Monday, June 5, 2017

Leaving Las Vegas

Now in the interest of transparency I will confide with you that I have not attended the annual watch and jewelry-cum frat party that is the twin shows put up by JCK and Couture since 2012.  And there is a reason.  The two shows were not well organized, they were at opposite ends of the strip, requiring a lot of patience, missed shuttles and inevitable taxi fares back and forth.  Things have in some ways improved, but in others fallen back to their earlier state.  

I have only the feedback of brands, writers and jewelers to go on, but the early returns are not exactly rosy.  Consider that Friday through Sunday, so if you haven't hit your targets in those few days?  You're kind of stuffed.

More and more brands are giving Las Vegas a miss, as are retailers.  A few brands, convinced that they are "outsmarting" the system will stay at a "Rat Pack" era hotel and set up "private meetings", which inevitably don't pan out.  Why?  Imagine you are attending these two shows.  It's a big enough pain to drag your ass from one end of the strip tot he other, let alone go "off road" for an appointment that may (and then again, may not) happen.  All too often the brand will decide that the first two days didn't pan out, so they blow off their remaining appointments and hit the casinos.  Yes, it's happened before and will probably continue to happen.

If you are the jeweler/store buyer you will already have determined exactly who you want to see.  You will (if you are doing your job) already have done your homework so that you will be somewhat ready.  The notion that potential customers will magically "discover" your brand is a foolish hope.  The highlight of the trip will most likely be a night out or shopping at the outlet mall.

To be very clear, the slow deterioration of the Las Vegas shows is endemic to the watch industry as a whole.  These shows still serve serve as a very valuable resource for jewelry.  But as for watches, it might be time for a different sort of show.

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