At NY show, mood generally optimistic
By Michelle Graff
New York--The JA New York Winter Show wrapped up Tuesday at the Javits Center and the general mood among exhibitors was positive as spring draws near and the industry begins gearing up for the summer trade shows.
At the show, both Joe Carullo, vice president of KC Designs, and Pennsylvania-based designer Anthony Lent, who exhibited in the show’s designLAB area, expressed optimism about the year ahead.
“We’ve been in a sluggish economy for about three to four years. I believe strongly it’s time we are going to come out of that recession,” Carullo said. “People are dying to spend money.”
Personally, he said he is feeling more comfortable spending his disposable income and believes that others feel the same way. “It’s so psychological. Perception is reality.”
Also aiding the cause this year is the fact that the presidential election is now behind us, Carullo said, and it doesn’t seem that it has mattered too much to consumers who won--they are just glad it’s over, an observation made in the past by industry analyst Ken Gassman.
Lent agreed that the economy is on the mend and retailers are more willing to part with their money, an indication that their customers are too. The designer reported having a strong show at JA NY Winter, as buyers came by to replenish depleted stock.
“People are definitely spending money,” he said.
While both Carullo and Lent view the economy as having turned the corner, other exhibitors seemed less sure, though they aren’t necessarily pessimistic about the year ahead.
Exhibitor Gurhan returned to JA New York Winter after a several-year absence. Sales executive Melissa Rodgers said they were generally pleased with their results from the show, with the brand’s Galapagos Collection attracting attention. Galapagos is a line of sterling silver jewelry with gold accents and one-of-a-kind semi-precious stones priced between $800 and $5,000 retail.
She said last year, after a strong start, business for their retailers fell flat in the third and fourth quarter, proving more difficult than anticipated. The brand is preparing for another challenging year, though they remain optimistic.
“We have our eyes open. The economic changes are going to take a while,” she said, noting that it’s also going to take time for consumer confidence to return. “There are so many scenarios dictating caution to the end consumer.”
DesignLAB exhibitor Jane Basch said she doesn’t think the economy is improving but expects a strong year for her eponymous, Florida-based jewelry company because they are a niche business, specializing in personalized jewelry--and today’s consumers want personalized everything, Basch said.
“I think everything is going to be fine,” she said.
National Jeweler and the JA New York Shows, along with the Couture show, comprise the Jewelry Group of Nielsen Expositions. Nielsen Expositions is owned by Nielsen, a global information and media company.
The next show is Couture, which will take place May 30 to June 3 at the Wynn Las Vegas.