From the 9th till the 13th of September, Vicenza's beautiful town flooded again with jewelry professionals. Despite the many challenges, such as soaring energy prices, to name just one, the mood on the floor was remarkably optimistic.
I'll admit that when leaving home and heading towards the chaos of Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, I wondered what I would find in Vicenza. The news that hits us daily is pessimistic enough:
But then there are also massive problems in every supply chain, not to mention the various humanitarian crises around the globe, from the flooding in Pakistan to the continuous stream of refugees (and a growing reluctance to welcome them).
As a sector, we are vulnerable to crises. We are a luxury product business and, therefore, in any given crisis, somewhat redundant.
Bradoiro from Spain, in silver, gold and a variety of gemstones
I stared into the train window, heading to Amsterdam, observing the cows in the flat Dutch fields and thinking about how Netherlands farmers have been protesting for months. The decision of the Dutch government to cut down nitrogen emissions by half in 2030 means that many farms (and their livestock) have to close to preserve nature. And how could I not link this to the many talks I have been listening to, during the past editions of VicenzaOro, about sustainability? It comes with a price; when we don't prioritize sustainability, a price we cannot afford. But let's also respect the price many people and businesses pay for sustainable goals.
I was cautious, but the visitor showed an educated optimism! So yes, I was excited to go to the show but expected to find a slightly cautious mood on the floor. But from Friday on, it was booming! Many booths, especially in Hall 7, were working like mad. Nanis was crowded from day one, and so were many others.
But first, let me take you inside through the entrance door! The installation right next to the entrance was glittering gold, inviting people to take selfies like mad. Yours truly, being awfully modest at the wrong moments, did not want to wait in line, and you'll find below my happy but not a very glamorous selfie ;-)
Esther Ligthart, yours truly, at the entrance VicenzaOro VOS2022
Loud music pumps up our mood and expectations, and walking onto the floor feels like stepping into a movie. I swear I heard someone yelling at me; ''and action''! ;-)
September isn't about new collections in general. Although some brands have created new jewelry pieces, it's mostly an evolution of designs previously presented in January. VOS22 (VicenzaOro September 2022) is about buying for the upcoming holiday season.
A glimpse of the floor
Yet, although previously very prudent, some Dutch retailers did come to me to ask me for jewelry brand recommendations that would work in the Netherlands. So, yes, people are also on a path to discovery during this end-of-summer jewelry show in the gorgeous town of Vicenza.
What stood out for me during this VicenzaOro show?
First of all, the mood, as described above. It was just so optimistic. Or perhaps it is better to describe it as educated optimism. Buyers weren't afraid to splash out on things, but they primarily bought items they know will sell during the upcoming holiday season.
Alessio Boschi behind and his ring on my finger
Of course, as a blogger and journalist, which I am during these shows, I don't see everything people buy. But I was fortunate enough to accompany a few Dutch retailers and saw how they looked for solid chains with glamorous details and unique pieces that would satisfy their eclectic clientele.
I don't see many ''smaller mid-section stores'' from my own country. Perhaps I am mistaken; I have no direct insight, but it seems that too many mid-section stores don't invest in coming to shows like VicenzaOro. Why is that?
I know there are fears of thinking they are too small to purchase a collection directly. I also know that Italian companies still struggle with the image of not being the most reliable out there.
Wearing Alessio Boschi
That is a mistake, in my opinion. This show is so well organized, easy to reach, and accommodating to foreign visitors that any objection about the difficulty and doing business with Italians flies out the door.
If not for buying anything, any retailer, anyone working in jewelry, should come to a jewelry show like VicenzaOro at least once a year. And why?
Because of the overwhelming inspiration, one feels walking around the booths. It's not about inspiration to copy designs, but inspiration about how people from the smallest to the most prominent company reimagine jewelry in all different kinds of ways.
It's about walking and talking jewelry the whole bloody time, and that interaction, that hearing opinions, ideas, and insights from so many different people, is a massive inspiration.
Let alone the (sometimes) exciting talks on stage. I feel there could be lots more of them, and I see possibilities for workshops and more in the future. But there is always something going on stage!
As a writer and blogger, I feel energized visiting a show like this. Most of our job is done behind a computer in our own homes. We need this, too, to fill up our cup and, with renewed enthusiasm, spread the love for jewelry among our fans, followers, and audiences in general. If anything, I would like to suggest to both companies and fairs to keep inspiring and involving us (bloggers, journalists, influencers, and everything in between).
The blonde at the top is me with my lovely peers: in the middle below Tracey from the DiamondsGirl, on her left Bebe Bakhshi from ChampagneGem, on her right Aneta Blaszcazk from Bliss of Paris, and next to me Laura Astrologo Porché
I also know that watch brands, to name an industry very close to ours, are much better at doing this with hosted invitations to brand events and in-house visits. I mean, seriously, we just don't all live inNew York, London, Paris, or Milan :-)
VicenzaOro is the one show that not only creates a magical entrance, an excellent platform for doing business, and an incredibly accessible event but also seeks - with great authentic dedication- to involve those who are like the bees of the jewelry industry. We fly all over the show and take our insights and inspiration to the keyboards of our laptops, pollinating social media platforms with bits and drops of information and inspiration. All to raise the interest in jewelry to a higher level (b2b and final consumer). The dream team of VicenzaOro shows how valuable they think this is for the whole industry by inviting a variety of press and influencers. Everyone is doing their best to highlight how fantastic this show is and shows images of brands and jewelry.
Paolo Piovan Dragon Bracelet
For the Dutch trade magazine, I sat down with Marco Carniello, the global director of Fashion and Jewellery exhibitions for IEG.
He told me that the numbers were up by 10% regarding the pre-Covid year 2019. WOW!
Also, the number of people visiting the show from abroad is up by 20%.
But the real SCOOP is that IEG plans to open two more jewelry trade shows abroad: South America and South East Asia.
Also, there are concrete plans for a high-speed train with a stop in front of the showground! Within five years, this should be ready, making this specific trade show even more easy to reach.
Last but not least, next year, by the end of 2023, the show intends to start renovations of the oldest central part and expansion of the buildings.
Paolo Piovan, gemstone set
Note: all images are @Bizzita taken by Esther Ligthart during the VOS22