(Full disclosure: the AGTA GemFair is hosting me to attend and cover their show and others in The Collective as well as COUTURE, but this blog post is not a paid post)
If you were a child of the 80s, you completely got the pop culture reference in the headline of this post. Jem was a tween superstar, and at the time, she gave young girls like me a reason to believe in pink hair, technology (in the form of holograms), and badassery, and she was a huge part of the reason I had any interest in music. Jem by all accounts, was a gateway into rock for young kids, in a similar way that gems are often a gateway into our beloved jewelry industry.
The American Gem Trade Association will host its annual Las Vegas GemFair in a different location this year. The show – which is part of what is being called The Collective – has left its long-running stint in Mandalay Bay and will now be held alongside the new PREMIER Show and the Antique Jewelry and Watch Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center located at 3150 Paradise Road. But aside from the show having a new location, it also has a new outlook and a new mindset. You see, what the AGTA GemFair did was listen – actually listen – to both its exhibitors and its attendees from years past. This is something that for ages, fairs like Baselworld seemingly didn’t do, which led to a grand exodus of many of that show’s exhibitors. AGTA, on the other hand, decided that a move, alone, wasn’t enough. They wanted to offer something more; something along the lines of an experience.
Vegas Market Week is often the only time of year many U.S. retailers do their buying, but the AGTA GemFair is one of the few shows that isn’t just for retailers. When a jewelry designer is looking for a matching suite of alexandrites for a necklace they drew on the back of a napkin (because designers will sketch on whatever is handy), they often look no further than the aisles of the AGTA GemFair. So making sure the show is comfortable for both retailer AND wholesaler is important to its success. “We just wanted to give the buyer something different, and we’re very excited about the changes.” Said AGTA’s CEO, Doug Hucker.
So, let’s talk about those changes, shall we? First – and probably most exciting – is the amount of buying dollars being given away to registered buyers at the show. The fair, which opens on Thursday, May 30th, will give away $30,000.00 in buying credits to one lucky winner by the end of the day. On Friday, May 31st, a winner will receive $15,000.00 in buying credits, and on June 1st and 2nd, winners will receive $7,500.00 in buying credits by the end of those days. All credits will need to be used by the last day of the show, Monday June 3rd. Also, since the AGTA understands that buyers will be coming from shows such as COUTURE and JCK to the Convention Center and will have to get back, they’ve set up personalized Uber codes which registrants can sign up to received via their online registrations. More food options by way of food carts? Yep. A “cyber-lounge”? I’m still waiting to find out what that is, but they had me at, “lounge.” “Rest and recharge bars”? (They also had me a “bars.”) And what’s this?? CHAIR MASSAGES?! I might just move in and never leave.
Finally, in case you haven’t seen my social media posts or the news about it in the AGTA Newsletter, this year, I’m thrilled to be a part of the group of independent writers/social media influencers who will be covering not only the AGTA GemFair, but also the other shows in The Collective as well as the COUTURE and COUTUREtime shows on behalf of the AGTA. And while I know that “numerically” I may not have the follower counts of some of my colleagues, but what I lack in digits I make up for in traditional-style content and exposure, which is another reason I feel the AGTA reached out to see if I’d be up for the task. The crew at the AGTA has been an absolute joy to work with thus far, and I’m really looking forward to seeing all the new and exciting things they’re offering this week.
You know what they say… “Vegas, baby!” Cannot wait to color my world.
(All images provided by the AGTA)