really good show for me and my designs have received such a positive response. Being part of the KickStart stand was a fantastic opportunity as the scheme was promoted well beforehand, in magazines for example, as was the whole event. IJL gave me an opportunity to catch up with existing contacts and I’ve received great orders from new suppliers and galleries – including with people I’d always wanted to work with. My precious designs have had a lot of interest, which is helpful, and the show has exceeded my expectations” said KickStart designer Hannah Bedford.
Many established designers chose to launch their new collections at IJL this year. Paul Costelloe visited the show to launch his new jewellery range, commenting “I chose to launch my new jewellery range, Ivy, at IJL because it’s a premier show which caters for a wide customer base. It brings together the industry in England and Wales and attracts visitors from Scotland and Ireland. It really is the showcase jewellery trade event in the UK and the timing is perfect”.
In addition, the number of watch exhibitors grew this year. All reported positive feedback, with first time exhibitor Tony Sulkey, director of European and UK sales at Jorg Gray saying: “As a first time exhibitor I came to IJL as a PR exercise. However, the show has exceeded all my expectations. I have opened a number of new quality accounts. IJL excites and inspires me - it is the definitive event for the industry.”
Editor’s Choice identifies some of the leading jewellery designers and producers that are setting the latest consumer and fashion trends. Acclaimed jewellery and luxury journalist, Claire Adler, selected designers with innovative and cutting-edge new pieces and collections.
“The show has gone very well this year. Many people have searched for us after seeing the Editor’s Choice feature in the brochure or on the plinth as you come into the show. It’s definitely driven more people to the stand. It meant so much to us to win an award for technical excellence, and have our work noticed and credited in such a way. I think from being picked for the Editor’s Choice awards, many people now realise the work that goes into the design and production of our pieces and how, in many cases, we cannot use the traditional methods of producing jewellery” stated Editor’s Choice designer Wendy Pickard of The Branch.
The Design Gallery at IJL is the place to see some of the very best British and international designers showcasing inspired, original and unique contemporary jewellery collections. This year the Gallery was given a new location and design, and many designers commented on the high numbers of orders placed and the excellent networking opportunities.
Many Gallery designers were new exhibitors, such as Tomasz Donocik who returned to the show following his launch as a Bright Young Gem in 2006, commenting: “One of the many highlights of the show is probably the quantity of good clients who are increasingly more interested in young new designers. The show receives both international visitors, notably from Rome this year, and British visitors, who are very important considering it’s a British based show. The quality of the new seminar programme is also excellent. IJL is one of the best, if not the best, show in the country and it is particularly convenient given that it is London based.”
The star-studded Boulevard at the show was lined with top brands and designers. With more leading, high-end jewellery brands that any other UK jewellery trade event, many of these could be found along this central avenue.
Boulevard designer Shaun Leane stated: “This year’s IJL has proven to be one of our best ever shows. Sales have hit a new high and we have secured accounts that we have been talking to for some time. The show has an excellent energy and really has grown into one of the most prestigious jewellery shows.”
Frank Mayer of Heinz Mayer said: “The UK market is very important to Heinz Mayer and IJL draws in important names from the UK jewellery trade. This is our eighteenth year at IJL and we have seen many changes. The Boulevard and the new stand designs are excellent. IJL is a must for the British jewellery trade.”
The very popular Boulevard Bar and new seminar theatre was sponsored this year by Chamilia, providing an opportunity for visitors to network with friends and colleagues and adding to the upbeat attitude at the show.
David Dryden, managing director of Chamilia commented: "During the show Chamilia attracted the right kind of new independent accounts and met with lots of existing customers. We also identified valuable contacts for new European markets. The IJL event again proved to be one of the best meeting points for companies like Chamilia.”
IJL has the most comprehensive free-to-attend seminar programme of any jewellery trade show in the UK. The seminars were extremely popular again this year, and there were more seminars than ever with 48 in total. Stephen Webster’s seminar on men’s jewellery, which took place at the Boulevard Bar, filled the Bar area and the visitors were also keen to hear about the latest trends information as four trends forecasting agencies spoke – TJF, Global Color Research, Stylesight and Trendstop.
The groundbreaking Great Debate attracted crowds of industry figures keen to discuss ethical issues and how the jewellery trade can work together to bring about change and new commercial initiatives. One example of this is Ethically Precious, a company which was launched at the show as a result of a previous Great Debate. Director Dennis Allen reported: ‘IJL has been the perfect event to launch our new brand, Chaos. Not just because it’s held at the beginning of the pre-Christmas buying period but also because all the major independents come to the show. The idea and inspiration for the company and brand came from one of the early Great Debates about ethical issues.’
Michael Hoare, chief executive of the National Association of Goldsmiths explained why he thinks the Great Debate, and the IJL show itself, are valuable for the trade: “Importantly each year IJL tackles some of the key issues in the industry and the Great Debate is always fantastically interesting. IJL is a great place to find out about new trends and I think it is imperative that people come to IJL to keep up to date with what’s going on in the jewellery industry.”
To wrap it up!
The dates for your diary for the 2011 show are:
4th-7th September 2011, Earls Court 2, London