Walk into any top jewelry store and you’ll meet designers. Not necessarily in person, but their presence is everywhere. From David Yurman and John Hardy to Pandora and bridal, designers rule. Top stores have multiple individual display areas featuring each designer, promote them on their websites and host Trunk Shows touting personal appearances. What makes designer jewelry hot and how can you cash in on this continuing lucrative draw?
You’ve heard it again and again. Jewelry’s all about romancing the sale. People love a story. You’re not just selling metal and gems. You’re selling dreams, aspirations, drama. You’re projecting an image, a lifestyle, full of rich complexity and variegated back story. The more color you can add, the more tantalizing the “hook.” Designers add the built-in story. Jewelry morphs from generic to personal. Each designer has his or her own look, collections, philosophy, image.
John Hardy jewelry is made in Bali from indigenous techniques, while supporting and training local artisans. “We will plant 80 bamboo seedlings with the purchase of this item” their website proclaims along with a gold bangle description, a policy designed to offset their carbon footprint. This green strategy reels in Millennials and other eco-conscious consumers, a growing trend. Nina Nguyen’s co-op factories in her native Vietnam support women workers with higher than average wages and education for their children. She personally designs each earth-conscious design inspired by nature. Sarah Graham and her California team promote the “maker movement” – jewelry as experience: “No one wants to be just a customer. They want to be a client, collector and ultimately friend of the designer with all the story-rich experiences that come with it.”
Just short decades ago jewelry stores filled with individual designers were not the norm. The early 20th century was dominated by large designer houses such as Tiffany, Cartier and Chanel. Partly in response to mass produced generic jewelry in offshore factories, the rise of artisan, hand produced, designer jewelry appeals especially to Millennials who crave a personal touch and pieces individualized for them.
Designers make it personal. Call it custom, bespoke or one-offs, personalization pays. Even large companies such as Pandora sell a story – create your own bracelet that reflects your life journey. Stories add value. Fingerprint pendants, featuring your own (or your child’s) actual fingerprint impression, are trending. Bridal is becoming increasingly dominated by the personal touch, offering customers the chance to tweak their ring, to make it their own, thru mobile apps. The more personal, the more powerful.
How can you get designers to work for you? First find your unique designer profile. Each area is different. You have a distinctive clientele, a niche market. Find which designers resonate. Shop shows, visit websites, scour trade journals, make the rounds. Contact key designers who might boost your profile and see what they can offer – sample collections, Trunk shows, personal appearances, interviews with local media, co-op advertising. Leverage your designer to be your PR arm. They’re natural marketers. Clients love meeting designers and revel in the personal attention. Cultivate collectors loyal to specific designers and repeat sales are virtually a given. Once you’ve found your designer niche, help promote them through in-store displays, website links and photos, e-mail blasts and Facebook mentions. Designers are continually updating their collections with fresh, exciting up-to-the minute offerings, making PR content a breeze.
Tap designer drama to boost your profile, burnish your image and add power to your presentation. Leverage this hot trend to make it work for you. It’s a win-win situation.
Mia Katrin is an award-winning jewelry designer featured in over 80 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.