DTC Hosts BaselWorld Seminar

April 19, 2004

DTC Hosts BaselWorld Seminar

The Diamond Trading Co. hosted a seminar April 19 for key members of the trade on stimulating and improving marketing initiatives within the diamond trade. Since the launch of DTC Supplier of Choice, the DTC has continued to help foster and support the Industry in improving distribution and marketing of diamonds.

Jonathan Kendall, DTC's international and trade marketing group director, began the seminar by reviewing how Supplier of Choice is making an impact on the diamond industry. His evidence to support this view:

• There are over 250 client initiatives driving demand.
• More than 33% of DTC goods are in more efficient distribution channels.
• Incremental trade quality advertising spend is at $275 million, exceeding the target set by DTC of $200 million by 2004.
• Over the last 15 years, diamond growth has only beaten GDP four times; three of them have been since the introduction of Supplier of Choice.
"It is an exciting time as there are huge opportunities for us as an industry to work together more effectively to ensure greater success. The DTC wants to foster learning and cultivate the exchange of valuable information to help all in the diamond industry compete with the 'best of the best' in the other luxury goods businesses around the world," says Kendall.

Other presenters covered a variety of topics:

Michael Wainwright, managing director of Boodle & Dunthorne in the U.K., illustrated how turnover tripled and profits increased when the 7-store retail enterprise began branding its own name and eschewed most other manufacturer brands.

Dominique Assenat from Peclers, a French trend-research company, revealed cultural trends that are affecting jewelry design and how they could be used to add excitement and innovation to product offerings. The three primary trends identified were consumer attraction to myths and magic, which is producing more exotic animal designs like snakes and dragons; a fascination with light and water, which is producing jewelry that cascades, imitates bubbles, droplets and ice floes; and a curiosity about the earth's elements and the planets, which is causing jewelry designers to use more rough-hewn design elements. Assenat also identified key jewelry category trends to watch, such as brooches for all occasions, hair clips as modern tiaras, necklaces that draw attention to a woman's back or shoulders, high-value "fetish" objects like jeweled cell phones, and men's jewelry.

Dominic Brand, DTC's regional marketing director, presented a cross-section of DTC-driven marketing programs from around the world in 2004. He confirmed to Professional Jeweler that the big anniversary marketing program DTC is planning for the U.S. market during 2004 will include only three-stone rings in its advertising photography. U.S. retailers had questioned DTC about why it was not also featuring items such as stud earrings, anniversary bands or other diamond jewelry in its planned ads. But Brand says DTC is endeavoring to firmly embed three-stone rings in consumers' minds as the only choice for anniversary jewelry, akin to diamond solitaires as engagement jewelry. He also said that 80% of people who could buy three-stone rings still don't have them, leaving the market open.

Dilip Mehta, CEO of Rosy Blue, highlighted the advantages of bringing a branded name, Vera Wang, to a product as a way to accelerate the business. The well-received debut of Vera Wang Jewelry has helped Rosy Blue leapfrog to near the top of the heap of noticeable consumer jewelry brands in a very short time, Mehta told Professional Jeweler. "Vera is already an insider; she understands fashion and she is herself a jewelry consumer." Wang is beginning a series of personal appearances at retailers carrying the line, such as Neiman Marcus, Bailey Banks & Biddle and several high-end independent jewelers. Wang spoke on a film Mehta presented, saying she viewed jewelry as "intimate, emotional, celebratory and expressive" and said she has enjoyed an incredible learning process with the line. Wang hopes it will appeal to women of all ages and is using her apparel designs as inspirations for the jewelry. Currently, Vera Wang jewelry is only available in the U.S. market.

Jonathon Pudney, DTC's marketing sirector of brand communications, reminded everyone at the seminar of the importance of maintaining consumer confidence in diamonds, which he stated is absolutely critical to the longterm health of the industry. See DTC Appoints GIA Distributor of DiamondSure and DiamondView.

by Peggy Jo Donahue

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