Consumer Trends Expert to Keynote at MJSA Expo New York

Ben Smithee, a consumer-trends expert who was nominated as one of the 'Top 10 Youth Marketing Professionals in the U.S.', will deliver the keynote presentation on wearable technology and other "disruptive" trends at MJSA Expo New York, March 8-10 at the Hilton New York. The MJSA is the Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America.

Smithee's session, "The Cyborg Consumer: From Wearable Tech to 3-D Printing," will anchor a seminar program that also includes renowned educator Blaine Lewis of the New Approach School in Franklin, Tennessee; pricing guru David Geller of JewelerProfit in Atlanta; gemologist/author Antoinette Matlins, co-author of Gem Identification Made Easy: A Hands-on Guide to More Confident Buying and Selling; and marketing expert Chris Ciunci of TribalVision in Providence, Rhode Island. The program was developed and sponsored by the MJSA Education Foundation.

Expo will also feature three special educational events, including a special MJSA Journal Live in which the latest welding and CAD/CAM technologies will be available for testing and comparison.

"Attendees have told us that the educational program is a vital part of the Expo experience, and they rely on it to keep them informed and inspired," says MJSA President/CEO David W. Cochran. "This year's program has been developed to not just meet but exceed those expectations, covering everything from the latest revolutionary technologies to crucial technical and marketing practices."

Smithee's keynote presentation on March 9 will focus on the new era of technology-driven production and consumption, in which jewelry can monitor its wearer's health and 3-D printing is changing the way jewelry is made. A sought-after consultant and speaker in consumer trends, buyer behavior, technology, and marketing, Smithee has worked with Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Rio Tinto Diamonds, and leading U.S. retail jewelry brands, among others.
Meanwhile, Lewis, known for his innovative teaching methods, will give an 'At the Bench Live' presentation on how to set marquise, pear-shaped, and other sharp-angled gems that are coming back into fashion.

As for Geller, his Blue Book to Jewelry Repair & Design has become the pricing guide for more than 3,000 stores internationally. Geller will offer his insights into how to properly price and profit from custom design and repair work, ensuring all costs are covered and margins remain high.

Well-known diamantaire Matlins, a popular guest on such programs as ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning, and NBC's Today, will give Expo attendees lessons in how to buy and sell colored gems as well as how to identify enhanced gems and synthetics.

Ciunci will present on 'Market Smarter,' in which he'll explain how to develop a strategic plan, generate leads, and boost revenue. All of the sessions will take place on the third floor of Expo New York.

In addition, Expo will feature three special educational events:
• MJSA Journal Live, in which the pages of the association's flagship magazine come to life, will offer attendees the opportunity to try out and compare the latest CAD/CAM and welding technologies. This is the first time all of the technologies will be presented side by side.
• Custom jeweler Joel McFadden will lead Jewelry Making 101 (and Beyond), offering instruction in bench work from beginner to advanced levels. This year's sessions, all of which will take place March 9, include 'Level One: Working with Different Metals', 'Level Two: Sawing and Piercing, and 'Level Three: Tricks for Everyone'.
• Leading industry experts—Ben Janowski of Janos Consultants, Cindy Edelstein of the Jeweler's Resource Bureau, Eugene Brill of, and Matthew Perosi of the Jewelry Website Advisory Group—will be available for informal, one-on-one 'Ask the Expert' sessions on March 8 and 9.