Stop Whining and Start Selling!

We overhear jewelry designers complaining all of the time about retailers not paying their bills. It’s the same old song and dance year after year, retailers ask for tens of thousands of dollars worth of precious product on consignment and then when it’s sold say they can’t pay according to their original 30 day terms so can they have an extra 60 days which soon becomes 120 days and sometimes longer. My response to designers is, “Have you thought about adding eCommerce to your website?” 99.9% of the time the response is, “NO, THE RETAILERS WOULD BE SO MAD AT ME IF I DID THAT!”

Wake up people, why would you let someone who is not paying their bills or even buying your product outright limit your livelihood? Most of these retailers don’t even have an email account let alone eCommerce websites. Why should they care if you sell online as long as you’re selling at a retail price? By agreeing to do whatever it is the retailers want you to do, you’re letting them decide how much money you can make and how successful your business is. Do you tell them that they are not allowed to carry other jewelry designers or if you have an amethyst in your piece they cannot have any pieces from other collections with amethyst? Of course not!

Mega brands Gucci, Burberry, Coach, Dior, and Louis Vuitton all sell online and in independent retail stores. Fashion designers such as Diane von Fursentberg, Kate Spade, and Ralph Lauren all sell online AND sell in brick and morter retail boutiques across the land. I know they’re in the fashion industry and not the jewelry industry so it’s no the same thing (says the small minded designer) so here are a small list of successful jewelry designers (big and smaller) that have said FU to the retailers BS demands and we applaud them!
David Yurman
Shaun Leane
Kimberly Baker
Alex Woo
Wendy Mink
Alexis Bittar

November 6, 2007. Retail. Leave a comment.

Cheating Hearts

There are jewelry designers who think they’re rock stars (Stephen Webster) and then there are jewelry designers that design for balding men who want to be rock stars. This is the subject of today’s installation of “Knock off or Nak Off?”

We’re not sure which came first the chicken or the egg and that’s exactly how we feel about Lazaro Jewelry in Soho, NY and Chrome Hearts. If you were to take the pieces out of the stores and the packaging and put them next to each other, you’d have a hard time knowing which company made which piece. They’re identical. It goes for everything in the stores, not just the jewelry – the leather goods, the tee-shirts, the candles, they’re all the same. We know that Chrome Hearts has cooler stores, better packaging, and hotter celebs wearing their jewelry but we don’t know if Lazaro was the originator and didn’t have the same cash to put into their branding efforts and this is why Chrome Hearts appears to be the Nak and not the Knock.

Either way it doesn’t really matter to us and only backs up our belief that marketing, store design, media exposure and packaging matters just as much (if not more) than the design.

November 5, 2007. Knock Off or Nak Off?, Retail. 2 comments.

Unfortunoff

I was walking along the delicious stretch of Fifth Avenue this chilly afternoon doing some window shopping and stumbled into Bergdorf Goodman’s jewelry department. It’s always such a pleasure to be in there among some of our favorite jewelry designers: Yossi Harari, Kara Ross, Buccellati, Siegelson, as well as peek at what the knock off artists Jude Frances & Jill Alberts are doing (which of course we already saw at Leslie Greene & Christian Tse’s booth in Vegas 3 years ago.) After I put together my wish list and passed it on to my husband we exited the store at the 57th street exit next to the soon to be new home of Fortunoff.

I was horrified to see the “Coming Soon” window graphics in the Fortunoff’s window. It was most likely produced by one of the two industry marketing companies known for their multiple pieces of shitty looking jewelry with terrible photography placed next to each other on a boring background with no attention to good graphic design. I might as well have been looking at a Kay’s Jeweler or Zale’s window, not the new Fortunoff that will be housed next to the always impeccable, must stop and look, en vogue Bergdorf windows. I know that the consumer who shops at Fortunoff will probably never step foot into Bergdorf and vice versa, but the least Fortunoff could do is take a look at what their new neighbors are doing and take some hints from them. Who knows maybe they’d fool the BG customer to come in the store and even buy something. If the people who make the marketing decisions for Fortunoff took the time to walk up Madison Avenue they’d see the mouth watering “Coming Soon” artwork for the new location of one of the cities most spectacular collections of fine jewelry, Stephen Russell or they could see the plain but still well done Graff marketing or why not take a cue from Tiffany, Cartier or Winston? Anything would be better than making your window look like it belongs in National Jeweler Trade Ad or hanging from the ceiling at the JCK Show.

November 4, 2007. Retail. 1 comment.