VicenzaOro, why you should not miss the next edition
During the summer holidays, I received the message that VicenzaOro was going to invite a select group of journalists, influencers and bloggers from around the globe. And I was part of this group!
We, the international press :-)
Invitation to visit VicenzaOro as hosted press
I have been going to the VicenzaOro trade show for many years and wasn’t planning to go to this September edition, however, I thought the invitation was so lovely that I accepted it, packed my bag and went. Over the past two decades, I've visited this particular show as a retailer, as a buyer, as an agent, and as a blogger. I was curious about my peers; not just about meeting them, but get an idea about how they look at the show, the exhibitors, the atmosphere. What they noticed and so on and so forth.
The Teatro Olimpico inside, me with Sumesh Wadhera of Art of Jewellery magazine, a toast at Picchiotti, holding the bottle purely for the photo, I rarely drink alcohol and dinner in the square downtown Vicenza with a light show going on!
Meeting my peers: influencers, bloggers and journalists
On Thursday evening, when I just arrived from the airport, we were brought to a magnificent restaurant overviewing the city of Vicenza by night. Bloggers, influencers, and journalists were meeting each other for the first time and I knew many already by name and their work, but others were completely new. One of my favorite things is being surrounded by people from all parts of the world, sharing the same interest made it easy to connect with everyone. The food was delicious and we were getting a mini-lecture the history of table manners and etiquette by a professor which was a surprising touch to the evening. Words of welcome were spoken and we had a pleasant night.
Above many of the international and some national journalists, bloggers, and Instagrammers, below Rachel Taylor a much-appreciated colleague from the UK looking over Vicenza on our first night and the roundtable conversation during the show.
Discovering beautiful Vicenza
The next day we drove to various places to do some serious sightseeing of Vicenza. I knew the city a bit, but I have never been aware of how beautiful it really is. We went to the Villa Valmarrana dei Nani, a villa in the countryside where our tour guide took us to experience the atmosphere, the art, the stories behind the art and the family who lived there. I can only say: if you are in Vicenza or the Veneto region, go and visit this place. It’s worth it.
After this delightful start, it was time to lunch. Unusual hot weather drove us to sit as much in the shadow as possible, where we enjoyed a number of antipasti, thinking this would be our lunch. So most of us filled their stomach pretty good with all the delicious small bites. Little did we know that inside the restaurant, more food was waiting for us!
Villa Valmarrana dei Nani, a view from the window, with Aneta from Bliss from Paris, with the lovely Zia Domic and the men :-) from Spain Pedro Perez Fernandez and his business partner.
After lunch, we went to visit the Teatro Olimpico, a place I had seen many years ago already and that I have always remembered as magical. The theatre was ever so cleverly designed by the town's much-adored architect Palladio. There is no escaping from his name wherever you go in Vicenza. From the Villa Rotonda to many other places, this architect left his mark just about everywhere in this region. This theatre is from 1850 to 1885 and it’s the oldest remaining theatre of the Renassaince period, with the oldest stage still intact and with a roof over the theatre itself. The building started in the same year the famous architect died. If you are in this area, for the trade show or a holiday, do visit this Theatre. Everyone who steps in for the very first time makes the same noise; ohhhh wow!
Whilst walking with our lovely group -we bonded rather quickly- through the streets of Vicenza, we noticed how many gorgeous and may I say, well-kept buildings there were! Italy has far too many art and history, too many precious building that all need to be kept and which all costs lots of money. The Italian economy has been suffering for many years and it still struggles today, but I found Vicenza delightful and kept incredibly well. The atmosphere is relaxed, fashionable but very cool at the same time.
The visit to the Palladio museum was next, but I mentally checked out there. Not that it isn’t beautiful, but I think that perhaps there is only so much one can take in a day. Too many painted ceilings and marvelous portraits and yet, I think that if you start fresh in the morning, it is definitely worth the visit.
Museo del gioiello- the jewelry museum
Afterward, we visited the Museo del Gioiello and the opening of the exhibition Tiaras and Crowns. And Alba Capallieri, the well-known curator of the museum, held a tour in which she showed us the different rooms. The rooms are each curated by another person who chooses her or his theme and pieces to be shown. Changing this from time to time keeps the museum fresh and very much worth the visit. Not the usual suspects but jewelry from all corners of the world, sometimes old, sometimes very new and avant-garde. Sometimes an object that is pure symbolism and sometimes jaw-dropping technical masterpiece.
Alba is a great narrator and her explanation created a different experience than the one we would have had, just walking through on our own.
Me with Rachel Taylor and Tatyana Pfeifer from the Jewellery Masterpiece, with Rachel from the DiamondGirl.
A visit to remember
Once outside, we found a beautiful setting of tables and candles, right there on the Piazza dei Signori, in front of the Museum. We were joined by Italian journalists and had a lovely evening with pizza, wine, and water (for me ;-)). While a light show lit up the Basilica Palladiana. I was exhausted from the day, and in need of rest and a shower (it was an incredible 32C)
The next day we visited the show. Attending an interesting roundtable conversation about trends led by Lauren Kulchinsky Levison from Mayfair Rocks. Paola de Luca from The Futurist, Alessia Crivelli from Crivelli gioielli, Alessio Boschi, jewelry designer, Jamie Freed from Farfetch and Marco Carniello, IEG’s Division Director Jewellery & Fashion were the guests in the panel. The intention of the talk was how each of them thought about inspiration and how events such as VicenzaOro are such great moments to get the right inspiration and see what trends are current and emerging.
Images from Vicenza town and from the fair itself. The selfie is taken by Samith Battha from the Retail Jeweller India, the lovely Smitha Sadanandan Rejeev, freelance jewelry contributor, Jen Cullen Williams from the Luxury Brand Group, and Alessio Costa and Marco Lastrico both from Barabino & Partners.
How much the show improved itself
We were invited also to attend the official opening and we did, as we were hosted and this was kind of required. However, I once again marveled about why people don’t think of their audience when speaking. The tendency is to congratulate the others within the group on stage and talk at least 5 minutes each. I would love to see a more spectacular opening, with more vibrant speeches that would transmit the enthusiasm they all have much better. I am sure that not just journalists but many more people would then love to attend the opening! All the details that are important for journalists can be shared online with them, but when opening the show; make it about the audience, the exhibitors, the jewelry!
It happens everywhere and all the time, but oh, what a difference it makes, when you meet someone who is short, to the point, and able to grasp the attention of everyone.
Exhibitors, open up!
I lacked the time to pay proper visits to all the booths I usually visit. But watched the trade show a little through the eyes of my companions. Journalists obviously used to press meetings and so on, seemed perfectly at ease. But the bloggers and Instagrammers not always so much. Some confirmed what I have been observing for too long; many of the booths especially in the high-end section, are so difficult to enter. No one in the entrance, or a group of men in suits blocking an entrance. The booths are like those high-end boutiques were 'normal' people don't feel at ease to step in.
Photos were taken at the Museo del Gioiello
I honestly think that the people in those booths, I won’t share their names here, but I think that they do not realize how it is perceived. They go for that utmost luxurious exclusive look and feel. And I understand it, but times are changing. Bloggers, vloggers, contributors, and the much-debated influencers, they are a connection to the general public. They spent much time to create platforms and content and a tone of voice that connects them with an audience. An audience that you as a company won't reach on your own, simply because they are a real person, not a brand, not your brand.
I am a blogger and a journalist these days, however, I have been working on trade shows myself with brands, plus I speak Italian. I have no problem entering any of the booths, but I get it and my advice to the exhibitors and the trade show would be to open up their booths. Or create a space for those bloggers and influencers that are there, some even hosted by the show itself, to take photos, get in contact and create an open communication with them. Why not even think of an area where bloggers and influencers can meet with the brands for photoshoots etcetera! Create an open space, lots of great light, a system to make appointments and a list of all influencers, bloggers, and journalists to meet? Brands can then take action even before the show starts to actively get in contact. The world of social media is rapidly becoming more professional, I think we should approach it a new, fresh and more organized professional way together.
Never took so many selfies ;-) With the lovely Olga Karachevtseva from Elle Russia, with Kina Andersson, the stylish freelance jewelry journalist from Sweden, with my one of my most beloved jewelry designers Alessio Boschi and with the wonderful Paola de Luca
Vicenzaoro is rapidly gaining territory in becoming the main jewelry event in Europe
I think that the show really has made an effort to create an event that, besides the exhibitors and the jewelry itself, tried to add value by creating many events during the show that were interesting for retailers and wholesalers and so forth. The short informative talks were a great initiative. This is the way to go and I think it should be even more show in the future, more events, more short meet & greets, more inspirational talks, more in-depth sharing, more motivational speeches.
My airplane took me home at 6.00 am the next morning. I was grateful for the wonderful organization, the great company and new friends I had made!
Working as a blogger or journalist can feel pretty alone at times. I love it, but I do miss peers to share knowledge with and the kind of interaction that enjoyed so much during these few days. I found some of the people in my group to be particularly precious. People who were open to sharing, down to earth, not showing off, but helping out and offering their knowledge. We all love jewelry, each in our own way, and we really...all of us bloggers, journalists, influencers, trade show organizer, publishers, and forecasters love to get the word out to the world and tell you, the public, about all the beauty that is created by passionate designers, manufacturers, and brands. We care about retailers and are attentive to trends and the market, we are here to share the love!
Why you should not miss the next edition of Vicenzaoro
Some of the most negative voices in the industry say that the days of trade shows are over. But I like to argue that they are far from over. Retailers and journalists alike, can't go and visit every company, nor do they want to receive them in their stores all the time. We also simply need a place to get inspired, to meet peers within the industry, hear and observe the new trends in not just jewelry, but also in retail marketing, technology to improve the customer experience, the developments in social media, the opportunity to meet and greet people within the industry. Jewelry trade shows are finding ways to add value to their visitors, by observing, adding new experiences, adding tools and platforms during the show and before and after online for people to gain information that is relevant to them. It is rather easy to dismiss the value of events like these, but what if we contributed to the show by sharing what we would like to see? What services or shows, information, workshops, tools etc would be adding value to the experience?
I have witnessed how VicenzaOro is making huge steps in order to create a relevant and great experience for the visiting public (nb.only open for the trade). Come and see for yourself in January. If you are a jewelry retailer it might be the best show around at this moment in Europe. Where Basel caters only for the very big names, this show offers a bit of both and lots of exciting fashion jewelry and of course; manufacturers! Let's not forget; Italy is one of the largest producers of jewelry and fashion in the world. Valenza, Vicenza, and Arezzo are incredible productive places full of jewelry brands and manufacturers. Italians are known globally for their taste and fashion sense! Their edge, there touch...you will see it reflected in their jewelry! From classic and high-end to fashionable and trendy. From anonymous chains to branded products, this is the place to be for any serious jewelry retailer! Visit it in January for the newest collections! Visit it in September and combine it with a city trip to Vicenza, Venice, and Verona.
You will LOVE it!
More information: https://www.vicenzaoro.com/en/