I was excited to venture to the Big Apple this August to exhibit at NY Now, the annual trade fair where people come from worldwide to buy for their shops, department stores and ecommerce sites.
Getting myself and my jewels there was no easy feat. After a lot of investigations it seemed the safest way to take it all was on an ATA Carnet. A very long-winded affair to complete which my long-suffering assistant Olivia had to fill in every single item with carat weight, size, description and value of each piece – then wait for it to be rejected one day before I was flying! It was a relief when I reached the airport on Thursday 18th August and found a friendly British Customs officer who was very helpful, and sympathetic to my novice journey experience, and I could relax on the other side with a cappuccino!
Arriving at JFK was more bristly. My bodyguard Simon was with me, we were ushered into the US Customs area. The Customs officer spot checked various items, then just as he had finished with his stamping, and I thought we were free to go, he announced, ‘I will just take a look in those two bags’ ! He luckily searched Simon’s bag and my backpack, but not my large handbag, which contained some extra jewellery that had not made the carnet, phew! It was the same experience on the return journey, the US Customs checked meticulously whereas the UK border was so relaxed that they didn’t even ask!
It is always exciting to be in New York. The Javits Convention Center is situated on 39th and 11th by the high line. It is very bright and well designed. I spent the Friday setting up and meeting my fellow British exhibitors. I was exhibiting in the Handmade section which opened a day earlier than the rest of the show, so my first day was busy. Generally the amount of people through was very consistent, and of a good appreciative market. I was pleased with my first showing at NY Now, considering that other exhibitors said that the numbers were down on previous years, possibly due to the upcoming presidential elections.