Posted January 20, 2020
That's how I would describe the three days that John and I spent at the fabulous Miami Antique and Estate Jewelry Show in the Miami Convention Center in South Beach. Attending a jewelry show like this requires a plan. Why? Because if you don't have a plan, you will succumb to so many distractions that you'll get very little accomplished. Here are some examples of the type of distractions I'm talking about.
Cartier. BVLGARI. Van Cleef & Arpels. Tiffany & Co., and so many other wonderful items! They catch your eye and draw you right in. Sticking with your plan is a must. However, this is an excellent opportunity for me to point out that even though we don't regularly keep such upscale items in stock in our Decatur or our Champaign stores, THEY ARE AVAILABLE TO US. If you ever have a need for top quality, famous label designer items, please let us know. We know where to find them, and would be more than happy to purvey them for you on request. We have many vendors we can contact for this type of fine quality jewelry, and they are eager to send beautiful merchandise to us any time the need might arise.
Now.... back to the actual business we went to Miami to conduct!
Wait! How did these pictures get in here? More distractions! OK... we did attend a Miami Heat game, but the jewelry show was closed for the evening, and we got invited by friends, so it was an easy YES! answer. The Heat won, the crowd was excited, and it was a lot of fun. Neither John, nor I would want to be accused of being dull.
Flora Gems Decatur, and Flora Gems Champaign have some jewelry needs that are similar or even identical to each other. There are also some very divergent styles and tastes between the two stores and their patrons, creating a need for both John and me to go to the show. So, the plan was to first visit our established partners to see if they have what we needed. Then, we would, as quickly as possible, walk through the rows and rows of vendors, looking to see if we could find a new, never-before-seen booth where there were great selection and prices. John made buying decisions for Decatur, while I made buying decisions for Champaign. Many discussions took place between us as we helped each other make decisions.
Here we are at the "back" of a booth. If you can get to the "back" of a vendor's booth, it is an ideal situation, especially if you are at a booth with exactly the kind of fabulous jewelry you want at great prices. It's ideal because if you are willing to put in the time and work, the vendor will give you full access to EVERYTHING he has in the safe, even the newly acquired items that aren't necessarily ready for the showcase yet. THIS IS WHERE THE VERY BEST VALUES ARE TO BE FOUND. This is exactly what we hope to find at the show because it provides exactly what we hope to bring home to our stores, and to our customers.
At this particular booth, which was a brand new vendor we had never met, we ended up purchasing forty-one items. Some one-of-a-kind items would be great for either store, so John and I devised a method of deciding which store would get those type items. The first eight or ten items were easy, since these were specific to either Decatur, or to Champaign. The remaining thirty or so items were divided among us the only fair way we could think of...... as the owner, John got his first pick. Just kidding. He could have, but he didn't. John is always fair and equitable. So, we took turns having first pick of the remaining items, and had a lot of fun doing so.
See how glamorous the job of buying estate jewelry is? Comfy shoes. Not-so-comfy chairs. Plastic buckets, and less than ideal lighting. Well, if this is what it takes to bring back great estate jewelry values, then we are happy to do it. Finding more and more new vendors, and making lasting relationships with them is the key to running a successful estate jewelry business. This was just ONE vendor we bought from. There were a number of booths we visited, and we ended up purchasing many, many items.
All of the items we purchased will appear on our website. They will arrive in our stores soon, but much is left to do. Once we receive them, we will inspect them, making sure all items are exactly what we purchased. They will go to our jewelers in our shop, where they will be refurbished and made to look new again, descriptions must be written, files must be uploaded to our website, photos need to be taken, tagging needs to be done, and of course, everything must be priced. Lots to do. Even though some items are destined for Champaign, and some are destined for Decatur, we are always happy to send anything to either store so you can have a look at it if you are interested in buying. Look for these wonderful and interesting new pieces to start showing up in our showcases, and on the website within the coming days and weeks. I hope you enjoy looking and buying as much as John and I did!