So, we're in Chicago, at a little thing you may have heard of called THE INSTORE SHOW, "The Smart Jewelry Show".
It's been fun. I've now been staying at The Sheraton for four nights, and while I love the hotel, the magnificent view of Lake Michigan, and the proximity to Navy Pier, have finally decided that I dislike "The Heavenly Bed". Last night, I slept on the far more Earthly Sofa.
See video of show preparation from Friday.
Anyway, Saturday was our pre-show day, where exhibitors moved in, and we welcomed retailers with some education. And all we can say is "So far, so good". We had a full day of education spread over three rooms as well as some other activities like an intensive session from "The Edge Retail Academy" as well as "Leading Jewelers of the World."
While pre-show sessions were much more traditional than some of the sessions we have planned for the three show days, there was much valuable knowledge shared.
I saw excellent sessions from INSTORE family members Shane Decker and David Geller -- both speakers have absolutely different styles. For Shane, think Jeff Foxworthy crossed with Tom Peters -- comedy mixed with inspiration. And for David, think Jim Cramer combined with "How Things Work". Very strong sessions.
The big surprise was Andy Malis of MGH, who has contributed to INSTORE a couple times over the last year. Andy did an excellent session on today's changing media options (Andy loves billboards and social media, and hates newspapers unless you're targeting customers 55 and over.) He also showed some inspirational advertising from his company for retailers like Smyth Jewelers, Tappers, Wedding Days. Some of the best jewelry retail advertising we've seen. Andy was an entertaining speaker, handing out Amazon gift cards to audience members who provided correct answers, and his second session was probably the best-attended session of the day.
Also attended an inspirational session on turning your bench jeweler into a rock star from David Geller and Joel McFadden. Joel was an entertaining, and very interactive speaker who worked the room well and got many people involved. And he pitched tomorrow's "Bench Pressure Challenge' where two jewelers will be facing off in CAD-CAM and wax carving challenges, so well that for anyone who heard it, "Bench Pressure" will be a can't-miss event.
Anyway, it's time to head off for the official Day One of THE INSTORE SHOW. I'm incredibly wound up, nervous, excited, feeling I could scream, feeling I might puke.
In other words, I'm feeling absolutely Chicago. See you there.