stôn wins two awards at NY NOW
What a week for the stôn team at the prestigious “NY NOW” Show!
· Won the “Best New Product Award!”
· Launched our new website and new look books
· Met MANY encouraging buyers
· Connected with Iris Apfel and other influencers
· Got LOTS of exercise (Who said these big shows are easy??!!)…..
And when it was over, we were all very, very tired (But in a good way)!
After months of planning and preparation, we arrived in New York on Friday, August 10, two days before the opening of the prestigious “NY NOW” trade show that bi-annually attracts 30,000 buyers of jewelry, gifts and home goods.
Even though it was our first venture to a trade show outside of Los Angeles, we had new stôn look books in hand, a new website to back us up, and a determined attitude. We figured the four-day “expo” at New York’s Javits Convention Center would be the perfect place to showcase stôn to a larger audience. And our goal was to do it in a way that reflected our brand – thoughtful and unique, with a focus on the empowering stories behind our designs.
Our first task was finding our spot on the sprawling convention center floor and then assembling the stôn display booth. Special thanks to partners Abstracta (for fabricating the display cases), Jim Barbour of ShopDog Turnery (for bringing my display stand sketches to life), and Natalie Faye (for the life-size photos of our models wearing pieces from our new collection). We were told that our booth resembled an up-scale boutique (albeit a tiny one!).
The new look books were laid out for buyers. The pages were held together by hand-made rings in bronze, wearable keepsakes for those who stopped by our booth. Our new stôn website was launched, the product line sheets were put together, and we were ready, and excited, to meet the buyers.
But here’s what struck me……No amount of preparation could really prepare us for how it actually felt to be one of 24,000 brands showcased at “NY NOW,” with some 30,000 buyers expected to stream by over the next four days. What a rush! Just watching the Javits Center come to life from the ground up, the whole place absolutely buzzing with activity, was a spectacle unto itself. Stôn was included in the Handmade section, among many well-established designers and others who were not so well known but showed great promise. When the show opened that first day, we were ready to go.
And what an opening day we had. We had been told many times not to expect serious interest in our work the first year at this show, but many buyers stopped to comment favorably on our work – even if they weren’t in the market fine jewelry. On day two we were surprised to learn our spiral pulley necklace – 18k yellow gold, set with brilliant white diamonds - had won the Best New Product Award in the Handmade Designer Section. But the best was yet to come, because on the third day the judges chose stôn to receive the Best New Product in Market for the overall show! This was such an honor for me and the team……Certainly it was a great endorsement for our jewelry, but maybe more important was how this recognition made us all feel. It’s the way you feel when hard work pays off.
So the awards were great, but the show gave us so much more. A major highlight was the chance to meet the legendary Iris Apfel, the interior designer and fashion icon. She’s now 97, but you couldn’t tell it from the energy she displayed. She was there to sign copies of her new book, “Iris Apfel, Accidental Icon.” I heartily recommend it! It’s an inspirational read about her life story, with lots of great lessons for us all, such as how we should be unapologetic for who we are.
Another highlight was the chance to meet so many fellow designers and view their creations and hear their stories. Many of them also had business with deep purpose, similar to stôn, which was another signal that we’re on the right track. But most important was the success we had over the four days with the buyers. Some bought pieces, which was great, and almost equally important was how so many of the buyers were extremely encouraging. Their positive responses and observations made us look forward to our pieces being available to new audiences.
When the show came to an end, we were all extremely tired but excited about the experience and what it might mean for our budding company. It was heartening to be part of a community of artisans and buyers we would never have met without joining this forum. These new friends were generous with their time and advice and inspiring in ways they probably don’t even know. There is something very thrilling about working steadily toward a goal and then seeing it come to life.
Onward and upward!