Professional Jeweler Archive: Building Your Image

July 2000


Building Your Image

In the battle for customer attention, everything is a weapon

“In your face” could have been the motto at GlobalShop 2000, the massive store fixturing and design trade show in Chicago, IL. Visitors saw a selection of selling tools designed to grab customers’ attention using sight, sound and even scent. Put simply, displays designed to engage the senses were everywhere:

  • Computer peripherals spritzed users with scent, in the expectation a whiff of the product would put them in a buying mood faster.
  • Music packages were customized to individual selling strategies in hopes shoppers would linger longer and buy.
  • The Dott Shop, a prototype clothing store for preteen girls, featured teacup-type seating around computer monitors. Groups of giggling customers could check their e-mail – a design calculated to produce the warm-and-fuzzy camaraderie that appeals to this audience.
  • Graphics were bigger and bolder.
  • Robots danced in the aisles.

It was exhausting.

There are reasons for all this, of course. U.S. retailers are looking for ways to capitalize on the rising influence of younger shoppers – 60 million youngsters known variously as Generation Y, the Baby Boomlet and the Wired Generation. Weaned in an atmosphere of hypermarketing, they’re perhaps the most demanding, savviest shoppers to arrive on the retail scene since their 1960s-era parents supposedly abandoned consumerism.

The take-home lesson for jewelers largely selling to Generation X and middle-aged Baby Boomers is the energy and appeal of kids’ marketing is rubbing off on adults. They just wanna have fun like the ’Net Generation. Witness the popularity of Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Borders, Starbucks and other stores appealing to people over 21. From cool music to brilliant interior colors to “play-with-me” displays, these stores have vivid messages of imagination and verve. Oh, don’t forget they often provide a place for people to hang out. That habit isn’t just for teens anymore either.

“One of the key reasons certain stores are very successful with Generation Y is they provide value-added benefits,” says Karen Schaffner, publisher of Display & Design Ideas magazine. “The secret to an effective design … seems to be to blend the additional activities into the store without being obvious. Being obvious would be a major turn-off for this group.”

Not to mention turning off their parents.

Here’s a look at what’s new in image-building products to help make your store a true 21st century desirable destination. Trends are noted by category.

– by Mark E. Dixon


  • Laminates feature metal and wood “effects.”
  • Circular shelving provides dynamic visual interest.
  • Fresco plaster finishes complement traditional or modern décor.
  • Metal panels in a variety of finishes lend high-tech appeal.
  • Wood-and-metal display systems combine high-tech with natural looks.
Zero U.S. Corp. provides an “architectonic” system of metal display panels, screens, trusses and accessories in a variety of finishes.

Zero U.S. Corp., Lincoln, RI; (401) 724-4470,

Fresco plaster finishes provide variegated and blended color and textural interest in a range of finishes, from matte to high gloss.

The Designer’s Touch, Fox River Grove, IL; (847) 639-1484,

Wood-and-metal display systems combine the warm user-friendliness of wood and the powerful presence of steel.

J.P. Metal America, Montreal, Canada; (800) 992-1042, (514) 648-1042,

Distinctive, affordable designs are available in a wide variety of solid-color laminates, plus metallics, wood grains, natural fibers, stone finishes and translucent patterns.

Abet Laminati, Englewood, NJ; (800) 228-2238.

Designed to fit in an alcove, circular metal shelving is assembled easily and makes a strong design statement for gifts and collectibles.

Stone Circle, c/o Cedanna Inc.,San Francisco, CA; (415) 474-2267,


  • Vivid colors coordinate with store décor and fashion colors.
  • Jewelry boxes use technology to deliver a message.
  • Metal boxes convey a contemporary or high-tech look.
  • Embossed fabrics add a touch of elegan
Boxes and bows mirror fashion’s latest colors.

Colonial Decorative Display Co., Long Island City, NY; (718) 752-0700.

Embossed fabric adds elegance to the basic jewelry box.

Jewel Case Corp., Providence, RI; (401) 943-1400.

Voice Memory Ring Boxes record a 12-second message that can be replayed over and over.

Alan Sherman Cos., Potomac, MD; (301) 299-3300.

Steel boxes have baked-on or brushed finishes, plastic edge guards and satin lining.

Rio Grande, Albuquerque, NM; (800) 545-6566.


  • Eye-popping colors provide an alternative to white Leatherette.
  • Wood and metal displays create a contemporary high-tech look.
  • Molded plastic tags are an upscale alternative to paper.
  • Versatile cases display a multitude of pieces.
  • Branding messages such as store names or industry affiliations are prominent.
Gold jewelry pops effectively on the purple fabric of Chippenhook’s Stratford window display. Seven fabrics and various colors are available.

Chippenhook, Flower Mound, TX; (800) 527-5866.

Showcases designed specifically for colored gemstones are available in prearranged layouts from 2 to 6 feet in length from Presentation Box & Display. Your store name is highlighted on the center back panel to reinforce your image. The 6-ft. configuration is $549 complete with floorboard fabric.

Presentation Box & Display, Pawtucket, RI; (800) 556-7390, fax (800) 628-7274, and

Oak stands with miniscreens combine the warmth of wood with a contemporary design statement.

Rio Grande, Albuquerque, NM; (800) 545-6566.

Button-down bracelet case holds 21 to 49 bracelets; pads are available in a choice of colors.

Gerald Fried Display Co., Tonawanda, NY; (800) 828-7701.

Custom-molded tags lend an upscale look and allow retailers to choose color, size, shape, raised text and string type.

Mila Displays, Hewlett, NY; (516) 791-2643.


  • New high-tech materials imitate the classic looks of wood and stone.
  • “Fake” metal imitates bronze, copper or platinum in low or high texture.
  • Stylish new colors – such as cappuccino and Vizcaya palm – are available in low-skid, high-tech rubber flooring.
  • Modular carpets include cushion backing for walking comfort.
New options to achieve the upscale look of stone and wood have been added to the Centiva line of heavy-duty vinyl flooring.

International Floors of America, Atlanta, GA; (888) 236-8482,

“Moonspinner” modular carpet from the Design Rhythms Collection is available in 3-ft. sizes and appears virtually seamless when installed.

Milliken Carpet, LaGrange, GA; (800) 257-3987,

Amtico “metal” flooring offers the illusion of texture locked under a smooth surface.

Amtico International, Atlanta, GA; (404) 267-1921,

The resilience of rubber flooring is an asset when endurance and slip resistance are important. This “marble” floor is much quieter than the real thing, with less maintenance.

Marley Flexco, Tuscumbia, AL; (800) 633-3151,


  • New gadgets turn windows into interactive touch-screen displays.
  • Moving robots bring displays to life.
  • Point-of-purchase signs show jewelry in giant proportions.
  • Music tailored to your store doesn’t require staff monitoring.
  • LED signs provide messages that move.
Jewel Signs provides countertop and back-lighted graphics tailored to any event on your promotional schedule.

Jewel Signs, Alpharetta, GA; (770) 886-6888,

AEI Music can provide music in a format that matches your store’s strategy, doesn’t require employee maintenance and can be updated over the Internet.

AEI Music, Seattle, WA; (206) 329-1400,

You’ve seen ’em in Times Square and now Sunrise Systems can provide moving signs for your windows, your countertop or your displays.

Sunrise Systems, Pembroke, MA; (781) 826-9706,

Visitor Media’s touchGLASS retail browser turns an outside window into a touch-screen computer, allowing you to communicate with consumers even after hours via a projector, a television or computer. Sensors from the browser attach to a specially designed window poster to allow the interactive function.

Visitor Media, San Francisco, CA; (415) 626-7025,

AVG Inc. uses audio-animatronics to simulate the natural motion of living creatures in theme parks and, now, in retail settings.

AVG Inc., Chatsworth, CA; (818) 998-0100,

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications