Events & Awards

A New Designer-Run Trade Show Debuts This Weekend

Events & AwardsAug 18, 2017

A New Designer-Run Trade Show Debuts This Weekend

“Melee The Show” is the brainchild of northern California designer Rebecca Overmann and designer and Esqueleto store owner Lauren Wolf.

New York--There’s a new trade show in town.

As NY Now kicks into gear this Saturday, hosting a bevy of jewelry designers, and Metal + Smith celebrates a year in business with its fourth show happening Monday, a smaller, more intimate show will make its debut.

“Melee The Show,” organized by jewelry designer Rebecca Overmann and jewelry designer and Esqueleto store owner Lauren Wolf, is happening this Saturday and Sunday at The High Line Hotel.

The show will host 16 designers, including Overmann and Wolf.

“The designers we invited to collaborate on this event are definitely more on the established side,” Overmann said. “It’s people who have been in the jewelry industry as long as 20-plus years.”

Melissa Joy Manning, TAP by Todd Pownell, Wwake, Ruth Tomlinson and Jacqueline Cullen are some of the brands participating.

Overmann continued, “We’ve brought together a great, curated collection where everyone can work together and kind of benefit from each other. A lot of these people we show with at Couture or other shows, but really keeping the environment controlled and small and relevant for everyone coming (was the goal).”

Wolf added: “We don’t want just a hodgepodge of designers. There really is a criteria. When you look at all of these designers, everyone complements each other but stands on their own as far as their design aesthetic. That’s the running theme that ties everything together.”

Overmann and Wolf, who are based in San Francisco and Oakland, California respectively, met at a NY Now tradeshow 12 years ago.

As the participated in the show over the years, they found that while some of their core buyers would visit them there, they weren’t attracting the new buyers they were really interested in.

“NY Now is a fantastic show, but it’s not necessarily jewelry-centric,” Overmann said. “We found that really challenging, especially with the higher-end jewelry, to have a venue where someone is walking up and asking if something is plated. The people whom we have curated into this event all have similar price points--it’s a higher level of jewelry.”

“I think with NY Now you just have too broad of a customer base,” Wolf said. “Some of our buyers are there but, when you look at Vegas, there’s the Couture show, but really there’s not a small curated platform in New York for fine jewelry.”

Overmann and Wolf reached out to designer friends to participate, a few of whom recruited their designer colleagues to make up the first group of exhibitors for Melee The Show.

From there, each designer invited the buyers with whom they have established relationships.

“We’re not looking for thousands of buyers to come to the show,” Wolf said. “The idea in everybody working on their existing buyer list to attend the show is that there will be some crossover. (The aim is) really to pool everybody’s resources together.”

A major benefit of the DIY trade show approach is the cost; Overmann and Wolf said that the event costs about half of what it does to exhibit at NY Now for the two days of Melee, where refreshments, food and champagne will be served.

Overmann and Wolf already have booked The High Line Hotel for two sets of dates in 2018, and indicated that the summer event again will coincide with NY Now, but the winter shows, with dates not yet released publicly, will adhere to a different timeline so as not to conflict with the Tucson gem shows.

While the show’s organizers are open to the possibility of hosting more designers in the future, they want to keep Melee The Show highly curated and manageable in size.

“We aren’t looking to be the next NY Now,” Overmann said. “We really want it to be an intimate setting where buyers can mingle and do business and enjoy their days with us. Once you get to a certain size, it doesn’t have that same feeling.”

For more information on Melee The Show, happening Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19 and 20, visit the show’s website.
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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