Jewellers' Network

How to sell more at Trade Shows

By Cape Precious Metals

First off, let’s review the basics of exhibiting.

Don’t be afraid to get adventurous with your display to generate a bit of a buzz, as long as the use of colours and props does not compete with your jewellery and the end result is uniquely reflective of your style. You can test this by stepping as far away from your mock-up display as possible and noting what stands out. Make sure your jewellery is properly lit and consider bringing additional cabled lights (and possibly battery-powered backup lights) in case the standard lighting supplied with your stand does not do it justice. Your jewellery selection should be freshly cleaned and polished, and completely representative of your brand.

Consistency creates trust. Retailers are looking for repeatable quality. If your stand’s branding and overall look does not correspond with your online presence, your business card or your packaging, they may get the subconscious impression that you’re not consistent in your work either. Make sure you’ve got enough printed materials like business cards at the ready, and that all digital platforms have been updated accordingly – they will most certainly research potential suppliers online.

Now let’s dig into some tips around how to maximise your chances of landing that ideal retail client:

Assuming you’ve already had a good look at your profit margins and efficiencies and concluded that venturing into wholesale would be a good fit for your business, the first step is deciding which retailers you’d love to supply. Are you willing to make-to-order for middle-of-the-road tastes or are you holding out for a retailer that will totally understand your art and buy the designs that you’re most passionate about making? Select a few of your designs that fit these brands and that you know you can produce quickly and in bulk.

Research these stores as well as the jewellery brands they already stock. What do you have in common with these competitors? What could you offer that they don’t? Have a short introductory sentence prepared to quickly summarise why your brand would be a great product to stock, and then contact each retailer to see if they’ll be attending Jewellex and whether they’d be willing to schedule a specific meeting time with you.

Consider all aspects of working with these stores – would you prefer your pieces be sold in your own packaging or in their branded packaging? Do you have order forms ready to go, or can you create these very quickly? It’s advisable to have your professional product shots on a white background for these. Have you considered how you would allocate responsibility for shipping fees, damaged goods, exchanges or refunds?

During the expo:

If you’d rather not display prices on your items, you should at least be able to immediately state what each piece would cost (at a variety of wholesale quantities) when chatting to a potential retail client, and have a minimum viable order in mind. Retailers need to know that you’ve diligently crunched your numbers and that you know what you can confidently deliver on their bulk orders at lower prices than you’d normally sell an individual item for.

Ask fellow exhibitors if they’d be willing to chat to you about their experience with retailers, even if it’s just to give you a ballpark figure on how much time you can expect to spend on communication and admin related tasks for them.

If you get a definite no from a retailer at the expo, ask if they’d be willing to let you know why they don’t consider you a good fit for their store. Listen with an open mind and thank them for their time.

If you’re an introvert, or accustomed to working alone from your bench, you’ll probably need to be more outgoing than usual. We’re not suggesting you get loud or pushy, but this is your opportunity to make connections with potential buyers and the constant interaction during the day may require more energy than you normally spend. Try to ensure you have before- and after-show downtime scheduled so that you’re at your best every day.

Best of luck landing your dream retailer and enjoying that valuable exposure, validation and consistent income! The hard work really starts once you’ve secured that order, so make sure you have all the resources in place.

Cape Precious Metals is one of South Africa’s largest secondary refiners, specialising in the recycling of all precious metals.

Utilising modern techniques for maximum recovery and returns, we refine all jewellers’ waste including bench and floor sweeps, carpets, filings, polishings, old jewellery solids and (the little-known) sludge.

HEAD OFFICE: +27 (0)21 551 2066
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PORT ELIZABETH: +27 (0)41 365 1890