“Do we really need another show?”
That’s a question I often ask myself when I see a press release for some new jewelry or trade event claiming to be unlike anything that already exists. And sometimes I think that no, this industry doesn’t need another show and that the ones that already exist should just work on improving themselves. But then other times – and this is the case here – I genuinely see that some trade shows are created to fill a void which in turn benefits both exhibitors and attendees. In my opinion, the Select Show Tucson is one of the shows that fills a void, which is why I accepted their offer to come out and see it for myself.
The beginning of the year is usually a good time for any retailer to relax and reset before thinking about replenishing their inventories. After coming down from the hectic holiday season, retailers deserve to unwind a little before putting their plans in place for the year ahead. The Tucson gem shows (including the AGTA GemFair) are a great way for retailers to blow off a little steam with colleagues in a casual setting while also doing their gemstone and mineral buying for their stores. What the Select Show Tucson accomplished this year was a way to provide those same retailers an additional opportunity to shop for designer jewelry offered by brands that may not exhibit at the other Tucson shows.
The Select Show took place on a slightly chilly February 2nd and 3rd at the beautiful Westin La Paloma resort and was host to numerous retailers from around the country who came to see luxury jewelry brands like Oscar Heyman, Picchiotti, Gurhan, Erica Courtney, and Alex Sepkus, while also learning about designers currently using responsibly sourced materials such as Jennifer Dawes and Debra Navarro, among others. The Select Show celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019, but this was the first time the show’s organizers added the city of Tucson to their already successful lineup which currently includes Dallas and Washington D.C.
Joe Carullo – the show’s founder and president – was thrilled with how the inaugural event played out. “Our first Select Show at the La Paloma in Tucson was exactly what I dreamed it would be. Relaxing, enjoyable, and productive for all in attendance.” He stated. “I’m grateful to have seen so many friends come out for it.” Carullo’s partner at Select, Jordan Brockhaus-Spears, added that the Select Shows have always “thrived on a comfortable environment that is intimate for both retailers and exhibitors.” According to Brockhaus-Spears, the Tucson edition was a continuation of an already successful platform, stating, “Select Tucson really seemed to be a crowd favorite.”
Tim Jackson of Passion Fine Jewelry in Solana Beach, CA was one of the buyers in that “crowd” and he seemed to agree that an enjoyable time was had by all. “The environment inside the show and even afterward at the poolside Super Bowl event allowed for conversations to deepen business relationships, which very often broaden to close friendships.” Stated Jackson. “I loved attending the Select Tucson Show and even reconnecting with old friends I hadn’t seen in twelve years.” He said, adding, “It’s a people business based on relationships and trust built up typically over many years of mutual respect and fair dealing.” Mitchell Feuer of PeJay Creations – an exhibitor at the Tucson Select Show – had this to say in an email: “It’s very rare to come home from a show and reflect on how enjoyable the whole experience was. I’d use these four words to best describe the show: relaxed, intimate, enjoyable, and engaging.”
As an incentive, the Select Show also offered the buyers in attendance a chance to win 5,000 buying dollars daily to be used on the show floor with one of the exhibiting brands. Each buyer received a single raffle ticket for the winnings upon picking up their badge but could earn additional tickets for every confirmed purchase order they placed with an exhibitor.
Ideally for the organizers of the Select Show, convenience for their customers is one of the main reasons they decided to set up shop in Tucson in the first place. Both Joe and Jordan understand that many of their exhibitors also showcase their wares at either the AGTA GemFair immediately following the show, or at the JCK Tucson show (and in a couple of cases, some of those exhibitors show at both). They also understand that there are buyers that come to Tucson to do the bulk of their buying for the year. By creating an experience where buyers and exhibitors alike feel that Tucson can now be a one-stop-shop for them, they’ve helped alleviate some unnecessary travel costs and as well as unwanted stress. “Look, I’ve been doing this a long time.” Said Carullo. “At the end of the day, my wish is for everyone to be successful, but also for everyone to have a good time. That’s really what this is all about.”
(All images taken by David Stewart Brown)