There was a sense of excitement on the showroom floor for the first two days of the JCK Luxury show at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
It was a different feeling than it was last year when the atmosphere of the invitation-only, high-end jewellery event was more subdued. The booths on the showroom floor were busy and according to the manufacturers and designers I spoke with, business is good. The three-day luxury event, by JCK Events, serves as a preview for JCK Las Vegas, the largest jewellery trade fair in North America.
An 18k white gold, black onyx, diamond bracelet with emerald strands from the Ivanka Trump Lao Tong collection.
It’s not as if no one is aware of the global political and economic instability, but most designers and manufacturers I spoke with believe that creativity in their designs and selling opportunities and being true to their brands are the best ways to ward off the gloom. It’s a message that is seemingly receiving a warm reception from luxury retailers at the show, who are buying for the all important holiday season.
“We had a good holiday season. A surprisingly strong January and February, but mid-March to early April it really took a dip,” said Andrea Hansen, CEO of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewellery, which designs and sells its branded jewellery lines to about 70 retailers in the U.S. She said she expects this weakness to continue during what is normally a slow summer season.
The brand is named after the businesswoman and TV personality who is daughter of Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and TV personality. The three-year-old company focuses on designs based on the style of the 1920s to 1950s. The primary target is the self-purchasing woman, a relatively new jewellery consumer in the U.S.
Hansen said that focusing the strength of the Trump brand to the consumer (through social media and cause-related initiatives) and building products that stay true to the brand, have helped the company to continue to grow.
Wedding ring with intricate designs and diamond pave and either 18k white gold or platinum from Danhov’s Petalo collection.
“We have to continue to find ways to encourage consumption,” she said. “To get the consumer excited about shopping. But we all have to work so much harder for it. Brand distinction is one way to go about it. A good product at a good price helps. Creatively it takes a lot more to get the customer out of the door to shop. We have success with our trunk shows. We do a lot of charity events. Being socially responsible these days and being socially engaged in the community where we operate is absolutely a key to getting people into shop.”
In the all-important bridal market, Danhov, a two-year-old brand has had a great of success in creating original designs in a market segment that’s known for its traditional leanings. Founded by Khajag "Jack" Hovsepian, a prolific veteran designer, the company produces innovative jewellery based on fine design details and solid craftsmanship. In a short time the brand is now sold at 50 retailers in the U.S.
“It’s because we’re not that big and people always want new stuff. The big companies are going smaller because of the economy,” Hovsepian said. “But we are not that big yet that’s why we’re growing. There’s always growth, even in recessions.”