London’s premier annual jewellery event, the International Jewellery London (IJL) fair, enjoyed a record number of visitors from around the world last year.
The fair attracted 9304 visitors– a seven percent increase on the attendance level at the 2008 event and the highest figure since the first IJL was first staged 53 years ago.
Event manager Syreeta Tranfield said the IJL team was “overwhelmed with the positivity from visitors and exhibitors at IJL”.
“2009 has been a tough year that ended with an excellent result and we are thrilled to record the highest ever attendance figure,” she said.
“I spoke to so many people who had noted the upbeat attitude at the event and this is very encouraging in the current climate.
“IJL is viewed as a barometer for the industry and the overwhelming optimism seen at the show indicates more positive times ahead. This is a very timely green shoot for the jewellery business …”
Tranfield said IJL was dedicated to investing in new initiatives which make the fair as productive as possible for not only exhibitors, but also visiting retail buyers.
IJL 2009 introduced several new initiatives “designed to add to the quality and content of the show”.
For example, IJL 2009 launched a VIP Diamond Club for “172 top buyers and retailers from leading retail jewellers throughout the UK”.
According to Tranfield, the Club offered many benefits for members including appointment making facilities, hotel accommodation, reserved seats at the popular seminars and exclusive access to a purpose-built high quality Diamond Club Lounge, situated in the heart of the show, offering a range of refreshments, business services and networking opportunities.
Another new initiative from IJL was Kickstart, a bursary scheme supported by the British Jewellery Association, which “created a commercial launch pad for fledgling jewellery designers and gave retailers a chance to see some fresh and interesting new designs” as participating designers were showcased in the Design Gallery at the show.
Young designer Alexandra Simpson, one of 10 designers at the Kickstart Stand, said that being a “KickStarter” at IJL provided had provided an encouraging start to her career.
“I’ve had a wonderful show with an incredible amount of interest from shops, galleries and leading museums – some from as far afield as Japan,” she said.
“I have had some orders and sales so a really encouraging start to my career. I have enjoyed being a Kickstart as I have learnt so much and I found all the help in the lead-up to the show particularly useful.”
In addition, Editor’s Choice was also launched at IJL 2009 to “recognise leading jewellery designers and producers that are setting the latest consumer and fashion trends”.
Jewellery and luxury journalist, Claire Adler, selected designers with innovative and cutting-edge new pieces and collections.
Lucy Quartermaine, designer of Lucy Q, noticed a direct increase in sales of her sterling silver bangle which was selected for the Editor’s Choice display.
“I’ve been inundated and it’s taken my business to the next level,” she said.
“The Editor’s Choice award brought new customers to my stand. Most of them, if not all of them, ordered from me.”
Meanwhile the more established attractions at the Fair also continued to impress exhibitors and visitors alike.
The Design Gallery exhibited “the very best British and international designers showcasing inspired, original and unique contemporary jewellery collections” and Bright Young Gems showcased some “real finds” from new designers.
The QVC Bar in the Design Gallery and Pandora Bar on the Central Boulevard provided an opportunity for visitors to network with friends and colleagues.
Peter Andersen, managing director of Pandora UK, said that Pandora took a larger stand to show their commitment to the UK market and also to IJL.
“We had a great show with phenomenal sales,” he said.
Finally, the seminar program also proved to be extremely popular with topics ranging from beating the recession, staff management, ethics in business and e-commerce to style trends while the Birmingham Assay Office’s Great Debate on the challenges of corporate social responsibility attracted more than 50 key industry influencers.
According to the Assay Office chief executive Michael Allchin, the debate was an open forum where members of the jewellery industry can share their experiences in trying to deliver an ethically responsible supply chain in line with consumer demand.
“We had a fantastic turnout and that itself is a good sign” he said.
“The objective of the debate is to keep things moving and encourage more partnerships by introducing different people with different experiences. Looking around during the busy networking session which followed the main discussion I feel we succeeded in doing that.”
IJL 2010 will be held from September 5-8. For more information visit www.jewellerylondon.com.