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In the Beginning

by Ellen Fruchtman, CEO

It was around 1997 or 1998. I don’t remember the exact year, but I remember the feeling. It was my first JCK Show. I didn’t have a booth. I knew nothing about this show. I didn’t understand nor could nearly comprehend the enormity.  Kate Peterson, who I believe started her company not long before, had a mutual client of ours. She was watching what we were doing and she loved our work. So, she invited us to be there. I remember renting a VHS tape player monitor to play the award-winning TV commercials we created for this mutual client to play in her booth, which was located not far from the top of the escalator at the Sands Expo. That JCK year would change the course of my business, which had existed for 17 years prior.

I remember how overwhelming it was. The first year, I never stepped foot on the showroom floor. First of all, I had no idea I could! The second year, Kate invited us back again. Still overwhelmed, I came to realize I could, in fact, enter. Stepping on that floor was like nothing I could ever imagine. I remember the sheer magnitude. The booths appeared to go on to infinity. I was mesmerized by the jewelry. I could not believe diamond jewelry worth thousands upon thousands of dollars were lined up in rows. If I had to choose just one, how could I possibly decide? It felt like an eternity to get to the middle of the show (it probably was). And, once there, I remember feeling panic not knowing how or where to exit and find my way back.

The point is, I remember the excitement. I remember at that moment realizing what an amazing industry this truly was. The multitude of artisans who create these stunning pieces. The complexity of it all. How this industry touches and impacts the world. How we affect the lives of so many people. And, how I felt that very first moment I saw that very first showcase filled with extraordinary gems. I’d like to recapture that moment and save it in a bottle.

So many years have passed. Now, we have our own booth we share with Kate Peterson. I enter the showroom floor with a very different attitude. It’s work.  It’s hard work. I pass the showcases of extraordinary gems as if it were nothing. The feeling of excitement has turned to angst. I think about the cost of the show. I think about things like my return on investment. I think about how tiring it’s going to be. And, I think I’m not too far off from the way many of my clients feel – retailers, manufacturers and designers alike. I see the difference in their faces. The business has changed in ways we could have never imagined. Hell, every business has changed. Is the automotive business the same? The travel business? Even the advertising business is a mere shadow of itself. I imagine David Ogilvy rolling in his grave. We’re all at a tipping point.

After years of being at Mandalay Bay, the JCK Show is back at the Sands Expo. If this business of ours is going to succeed and make it through all the trials and tribulations, we need to all feel excited again. Sure, it won’t be the same experience I felt in the late 90s when I first stepped on that showroom floor.  Tipping points can be an exciting place to be. If we all dig deep enough, we can remember why we all got into this in the first place. We can remember some of the joy we bring our customers. We can remember, at the end of the day, there really isn’t anything like this jewelry business of ours. Has it changed? Yes. Is it going back to that place we remember? No. But, it’s still a pretty darn good place to be.

Make an appointment to see us at JCK here and see how we can change the course of your business. Or email us directly at suits@fruchtman.com.

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