Professional Jeweler Archive: Playing Your Game

May 2001

Professional Insider/Trend Spotting

Playing Your Game

It seems like everyone down at the mall is branding or selling jewelry. Does it matter?

Stroll through any mall or amble down any city shopping street and look in the windows of apparel retailers. They’ve got mannequins clad in the latest styles. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Look a little closer and you’ll see that many of the mannequins – such as those in the windows at Nine West, Ann Taylor or Guess – are also wearing jewelry.

Showcasing the Brand

Walk in to these stores, and others like them, and you’ll find stand-alone showcases with sterling silver and 14k gold necklaces, bracelets and earrings styled to complement the retailer’s clothes and the customer’s style. Nine West, a shoe retailer, recently branched out to offer some apparel and trendy jewelry – perhaps reasoning that shoes and handbags are accessories, so why not add jewelry? Ann Taylor’s jewelry selections are well-matched to its classic mid-priced careerwear, while edgier Guess adds such items as belly chains to its more standard jewelry offerings.

Department Stores Invaded

It’s not just the specialty retailers – apparel makers such as Liz Claiborne, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and DKNY also offer branded jewelry that echoes the styles of their clothing lines. The jewelry can be found in department store jewelry cases, in brand-specific areas within the department stores and in stand-alone shops devoted to the design line.

It’s Not Fine

Because this development doesn’t take away from your fine jewelry sales, you might think it doesn’t matter. But many of the women choosing to buy fashion jewelry may never cross your threshold – those in Generations X and Y have learned to buy jewelry from “lifestyle” retailers and are often intimidated when venturing into a jewelry store. Plus, it’s quicker and easier to pick up some jewelry when you’re already buying a suit or pair of jeans.

To lure these shoppers, stock some lower-priced fashion items, like this season’s hot ID bracelet or lariat necklace, and don’t be afraid to display them in your windows. When these younger women do come in, make a special effort to welcome them, but don’t make it a big deal – if they’re shopping quickly, help them out. Get them into the jewelry store habit now, before it’s too late

– by Liz Smutko

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications