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Interview with Kate Youngstrom from Reed Exhibitions/JCK Events

In episode #126 of the Joy Joya Jewelry Marketing Podcast, I chat with Kate Youngstrom, the Director of Content and Community for Reed Exhibitions, which oversees JCK Events. Kate has worked for Reed for about a decade and has also served as the Director of Events and Education and the event director for Event Director – JCK Tucson.

In this exciting episode, we talk about some behind-the-scenes info about how the JCK Show in Las Vegas will be even more exciting this year. As a content marketing expert, Kate also shares some awesome tips about the content marketing and storytelling for jewelry brands, and she provides advice for jewelry brands that are hoping to break into trade shows in a post-COVID world. View the AI-generated transcript of the episode below.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 6:02
I would love to learn a little bit about your position as the director of content and community for Reed, what are your day to day responsibilities look like? What does that even mean? tell our listeners,

Kate Youngstrom 6:11
I mean, if you guys know, I would love somebody to tell me because it changes every day. But um, in case anybody doesn’t know, Reed exhibitions is the parent company of JCK. And many other, you know, trade shows in many verticals in throughout the world. overseeing the content department is my is my new role. And basically what it is, is I work alongside and fantastic team that puts together comprehensive strategic, analytical, you know, events, podcasts, blogs, trend panels, products that will drive engagement and education and community, right keyword, I think in that in that job title is his community, right? We can create all the amazing content that we want, we can drive people to our websites and have them read our articles. But if they don’t feel part of that brands, you know, threadwork and not brands community and loyal to those brands, and really feel that we are here to be a resource to them, is there a day to day to help them get through whatever it is that their business means, then that ultimately is not going to work? So I think the the key word that I like, we often forget about is in my mind, is that community peace?

Laryssa Wirstiuk 7:15
Awesome. This is a pretty new position. Right? You just transitioned into it?

Kate Youngstrom 7:19
Yes, about six months ago. I mean, I can’t believe it’s already been that long. But yes, I’ve been at Reed for about 10 years and a few different other positions. And and yes, recently transitioned into this role about six months ago.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 7:31
So was this a position that was created to kind of accommodate all these new needs? Or did it already exist before?

Kate Youngstrom 7:37
It did not exist before and I think that you know, what we what we all experienced with a pandemic, I always say like it took the next three or five years of our lives and shortened it into sections, like so the technologies that we discovered or the capabilities that we had, as people as companies, as friends, as employers as staff, right, we we tapped into resources in ourselves that we didn’t even know that we had. So although I think this year round, 365 initiative that you’re starting to see some from many brands, but that read and throughout the world is something that I think people would have done eventually, right? We were already getting a little bit more tech savvy, a little bit more digital, I think that the pandemic just sort of took what was a you know, inevitable in the next three years and forced it into like six months. So it is a new position out of some new goals that the company is looking to achieve, which I am thrilled to be able to be a part of, but it was inevitable, I think at some point.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 8:25
That’s super exciting. So tell me a little bit how did you get involved in the jewelry industry specifically, was it accidental, I have some guests who like accidentally end up in it other people who like intentionally ended up in it tell me how that happened for you.

Kate Youngstrom 8:39
Totally accidental, I didn’t even know that you could be in your industry at the store. Right? You know, you go to college, they don’t tell you how you can be when you grow up. But I got a job at Reed in the marketing department I like I said about 10 years ago, and at that point, you service multiple brands within the company. So you could work on jewelry, you could work on golf, you could work on security. And I mean, obviously any, you know, 22 year old girl falls in love with the jewelry portfolio. And so I just kind of worked my way through the company and THROUGH THROUGH THROUGH read to be able to eventually kind of be a little bit more permanent of a fixture on the jewelry team. And so although I don’t fully 100% work on just jewelry now I still have a hand in that very specifically. And I’ve been you know, involved in that team now for the last seven or eight years. And I mean, what else could you ask for? You know what I mean? Jealous of all your diamond paintings in the back and I know that feeling I have them in my office to my my office and the in the company and it’s just it’s an industry that I think that like engulfs you, right? You can’t even if you’re not a jeweler or designer and you know your position like mine. It you really can’t help but kind of immerse yourself in it. It’s such like a community is a community and you kind of get sucked into it.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 9:50
Yeah. Oh, I 100% agree with that. I think that’s why I love being in this space too. And I feel like that more and more every day like the more I’m immersed in it, the more I feel that way

Kate Youngstrom 10:01
It’s like, it’s crazy. You see all my social media comments in the groups? And and you would think and I know there’s competition out there like I know there isn’t it happens. But like, ultimately, like the things people share and the willingness, they have to see each other support and grow and success stories and products that they share. And it really is, like, kind of amazing. I don’t know that there’s many industries like that out there. Yeah, definitely.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 10:22
So I’ve really loved to know about how JCK events and the JCK brand in general has pivoted during the covid 19 pandemic, there’s obvious things, I mean, the show had to get canceled. So tell me a little bit more about that, and how did it change how you work for, for these brands.

Kate Youngstrom 10:40
So I think like the ultimate thing that that JCK in the staff face, he always has in mind is delivering the right experience for our customers, right? Like, ultimately, we are the marketplace where business gets done. And that is what we’re always trying to achieve a a space where retailers and and brands and wholesalers and you know, designers can come together and share their creations. And and and really, you know, do business. And so when the show shut down last year, we we scrambled to be able to figure out a way that how we can still provide that. So last year, we did a few different things, we created a COVID resources page where we worked with all of our industry partners and said, You don’t we’re not going to produce content, you guys give it to us, we’ll become a centralized resource and share it out so that everybody can come here and find what they need to know how they can pivot, how they can help out what they can do. And then the second thing that we did was we created a virtual event. So it was a few days, it was a lot of incredible education. And it allowed those exhibitors and retailers to actually network and make meetings and get some business done. So it was a crazy, crazy pivot that I never thought would happen. But it challenged I think us and our customers in ways that we would have never otherwise been challenged, we smell a lot of time on the phone with them and listening to what it is that they needed. And from that we’ve developed a bit of a more strategic approach now going forward, but that the shows coming back to create to online products. So obviously JCK the show, thankfully is going back in August new dates this year, just to be a little bit safer. And the show will always be the best place to do business, right. I mean, there’s no other way to see jewelry except in person. And that’s never going to go away. But what we heard out of all of that listening to our customers and really getting to know them was they need some other solutions throughout the year. You know, they need some gaps, they need some fillings. So we’ve created two incredible products JCK Pro, which is a subscription model that lives across our JCT online. And that is just basically a subscription model that gives you VIP perks on site, it helps you become like we were talking about. But you also get access to elevated education content and news articles, right. So it’s one of a kind stuff that you just can’t get anywhere else. And then the other piece that we’re launching is jeweler source, which is basically an online marketplace. And so that is really going to be a destination for retailers and exhibitors to meet and find products all year round, whether it’s new, or it’s just additional inventory, whatever that is. The platform is its boss logics, and it’s it’s so insightful, it’s incredible. And and the unity that we’re going to see in all these amazing products come together on jewelry stores is really going to be amazing. It’s also going to show trends that are coming out of our magazine team so that retailers know what’s hot what they need to be looking for. So though between those two products as far as education and networking, and product sourcing and trends, I mean, you’re going to be able to get so much from JCK at show and all year round. And I think that that’s the that’s what came out of it was we heard our customers say we need we need more. And we’re here to you know, hopefully provide more to them in a in a an efficient way for them.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 13:31
Yeah, that’s amazing. Were those products, even like a thought in the mind of your team before COVID? Or was this like a completely new direction for you?

Kate Youngstrom 13:40
You know, JCK has always had, I think, incredible content because of our magazine partner, right? That is something we’ve always been known for. And we’ve also always been known as like the best place to do business. So I think we always knew that we wanted to do more, and we could do more. And we’ve been you know, customers have come to us asking for that throughout the years. So maybe it was like a like a little sparkle in our eye. And it was a three year plan or a five year plan. But I definitely think it came together quickly. Like I said, I think we were challenged is the word that we’ve been using, right? We’ve been challenged, but like I like to think of as empowered, right? We were empowered to say like, let’s take a chance, something that maybe we would have taken years to do or or maybe not done at all, or maybe done differently. We are we’ve empowered ourselves to take chances on creating products and experiences and opportunities that like maybe we otherwise wouldn’t have. So yes, it was always a goal to be more accessible all year round to our customers, and to those that maybe can’t travel for whatever reason. But it definitely empowered us I think to do it a lot more efficient a lot quicker than we maybe we would have otherwise.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 14:42
So many exciting things.

Kate Youngstrom 14:44
I know it’s crazy. This is why we don’t sleep.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 14:47
Yeah, it does seem like you’re very busy. Yes. So I love that you said like you were interfacing directly with your customers and asking them what specifically They needed during the COVID pandemic. What are some other ways that you guys are focused on building these great relationships with your exhibitors and customers?

Kate Youngstrom 15:10
I mean, we spent, you know, we have a humongous team, okay. And this team is tasked with really being boots on the ground, really, you know, I think it’s interesting trade shows are always an interesting, you know, read is an interesting company to work for we architects, these fantastic events for these different industries, yet ourselves, we are not the industry ourselves. So I think that you have to have, you know, those people, I used to call them boots on the ground that really are the ones bringing to the front and say, these are the issues that people are having, this is what the customers need. This is what the industry is looking for. And we really have done that by building what I feel like is the largest and diverse community of jewelers, suppliers, designers, manufacturers that common attend this event. And I think that the reason that we see that grow, and then come back every year is that sort of transparency and loyalty that we built with that, right we are have always been, you know, the place for them to come and do business in the most successful way. And so as long as we continue to listen to them, and hear them and work alongside them, I think that that’s, you know, ultimately what people are looking for. We have a friend that we work with very closely. And we attend a lot of in person events, we have great relationships with the industry associations, the GS and the W j. I mean, the information that those groups have, I think is valuable to us as well. And you know, our retail community is extremely loyal. And they’re, they’re brilliant, by the way. I mean, we have someone on our team that deals with retailers and the things that they come to us with to say, this is what I did, you know, I had a woman, a woman, we actually held a show jet is in March go the J s team. And I met a woman down there, and she was just sharing all of these innovative ways that she has transformed her business. And she’s now gonna be presenting nada. JCK. And so it’s not necessarily me presenting anything and JCK, right, it’s finding the people within our community to share with each other. And that’s the value I think that JC King brings is, you know, it really brings everybody together in this incredibly diverse and large scale type way.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 17:07
Yeah, I know I’m personally very excited about the August Show. I’m like dying to like go interact with somebody, I don’t want to be stuck in this like zoom box.

Kate Youngstrom 17:19
I mean, I don’t have the zoom boxes is I like have a nice shirt on and makeup on. I’m wearing leggings underneath it, Sam. So what

Laryssa Wirstiuk 17:31
So speaking of that August show, what are some creative ways that you have been, you know, trying to promote it? How are you going to increase traffic from attendees? Like what are some ways that you are getting people excited about it, and what are maybe some unique things that people will be able to find out this show that they haven’t and previous shows.

Kate Youngstrom 17:52
So I mean, obviously health and safety is going to be top of mind for us, we are working closely, we have an entire group inside at Reed that is responsible for this from our operations team for our legal team to like lots of outside experts in health and safety. So we will be following you know, all of the different rules and regulations from distancing to you know, temperature checks to masking whatever you know, is the you know, piece that will keep everybody the safest. So that is first and foremost is if anybody is considering coming to the show and worried that like, you know, it’s not going to be safe, like please know that it definitely will be and we are taking every precaution to make sure that that is the case, we had a successful event. And like I mentioned, Jay is in Miami in March. And it was like, incredible to see that people come back together it really was and everybody was so willing to just follow the rules because they just wanted to be back to being doing business. You know, of course, there’s like expectation that like people will be frustrated and, and they weren’t, they were really so willing to just say you know what, we appreciate all the safety that you’re putting in place here. And we’re going to help and be the, you know, part of the solution and it was really awesome. Um, some new things I feel like that you’ll you’ll see on site this year, our floorplan has changed a little bit. Obviously, you know, and that’s always exciting. So new things to discover. I mean, I will say the one incredible thing is that the exhibitors every year turnout new products that JCK I will say that’s where we like to say trends are born, and new products are launched. And I mean, that is the one thing that like, you know, we can’t even tell you what they’re going to be yet but we do a new product lookbook and this stuff that comes out that is launching JCK I mean, it’s just, it’s really just incredible. So I’m really looking forward to that. We have a new area on the show floor. It’s been sort of repurposed. It’s called the design collective. It was formerly the design center, but it has it has been you know, like I said rebranded repurposed, and it is debuting you know, for the first time in 2021 and it features a luxurious one of a kind fine jewelry designers trends. There’s a pavilion within that, with the W j, a partnership with the W that we’re launching for the first time so we’re really excited about that. Obviously, visiting the luxury show floor is always incredible. I mean, the stuff that comes out of there is like a girl’s dream. And then there’s a lot of new education. That’s how And we’ve rethought our education a little bit this year as well. So we have a showcase stage on the show floor, which is where a lot of amazing content comes out of, we have two other conference rooms. And in addition to that, we’re going to be doing a lot of streaming. So we’re going to be creating these viewing pods around the show floor. So that if let’s say you’re in, you know, the International pavilion, or the passport area, or you know, you’re in a Central’s in technology and you want to run in cash session, you’re actually gonna be able to go to a viewing pod nearest to you and watch that education live, you know, what’s happening upstairs, we’re really trying to make it convenient for everybody this year, because I know they have two years of shopping to do in one year. So we’re really excited about that kind of spreading out and making our education more accessible. We are going to have a content creation zone this year on the show floor in partnership with the sniffy group to really show retailers from purchasing, you know, a ring, how do I get this out to the to the consumer, what is the best way to use this incredible product that I have to drive content and awareness and get eyes on my social media page to get bodies in my store, and ultimately sell. And then we’ll also have our new podcast zone, which you will be part of this year. So we’re really excited about that you can, you know, everyone should be able to see some of their favorite industry podcasters live and maybe get interviewed. And so it’ll be really fun. I mean, really just looking to infuse some excitement and some newness into the show. I mean, I think everybody’s going to be like on a scavenger hunt for all of the amazing products they miss. But you know, some of the things that you know, and love from JCK will still of course, be there. We’re still looking to have all the different keynotes in education, just in a safer way. So there will be some some masks involved with there will still be some amazing, amazing discoveries this year.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 21:39
Yeah, I was already excited. And now I’m even more pumped just like listening to you talk about all the cool things. It seems like you’re trying to be innovative and think outside the box. And like really, as you were saying before, consider the needs of your exhibitors and customers.

Kate Youngstrom 21:53
Yeah, I mean, it’s, you know, we, it’s funny, because you’re so often, like JCK is so big, and it’s like, well, that’s like the best part about it. Right? It’s the best, you know, it’s the best part about it. Our marketing team is always trying to explain to people how to have your own show within the show, right how to really create what you need. And there’s so many tools from like matchmaking and all of the different the mobile app, and there’s so many ways to do that. But it is still, you know, we know so much, we’re so close to it. So anyway, that, you know, we can kind of step back sometimes and say what is it that a retailer would want or need on their very first day at JCK. Like, that’s what we’re sort of trying to implement. And I think that that’s also what we’ve seen over the last year not being able to be face to face with our customers has has been difficult, but it is also was in allowed us to be inspired and to be inspirational to say we’re going to get creative about how we can kind of drive that for them. And so you’ll see that at the show too. And the VIP JCK pro area I’m very excited about so you have to be a JCK pro where to go to the VIP lounge area. But I mean, I think that I’m gonna try to sneak in there.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 22:55
I just like the sound of VIP, I’m gonna have to check that out.

Kate Youngstrom 23:00
I’m telling you, everybody wants a foot massage. That’s what everybody needs.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 23:05
Oh, hey, now I like that. That’s what I need to show.

Kate Youngstrom 23:10

Laryssa Wirstiuk 23:11
So since you are the expert of content and community, I would really love for you to speak to the importance of content marketing for the jewelry industry, like what are some insights that you have? How can brands really use content to elevate their messaging?

Kate Youngstrom 23:27
I think that content does, you know, the word content gets thrown around a lot. And really, content can be defined as anything, right? It could be a social media picture, it could be a story, it could be what you and I are doing now is content. But I think what what stores or brands can do is what we’re content becomes really valuable to them is it it takes away the selling piece of it. So you’re selling without saying buy this for $10 You know, it takes a problem or an issue or, or an excitement that they might have and allows them to be seen themselves. either having that problem solved or wearing that piece of jewelry or really if a brand can be relatable to that customer and put themselves in that customer shoes, then that’s kind of that’s a soul deal like a done deal. Right? Like, you know, I’ve been searching for cover ups because I’m going on vacation and now I’m getting served ads for cover ups and it’s annoying but there’s one or two in there that actually make it seem more appealing right it’s a story or it’s a it like I said it solves my problem. it’s it’s it’s not it’s not so flashy is more as much as makes me feel like I’m part of their brand part of their community, right. Everyone is selling something but selling somebody experience I think is the piece where content comes into play. Now whether that’s coming into the store and trying something on because I saw that diamond and I had to have it or it’s ordering it online, whatever that becomes using content, I think to break down those barriers of buy, buy, sell, sell, sell, sell and making it more of a brand involvement, a brand engagement a brand loyalty is I think the real value of that a lot of different stores and brands alike could kind of find

Laryssa Wirstiuk 25:00
Yeah, so many important points you made, I mean, thinking of content as an experience totally 100%. I agree with that.

Kate Youngstrom 25:07
You know, it’s, it’s crazy. You, we don’t realize like, oh, something I was, I attended a really great conference this weekend. And they said something about how many different ads the average person sees in a month, and it was like millions. And, you know, that’s a hard space to be right. You know, it’s hard. How do you compete with that it is really hard. And it’s, it’s trying to find your right audience, right, and then trying to deliver solutions for them. And and those solutions are probably going to be different. That’s the other piece I think of, of content marketing that is important is understanding who it is that you’re reaching out to, right, we’re always going to have broad messaging, we’re always going to have come to JCK, or come to my shop, or whatever that is by my Toyota. But if you can figure out who your target audience is, and really reach them on their level, and help solve their problems, and help understand the way that they would use your product in their everyday life, I think that’s how you find people really starting to engage with your brand, right? And then from there, I mean, once they’re in, it’s all about retention, right? Come once, that’s great, we need to come six times, we needed to come seven times. So it’s continuing to deliver engaging experiences that that get them loyalty. And again, that’s that community piece, right? You know, customer service. That’s where that really comes, it really comes into play. So I think content can get them in the door. And then it’s that continued journey that they have to take with your brand, it doesn’t stop just because they follow you on Instagram does not mean it stops there. Right? It is a long journey of saying you know what, I’m always going to go to this deli because of these 10 reasons. This is how they got me there. But these are the 10 reasons I chose to stay. And that’s two different hats to wear. But they’re both equally as important.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 26:39
So many good reality checks. I think for people who listen, I mean, I talk to like business owners jewelry brands every day are there like Why isn’t anyone paying attention to this ad? Why am I not getting likes, like they forget that this is an ongoing relationship and that storytelling is such a big part of it. That experience is such a big part of it. And consumers are so bombarded on all sides and and you forget that when like your business is the center of your universe like you see it as your baby Why doesn’t everyone love my baby like it’s my baby?

Kate Youngstrom 27:15
To take it you know, to take a step back and look at your own. You’ve set it exactly wait we’re so immersed in it. We’re so involved and so passionate, right? Cuz like I said earlier, like jewelers are just so passionate like, you get so under unaware of why something isn’t working. But I think that’s also a great example of asking friends outside the industry to take a look at something right send them your email campaign, send them your your PPC campaign have somebody that knows nothing about your industry, take a look at something and really find inspiration from other other brands, don’t be afraid to go watch a video on Nikes marketing and why Nike was successful because you don’t have a pair of shoes, there may be one tiny piece of thing in there that resonates with you in that that’s that’s all that you need. Figure out I like to figure out what I open emails, you know, what, why do I go to certain websites, when I’m trying to think about our customers? Okay, I read, you know, CNBC, I read refinery, 29, why am I making the actual choices to go there without getting served in that, right, I’m making choices to go to that website. And if I can figure out why it is that I like it right, and break that down into easy to read lots of content, you know, accessible for my age, or whatever it is, you know, I think that that’s something that, you know, we can start learning from our own actions. One of my favorite websites to shop is, is actually shopper and I don’t even go to the categories of dresses or shoes, I go to the category that’s like, editor’s picks, most hearted color crush of the month. And it’s, it’s takes all of this information out there and really condenses it down into six or seven categories. And I can shop six or seven categories, right? I can’t shop 1000s of pieces. But those six or seven categories appeal to six or seven different demographics like, okay, I want to be trendy. So I want to know what your editors are saying, great. I hate the color purple. So I’m not going to click right crush purple, but I will click, you know, our must haves like it really is taking all that you have. And I think finding, you know, that’s seven different categories. Like I said, it’s seven different people that are going to be able to now understand what your products are without having to get lost. And it wasn’t overwhelming. And it wasn’t super difficult to create. But you were able to relate to them in those different categories and probably convert them. And now that I understand, I go back to that, and I know that it changes and it refreshes and I can always go there to see you know what the new color crushes maybe it’ll be blue next month, and I’ll be happier. But and I think that those are ways of recognizing that that’s how we as consumers, we’re consumers of products. And how do we relate to things and how can we implement that in our businesses is also really important.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 29:48
So many good tips was down like I’m always telling this stuff to my clients, but I feel like I shouldn’t have worn purple today.

Kate Youngstrom 29:56
Because you were wearing it but I love purple. Isn’t it We read oj is like I mentioned they are the purple mafia, so I have a soft spot in my heart.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 30:06
Yeah, I’m just joking. But yeah, you mean so many good points, I don’t even know where to start. I’m like becoming instead of just being a shopper like you normally are, I recommend my clients are jewelry brands to be more of like self study how you shop instead of just like letting it happen to you. Because a lot of it is kind of common sense. Like, whatever you enjoy as a consumer, probably a lot of other people feel that same way. You can be your own, like observer of commerce and shopping.

Kate Youngstrom 30:44
Like, if you went into a store, and you were served a great customer service, you may go back and say, guys start doing this in our store, it was great. It was the best experience ever. That doesn’t change for online, right? Like most people, like look something up online before they go in store, especially a big purchase. So like their first interaction with your brand, a lot of times is online, or especially in jewelry, it’s researching about diamonds, right? It’s, it’s, you know, take that take that, you know, the couple that’s about to get engaged, whether it’s, you know, a man or a woman that’s proposing or researching like most people are researching before they go in. And so their first interaction is some sort of technology piece, you know what I mean? It happens where they walk in off the street, it’s not often anymore. So really trying to figure out how to put yourself in those shoes, right? What would you let go buying a car, right? You research all before you go, you don’t just go to Toyota, you don’t just go to Mercedes, right? You research and when you get there, like you you fill out a questionnaire, they’ve asked you a bunch of questions. They know what you mean. And it is it is super interesting to see how like that, that that kind of conversion and that sort of your own enjoyment and your own shopping habits. How can you figure out what that is and what you can create for your customers?

Laryssa Wirstiuk 31:50
Yeah, and everything you said about the like more curated shopping experience online to you 100%. Agree, if there’s probably one mistake or a missed opportunity that I see the most with brands I work with, it’s that they’re not curating their products, at least not on a very regular basis. Maybe they’re doing like a big holidays coming up. But okay, that’s like the bare minimum, like show me stuff every other week or every week, however often you can keep up with that, because I don’t want to be sifting through all your products.

Kate Youngstrom 32:22
No, and I think the fear is, is that if I, if I feature yellow on the page today, anybody that’s not interested in yellow, you know, won’t come back. And I understand that fear, right. But if you have three or four categories, right, and those change out enough, and your social media ties to what that category is. So maybe I went on your page, and I saw yellow last month, and I’m like, Oh, I hate yellow. But I follow you on social media, and your PPC campaign is promoting pink and I love pink. So now I go back to your website, and there’s your pink category, right? So you don’t have to be everything to everybody at every time. I think that that’s the ultimate fear. consumer facing brand is I don’t want to lose bodies. But you also don’t want to be promoting something to somebody that they’re never going to convert on. Right, this losing losing traffic is the same thing as pushing yellow diamonds to someone that hates them, instead of pushing them pink diamonds, right? So until you can understand more about them as you collect data and analyze it right? Being diverse in in the different segment offerings and knowing that there’s a time where you can actually focus on different groups that are going to probably convert higher, like that’s okay. Right, like, you will get them eventually when it’s their turn, and when there’s something out there that will engage with them. And I understand that fear, I do totally understand that fear. You know, I also carried the education at JCK on JCK, the DC detox program, and we very often want to make sure that we have everything for everybody, right, and JCK is the marketplace. And sometimes I have to say you know what, it’s okay to have a session that is specifically on, you know, rubies, because that’s what’s really hot and trending. And that’s what my mark, my magazine team, who’s my boots on the ground has said, This is what people need to know about Kate and so myself, sometimes I’m saying you know what it is okay to have a very targeted message. Because those people that engage with it are going to be so educated and so happy and they’ll convert to other things, right? They’ll, I’ve got them and adored involved with our education. And now they’re going to go to more they’re going to shop those rubies and exhibitors will be happy, right? It’s a full circle sort of experience. But scary. It’s scary. You know what I mean? It’s hard, especially when you’ve been doing something one way for so long. To make that conversion is hard.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 34:18
Yeah, I mean, there’s a thing if you market to everyone, then you market to no one. So it’s like, yeah, you can try to cast the net wide. But actually, it can be a disservice in many ways because you you don’t have any focus in your messaging.

Who came up with that saying?

I don’t know. I should probably look that up because I say it a lot.

Kate Youngstrom 34:36
We should like tape it to all of our computers right, like I should have it taped to my computer.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 34:41
It’s a good one. Yeah, definitely print it out.

Kate Youngstrom 34:44
It is it because it’s like it’s counterintuitive to what we want. Right? You know what I mean? We want everyone to know everything. And so it’s definitely one of those things that you you know, a mantra you read that like sort of checks yourself every day. I think it’s very interesting. Yeah. I love it. I think brands enjoy it. do really well. We see a lot of is making it personal, right? I mean, you know, we see a lot of some of these amazing stories getting right on their Facebook pages, doing lives, talking about products, sharing engagement stories, you know, that makes it more real for a consumer to see, you know, especially than be young consumers, they want to feel like they’re part of, of something. You know what I mean, whether that’s sustainability or human rights, or whatever it becomes, right, everybody has sort of something they’re passionate about at this point. So when they can find a relatable pinpoint in something, or they say, you know what, that guy looks trustworthy, I talk to him like that matters. And so I think taking breaking down that barrier of just being a brand and really allowing like yourself and your staff to get more personal, I think is really also valuable. Absolutely.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 35:45
So my last question for you for in this post COVID world we’re emerging from, we’re like, yeah, I’m gonna put like special effects in this video.

Kate Youngstrom 35:58
Listening we’re like using really like creature crawly hand moments.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 36:05
So for brands that are new to trade shows, or they’re like dying to get into more in person events, now seeing the value of at hungry to get in front of people, What tips do you have for these brands?

Kate Youngstrom 36:20
All right. I mean, I think the assumption is, is that you buy a booth and a million people are going to walk by and that’s true, because there are almost a million people at JCK. But there has to be we’re talking about we’re talking about right now is is finding your niche and getting yourself out there. And that has to be the same thing of the shows too, right? You need to be prepared with marketing with sponsorships with the right products that are going to be able to be you know, you have to be willing to put yourself out there, you have to go to the networking events, you have to be joined the W j, join the ACS, you don’t even raise your hand to the to the GCP community and say, if you guys are doing something, can I help? Right? You have to be able to immerse yourself in the industry. I mean, yes, in some cases, product speaks for itself. But you have to almost I think, get into these spaces to say, you know, show who you are, you know, it is there are there is so much inventory out there. But I love when I see one retailer, find one new designer, and then by next year, they’re an in everyone’s store, because they were able to kind of break that barrier. But most of the time, you already mean a lot of those relationships are by you know, stepping outside of your booth and saying come over, check it out by going and having lunch with somebody and saying come over and check it out. By putting yourself out there and doing one of those maybe sponsorship activations, you would have said, No, I’m too small to do like No way, you know what I mean? Like those things are meant to get eyes on your product. And they do and what a really cool experience. That is, the booth is the biggest part of what you have to do to be there. But what you do around that booth, I think is really what sets people apart.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 37:50
Amazing, really good advice. And that’s so exciting to think like, I work with a lot of clients that are direct to consumer, they want to get more into retailers. And like you said, if you can kind of break that one barrier, like it can open so many doors for you. So there’s a lot of hope and encouragement there. Yeah.

Kate Youngstrom 38:08
And there’s a lot of like, I know, this also sounds silly like award programs. But like, you know, JCK magazine does this, like amazing set of like award programs, and there’s like 40 or 50 winners, the design area JCK has an amazing award program. And it sounds like oh, you know, something that like I would do that I used to brush that stuff off in school all the time. Like, I don’t need to be a part of that. But you really do because you’re getting exposure to editors and writers and retailers and different teams, and even just your peers, right there’s a peer relationship there as well. That is huge. And that was I was saying earlier like of course there’s competitiveness, but in this community like it’s sort of also like help and be helped right? Like everybody knows somebody that can help somebody else. And I think that like exposing yourself to all facets of obviously the retailer from a brand perspective is the most important but there’s so many other outlets that can lead you to that. And really just saying no, don’t say no to any opportunity. Right? You know, there are you when you leave Vegas you should be tired, I’m swollen and have left because you went to every networking event and every dinner and you sat at that booth eager and you know what I mean? There you should really be exhausted when you leave sleepers for home. Vegas is for taking every opportunity that you could possibly find.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 39:16
Perfect I love it. So is there anything else you want to share that we didn’t cover today anything you’re excited about?

Kate Youngstrom 39:23
I’m really excited about you know, this this I know you know, obviously I cannot wait to be back in person. I cannot wait for my own swollen feet and to really see everybody come together. But I’m also just excited about the future of JCK I mean the things that is coming out of the brand that the year round, incredible content, the marketplace opportunities, the emphasized re you know reimagine show floor it really has been an incredible challenging, but like I said inspiring year for the brand. And I think that what the customer is going to get out of it is is everything that they’ve always wanted, right? We have kind of level set ourselves to say we’re here for you in all of these ways we’re here for you 365 or deliver Bring the best show experience. And in the meantime, like, what when you want to be part of our world, we’re here service that right. So there’s no longer just one way to interact with JCK. There’s, there’s like three or four. And, you know, not in an overwhelming way in a really targeted way to say whatever your issues are, we’re going to help solve that, and grow your business forward and help optimize your business. And I think that ultimately, as a, as a brand that is looking to do that, as a show that has been the place to do business to now be the brand that does business all year round. I mean, how cool is that? And really like looking forward to how impactful that can be for both our retailers and our exhibitors?

Laryssa Wirstiuk 40:35
Yeah, that’s super exciting.

Kate Youngstrom 40:37
Yes. And I’m excited to see your podcast. See, that’s the other thing.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 40:40
Yeah, I’m so looking forward to that all content, like I’m just really happy that I’m gonna be a part of it.

Kate Youngstrom 40:46
What we’re thrilled to have you is really gonna be a really great year. I’m excited.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 40:50
Yeah. So if people want to connect with you, what’s the best way to reach you, Kate?

Kate Youngstrom 40:54
Just send me an email. I will always respond, give me give me 24 hours, but you could always reach out to me. Or if you know somebody else in the JCK team, and you want to connect with me through them, please, please always reach out. You know, I think that’s the number one part of our job is his customers. And as you guys we we need to be able to create something that is useful and beneficial. So we’re always our doors always open to hear more.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 41:20
I love it. Well, thanks so much for your time, Kate, it was a pleasure to have you.

Kate Youngstrom 41:24
Thank you for having me. I will come back any time.

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