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Trunk Shows: The Ultimate Retail/Supplier Collaboration

Trunk shows are widely regarded as a mutually beneficial arrangement for jewelry designers and retailers. Jewelry designers get an audience for their creations, and retailers get to host a special event that will attract foot traffic to their location.

Trunk shows also allow retailers to test out new products without having to commit to ordering inventory. And consumers love them, too, as they combine the fun of a social gathering with the excitement of getting a look at jewelry they wouldn’t normally find at their favorite store.

But trunk shows aren’t just for jewelry designers. They’re also an underutilized opportunity for suppliers to expand their reach or highlight new products.  Suppliers can hold trunk shows at stores that already carry some of their products, or they can work with new retailers as a sort of test run for a future partnership. Supplier trunk shows are particularly exciting when offered at stores with a custom design practice. Add a counter-sketch artist and some strong custom consultants to the mix, and your biggest, blingiest gems are likely to find new homes! A successful trunk show allows suppliers to build relationships with retailers and give them some real incentive to carry a supplier’s merchandise or make additional purchases. Another benefit of trunk shows is the immediate, direct feedback that they provide. Suppliers will get an idea from these shows for what consumers are most interested in.

It should be clear that trunk shows provide lots of benefits to the retailer with few, if any, drawbacks. They get loyal customers excited to visit their favorite jeweler, and they may also bring in new customers, as both the retailer and supplier will be promoting the show. Retailers will also be able to gauge interest in the supplier’s merchandise before committing to an order. There’s also an added bonus for store employees, as it gives them a fun diversion from their usual retail routine. A trunk show can also be fun for the suppliers, as well, as sales reps will get to share their knowledge and passion directly with customers as well as with the retailers they are more used to working with.

The holiday season is an especially good time for trunk shows, as many consumers will be looking for a special, unique gift. A holiday theme, complete with decorations, gingerbread cookies, and warm cider will help turn this sales event into a celebration. Shoppers will also appreciate this festive respite from the holiday shopping grind.

But you don’t need a holiday to hold a trunk show. The show itself is an event. Just provide some wine, cheese, and music, and you’ll create an atmosphere that is more intimate gathering than shopping trip. Just make sure to discuss beforehand who will supply the refreshments (typically, this is the store’s responsibility).

Just as with jewelry designer trunk shows, it’s exciting for customers to come to a store for an event and discover diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, or gemstones that are not usually available in the store. Customers can place an order for a stone or buy one right there, and retailers can supply sketch experts at the counter to offer design ideas.

A trunk show can be a festive, collaborative, creative event that will have customers asking “when is the next one?” And if the show is a success, it makes it that much easier for a supplier to schedule another one with another retailer. With clear benefits for designers, retailers, and customers alike, it’s time for suppliers to get in on the action.