2000 was the first Rock n Gem show I ever exhibited at, naive with a few boxes of freshly imported stock and a small cash tin empty albeit with a woefully small amount of change but keen to learn & sell. I was positioned near another relative newbie who was selling natural stone drilled beads. I could see a queue forming at the entrance and once the clock struck 10am to my amazement a wave of visitors surged through the building, they seemed to be striving towards their favoured exhibitors eye’s rapidly surveying all before them in case a purchase had to be made.
The venue Kempton Park was then and still is the flagship event of the ‘natural mineral’ shows(there’s 4 but its the first and last of the year that had the most exhibitors, in the past 120+), in its past when Tony & Helen had the helm both floors of Kempton Park were utilised.
Having been ‘upstairs’ for a few events whilst awaiting exhibitor space on the hallowed ground floor it was a slightly more relaxed affair, sneaking a peek downstairs you knew that the wave although a little subsided would reach you 30-40mins later, with visitors keen
to explore and find the similiarly located refreshments and catering facilities.
Gem ‘n’ Bead shows branched out from the main event to take advantage of the popularity in beads and jewellery making and allow the sale of non mineral beads.
Onwards a few years and Keith and Carole purchased the shows from Helen after the the sudden passing of Tony, they continued with the proven formula and tried a few new show venues, however economics, competition in the bead world’ declining visitor & exhibitor
numbers saw the end of the separate Gem n Bead shows which were then merged with the Rock n Gem shows as Rock Gem n Bead, the mineral only rule at the shows was also withdrawn, subsequent challenges, legacy marketing, innovation and online sales saw the decline of long term exhibitors that used to make up the majority of the ‘event family’ and of course related visitor numbers & sales.
Now in late 2015 Sam and Pete purchased the event and are poised to reinvigorate the shows... here’s their introduction.
“As you may be aware we purchased this business from Carole and Keith, the previous owners who retired to North Cyprus in December 2015. To introduce ourselves: We are a married couple who live in Wiltshire; Pete is a retired retail manager with over 40 years’ experience; and Sam is an accountant, currently working in the NHS, again with many years of experience.
We also started Sam’s Rings N Things, about 5 years ago which has developed into a successful business selling beads, jewellery both handmade and brought in as well as fossils and minerals. During the trading of Sam’s Rings N Things, we have regularly exhibited at
over 80 shows per annum. We have also organised and run a variety of events.
We started exhibiting Sam’s Rings N Things at the Rock, Gem and Bead Shows and as the advert says ‘we liked the product so much we bought the business!’. We both agree, that due to the generosity of the many experts who attend the various shows, our knowledge of minerals and fossils particularly has grown significantly over this period. We have been given the challenge by many of the existing exhibitors of the Rock, Gem and Bead Shows to grow the business both in the number of shows put on each year, and in terms of visitors
at existing and new shows….
Not much I’m sure you will agree. We are therefore currently exploring new venues and methods of advertising.
We welcome any suggestions that readers may have – please do get in touch we would love to hear from you, or alternatively come along to one of the shows and have a ‘chat’ with us personally.”
Sam & Pete