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An Exclusive interview with Shailesh Sangani, Convener, National Exhibitions, GJEPC with Retail Jeweller India on his brilliant Vision of IIJS becoming the largest trade show of the World.

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Shailesh Sangani, Convenor of National Exhibitions, GJPEC, shares his thoughts about IIJS Premiere 2022 and provides some behind-the-stage details that made the show the huge success that it was. In a conversation with Samit Bhatta, Publisher of Retail Jeweller India, he also talks about the next Convenor, the future of the G&J industry, and more.

The mega success of IIJS Premiere, 2022

The most significant factor we have faced in the past two years has been the COVID pandemic. At GJPEC, we kept doing our work. We did a Bengaluru show between the first COVID stretch and the second one. In the first phase of COVID, we did two virtual shows, and between the second and the third stretch, in fact, after the third stretch, we did the IIJS Signature show.
But having said that, not everybody showed up in Bengaluru, nor did everyone show up at the Signature show. People actually wanted to go and have a feel and touch, meet people, and see things. So, I think we were at the right time at the right place, and because of all the hard work that the Council team has put in, things went well.

I think the biggest contribution of the Council came about during the COVID period. The second most significant contribution was adding new participants to the IIJS shows. A lot of people told me that they found a number of new suppliers, and the exhibitors also said that they found a lot of new customers. So, adding 400 new participants to the show was a winning strategy.

And then I would say, the completely new layout that we came out with for the last show was a big hit. We actually decongested the whole show, because, in the previous years, we used to have one category almost together. This time, we actually decongested the whole thing. We distributed all the big companies, the medium companies and the small companies, and that way, we decongested the space. So, from Day 1, people were able to find customers as per their needs, and new customers get added to their list. As buyers and sellers interacted with one another, a lot of commerce took place, which was very encouraging.

Then there was our planning. We made a number of changes in the show, for example, we kept only one entry and one exit point. People were free to move anywhere they wanted to. We introduced buggies in the Premiere show in Mumbai for the first time, and a lot of people used them. We also made changes to the food at the cafeterias and the coffee shops. Overall, the changes were well-accepted and people were very happy with the show.

The future of B2B shows in India

From the point of view of retailers, there are three seasons in India. The first is around Diwali, and then between Diwali and Akshaya Tritiya, we have a huge marriage season, which we call the winter marriage season. Then comes Akshaya Tritiya, and then there is a small summer wedding season in some states. The summer wedding season is becoming smaller and smaller, and the winter wedding season is becoming bigger and bigger.

Then there is Dhanteras, which is a very important event from the point of view of sales. It holds a lot of significance in our country and people come out to buy gold. People also buy gold on and around Akshaya Tritiya. In between these high sale periods, shows and events can be held.

As far as the exhibitors are concerned, they know which exhibitions to go to and which exhibitions not to go to, but sometimes, they are heavily pressured and seduced to attend shows that they don’t want to attend but still have to attend.

Manufacturers need to understand that there are a lot of private companies that are doing these shows, but the money generated is not coming back to the industry – it is going into their pockets. They may be bringing some crowd, they may be giving some freebies, they may be offering free hotels and free online tickets, but that customer is not the customer you want. Those who are coming through a free online ticket and for a free hotel stay are not the customers you want. The customers you want are those who are genuine and are attending events because they need goods for their business.

Exhibitors need to know that all exhibitions are not worth attending. They should not waste their money on events that do not give them the right kind of business, the right kind of opportunities.

Advice to the next Convenor

The Convenor who comes after me should have a good amount of experience. I think the next Convenor will be better than me. My only advice to him is that he needs to listen to people, he needs to listen to exhibitors, visitors, their problems, and what they’re thinking about it. If he listens right, he will do a good job. I think he will do a better job than what I have done, I’m quite confident about that. So, best of luck to him.

The Indian gem and jewellery industry:

I think the Indian gem and jewellery industry is doing very well. The Government of India has been very supportive, and we thank them for charging only 3% as GST. A significant proportion of the trade is conducting its business in a very sound manner, following all the rules and laws. I see the industry growing because Indians have some crazy love for jewellery.

Yes, the trends may keep on changing. Once upon a time, you would see a lot of yellow on a woman, but today you see different colours, and you see different products. They may be smaller, but more beautiful, more powerful. So, the same amount of money that one would be put into a 100gm-150gm gold set is being put into a 1-1.5 or 2ct diamond, two in the ears and one on the neck, and women feel good about it. That is a change which is taking place. Trends will keep on changing, but I think the love for jewellery is not going anywhere in India. It is going to remain steadfast, ad that augurs well for the G&J industry.

Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News

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