You probably know Lorraine DePasque, although you might not realize it! One of the jewelry industry’s leading journalists, she’s written literally thousands of jewelry articles. The founding editor of About.com’s Engagement Rings and Wedding Bands and Lustre Magazine and former executive editor of Modern Jeweler Magazine, she now enjoys a full-time freelance journalism career. (Blog: www.instr.us/depasque.com). Lorraine’s interviewed countless luminaries including Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson, Scandal’s Bellamy Young and Eli Manning, NY Giants quarterback. She’s also judged hundreds of jewelry design contests including the AGTA Spectrum Awards.
I recently was able to tap into her wealth of insight into industry trends.
Mia:What are the current hot trends you’re seeing?
Lorraine: Customers today respond to products that are environmentally friendly.
Individuality is also key. Everything can be customized. They really - really! - want an engagement ring that others don’t have. Their preference for originality is also a big reason why mismatched earrings have become so popular. This category is a huge opportunity for retailers.
TIP: Encourage people to come into your store - or send a photo - of a single earring they have, maybe because they lost the other. Then suggest something in your store that might look great with it.
In bridal, customers are choosing yellow or rose gold, non-halo-type engagement rings, and designs that don’t necessarily have diamonds - or, at least, not a white diamond center stone. And that center diamond certainly doesn’t have to be large!
Mia:What do you see as strong trends coming up this year?
Lorraine: Customers buying high and low. A young person may see something aspirational that she really wants but can’t afford - yet. Meantime, they want to purchase something on-trend and in their budget. On my Instagram page (www.Instagram.com/lorrainedepasque) you may see a post of a $125 sterling silver inspirational pendant. But a week before, you might see a one-of-a-kind ring with a MSRP of $150,000! See?
TIP: Assume they will love what’s well-made and beautiful. But know that you must speak to their reality, too.
Mia:What about color?
Lorraine: Customers also respond to things like the top colors of the year or season. There are certain shades that your customers see everywhere, not only in jewelry but also in interior design, automobiles and fashion. Play them up! Pantone’s Color of the Year is Greenery (think peridot). Also hot are dusty roses and light pastel-y blues (aquas!). Lots of tone-on-tone. So, when you have your pink/rosy tones, lots of different pinks together.
Mia:How can retailers use blogs in engaging with their customers? Tips and suggestions?
Lorraine: You can have the best content and product but, if your message isn’t promoted, it’s simply not heard.
TIP: You need to promote by maintaining pages on as many online platforms as possible. E-mails, too, of course! Always respond to customers’ inquiries. Write short posts that clearly encourage discussion and commentary.
Mia:Anything else you’d like to add?
Lorraine: Even if you’re a regional store, once you blog, it goes out to an audience that’s larger than your 100-mile radius or your state. Don’t use words or phrases that may turn off a broader audience. Years ago, when I was an editor with Redbook Magazine, I’d written the word sneakers. My editor reminded me that, for most people across the country, such footwear (at the time) was known as running shoes.
Mia:To sum up?
Lorraine: Your content should always be credible, accurate, and fresh. And, of course, fun, too - whenever appropriate.
Mia Katrin is an award-winning jewelry designer featured in over 100 top stores nationally. She is available for lectures and seminars. To add her Collections or book a lecture: www.jeweljewel.com, 877-539-3569, facebook.com/MiaKatrinforJEWELCOUTURELLC, subscribe to her YouTube channel www.youtube.com/channel/UC2B-53XBuB_HD5-bofc5jAA