In September 2017, jewellery designer Alice Barnes opted to invest in KickStart – our unique initiative that puts emerging designer jewellery brands in front of IJL’s audience of buyers, retailers and press.
Here, Barnes explains what made the process so valuable for her business and shares her excitement for IJL 2018 in September.
Q: What was your overall impression of KickStart and how did it help your business in its early stages?
I’d only been in business for three-and-a-half-years when I took part and although I already had several stockists, KickStart was the perfect platform to help me take it up another notch. The advice and guidance given by the organisers was invaluable, and exhibiting with other designers definitely took some of the fear out of being at such a big show.
Q. Being a KickStarter does involve investing in the cost of a shared stand at IJL 2018 – what would you say to people who are worried about taking the leap?
I see trade and retail shows as an advertising opportunity first and foremost. At IJL you have the chance to get your work seen by hundreds of potential stockists and journalists, so if someone seems interested then get their details and keep them up-to-date with your progress and build relationships.
It was great meeting so many people who were genuinely interested in seeing new work by emerging designers, and nice to meet so many fellow designers and make new friends. I’m not going to lie it was hard work and a real whirlwind, but totally worth it, especially as I came away with the KickStarter Industry’s Choice Award. I won a free stand at IJL 2018 and started planning for it as soon as I got home!
Q. How can future KickStarters capitalise on their IJL Journey and the IJL experience? What would be your advice?
Be as prepared as you possibly can and take on board the advice available to you. Your fellow KickStarters will all be in the same boat as you and just as nervous, so stay in touch and gain strength from each other.
Q. How did KickStart help you on your journey to success?
I gained several new stockists and had my best (and busiest!) Christmas yet. It also really boosted my confidence and I feel much more self assured when it comes to approaching stockists and doing future trade show. Having said that, it will be weird going it alone at IJL 2018 without my fellow KickStarters beside me!
Q. Finally, how is your jewellery industry career or brand progressing and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I’ve just got my first stockist in the USA and I’d love to expand overseas more, but I’m aware that there are still lots of potential stockist in the UK.
Right now I’m in the throes of designing a new paper inspired range which will launch at IJL in September and I can’t wait to show it to my current stockists, as well as those I’ve yet to meet.
To read more terms and conditions about KickStart, please click here.
What is the IJL Journey?
As part of our IJL 365 approach, the IJL Journey extends far beyond our three-day trade event. It offers myriad career-boosting benefits, including a mentoring package, workshop days, ongoing pricing, branding and marketing support, and introductions to key industry figures.
This invaluable advice prepares each Bright Young Gem, KickStarter and Design Gallery Exhibitor to meet the 9,000 strong jewellery audience at IJL 2018, from September 2-4.
IJL is #withyou offering career opportunities and the chance to grow your jewellery business, whether you are a student, recent graduate, emerging brand or established player. Speak to our team to find out more.
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