Tuesday, June 22, 2010

NICHE Show Plans 2011 Return to Vegas

When Buyers Market of American Craft organizers gambled on launching a luxury tradeshow in Las Vegas this month, they produced a winner. Based on their success, plans are being made for a 2011 show.

Described by visitors as a “jewel box” and a “boutique show,” NICHE: The Show presented a carefully juried selection of handmade fine gold, silver and gemstone jewelry, plus glass, wood, ceramic and metal art objects suitable for wedding gifts or store display.

During the three-day debut of NICHE: The Show at Bally’s Grand Ballroom June 6-8, nearly 2,600 art, jewelry and home furnishings retailers visited the booths of 90 studio artists from the United States and Canada.

By the show’s final day, impressive sales had convinced more than half of the artists to sign contracts to return to Las Vegas for NICHE: The Show next year.

In 2011, NICHE: The Show will take place the first weekend of June, during Las Vegas Jewelry Week, in Planet Hollywood’s Celebrity Ballroom.

Participating in a new wholesale tradeshow during a still-uncertain economy was a gamble that paid off for many of the exhibiting artists.

“I participated in this show because I believe that my business must expand to include more jewelry stores in addition to galleries of fine craft,” said Sydney Lynch of Lincoln, Neb., who designs jewelry in 18kt and 22kt gold, silver and gemstones. “The buyers are here, including many from stores located in Western states, who don’t usually attend the East Coast shows. I’m pleased with the orders that have been written here, and with the exposure that my work has received.”

Success arrived early in the show for Perry Holbrook of KopperWood in Asheville, N.C., maker of glass-topped, handcarved ring boxes. He began turning away buyers the second day of the show.

“I have received so many orders here that I am nearly booked through the rest of the year with the work necessary to fill my orders,” Holbrook said. “I knew that it might be a gamble to come because this is a first-time show, but I understood that it would also be a worthwhile investment. The response has been far better than I ever expected.”

Many buyers who shopped NICHE: The Show praised its mission to present luxury products reflecting superior workmanship and cutting-edge design. Several noted that although the show was small, it glittered with high-end handmade creations available at low minimums and in limited editions.

“Refreshing, exclusive and intimate: those are the buzzwords that I heard from buyers on the show floor,” said Rebecca Mercado, NICHE: The Show's jewelry manager. “We have plans to grow in 2011, but we want to maintain the atmosphere of luxury and the excitement of discovering new designs and new artists.” Among all the lessons learned, organizers were encouraged to keep aiming high.

“What a wonderful show,” Joanne Hildt of Pinnacle Gallery in Scottsdale, Ariz., wrote in a note to show organizers this week. “It is the first show in about two years that had a positive attitude about sales, and the artists were so happy to be there. The show was beautifully displayed and having it in Las Vegas is so fun for everyone. This show is a winner from all angles and I hope it will get bigger in the future.”

For more information, call 800-432-7238, ext. 218.

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