As the jewelry industry heads into the busy holiday season, the economic forecast is mixed. In fact, it seems to change daily, with one report on JCK foretelling small gains, and another that quotes the National Retail Federation (NRF) with more positive news: “The economic situation in the United States is unsettling. Nonetheless spending continues to grow, and many economists say a recession—if there is one—will likely be mild.” Maybe the best thing is to tune out the news headlines for a while. And in the meantime, The Plumb Club Members are here to support you in a number of ways.
In Tricky Economic Times, Plumb Club Members Provide Retailers with Creative Support Systems
The cost of milk and eggs may well be quite daunting for some, but a grocery store receipt isn’t going to impact a jewelry store’s profit margins this holiday season, say TPC members. The numbers just don’t bear out.
“Many of our retailer partners are looking at numbers comparable to 2021 which we all know was an anomaly of a year,” says Steven Lerche, chief operating officer at Goldstar Jewellery. “Therefore, we are still seeing numbers 20% to 30% above the 2019 pre-pandemic levels. “Although many are being cautious of their inventory levels, we are already seeing requests for end-of-quarter replenishment which is also a very good sign that sales are outpacing the lowered forecasts.”
To ensure the best possible outcome this holiday season, several TPC members are furnishing their retailer partners with creative tools to drive customer engagement and fulfill product within accelerated timelines. “This year we have amped up our social media, hiring a specialist to help our retailers reach more clients on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok,” says Theresa Namie, merchandise manager, at Ostbye. “Our digital flyer/flipbook can be added to a retailer’s website, Facebook, and Instagram, with clickable images and zoom in/out capabilities to see the product better and our specialist works directly with each retailer to set it up and personalize with their store information. We also send 100 paper flyers for handouts in the store.”
Compelling product imagery is further enhanced by the salability of the product itself. For Namie, and other TPC members, it’s putting out collections that can be sold in the sweet spot of $500 to $1000. “Our three-in-one Enhanceables collection features new designs at great price points, that tell a story and are readily available throughout the holiday season,” she says.
In-store events, when “the more the merrier” can be a helpful tactic when it comes to moving product by an augmented team of sales pros on the floor. For example, Brittany Lewis, chief marketing officer at WD Lab Grown Diamonds, says the company has a roster of in-store events planned this season. “WD is unveiling our brand-new ‘Seed to Stone’ consumer display, which overviews the process for diamond growth, and features diamond specimens that track five stages of rough growth, each one mounted by the mount-maker at the Natural History Museum, owing to the rarity and specialness of the display.”
Retailers, be sure to let TPC members know how things are going and what you need, whether it’s creative solutions or good old-fashioned moral support.
SPIFFs May Spell Success for Retailers and Suppliers Alike
Current economic conditions understandably may have some Plumb Club retailer partners greeting the holiday season with dampened spirits What’s a great way jumpstart morale—and boost your fourth quarter sales—in the meantime? Encourage your employees to take advantage of the SPIFF programs.
For example, Craft Lab Grown Diamonds, a division of HK Designs, is tying its ongoing SPIFF program to a weekly training video, so that the sales associates can only earn SPIFFs if they watch the video. “Since lab-grown is a very new category in most stores, we believe that sales training is absolutely critical,” says George Prout, president, independent division. “Our training emphasizes ways to communicate with and sell to Gen Z, and how to sell lab without hurting mined. The continuous reinforcement of training on lab—combined with the natural predisposition to sell what’s being incentivized—will likely pay dividends not only to us a supplier, as well as to our retailer dealer network.”
At Chatham, Olga Litvin, director of sales, says the company recently introduced a sales contest for its branded retailers that started on Sept. 1 and will run through May 31, 2023. The terms: For every piece of Chatham jewelry sold, a raffle ticket is generated and entered into a generous cash prize drawing. “Winners will be revealed during the next JCK show inside our booth in The Plumb Club Pavilion,” says Litvin. “It has been incredibly successful so far, and we have already accumulated a lot of tickets.”
During the holiday season, Chic Pistachio awards associates with brand gift cards once they reach a certain dollar amount in items sold (example: sell $2,000 worth of merchandise, get $300 in credit towards a personal purchase). “The spiffs are very well received by stores and the employees love to get rewarded for their efforts, plus we want all our retailers’ staff wearing Ania Haie and Aurelie Gi,” says Katherine Whitacre, U.S. Sales Director for Chic Pistachio.
Top-Selling Gifts Ideas for the Happiest of Holidays
From social media to shopping events, there’s no shortage of ways to engage and entice your customers this holiday season. But none of that will matter if your assortment does not include giftable items that tick all the boxes: beautiful, versatile, personal, and affordable. Here are some proven winners to take you from Holiday 2022 and beyond.
Birth Month Flowers, Original Designs / ODI
“We’ve been doing really great with nature in general – lots of leaves and bees and other critters picked up in Vegas – and I think the birth-month flower collection has resonated for a bunch of reasons,” says Valerie Fletcher, VP, design and product development. “It’s not the typical birthstone or zodiac that you see everywhere. It’s often a surprise, since many people aren’t aware that they even have a birth flower! It can be romantic, but it can also be a gift for a mom, a daughter or friend. And, you can add matching earrings or rings the following year.”
Aurelie Gi For Keeps permanent bracelets, Chic Pistachio
Permanent bracelets—a bench jeweler or technician welds a gold chain onto the customer’s wrist in-store—have arrived as the new must-have among the young and chic. Aurelie Gi’s answer to the trend adds gem, enamel and charm elements to the chain bracelet concept across 13 14k gold styles. “Our retail partners are loving the customization and personalization options,” says Alisa Bunger, vice president, US sales & operations. “For Keeps bracelets turn the holiday jewelry gift into a unique experience that can be shared on social media for that immediate gratification, and then it lasts much longer, constantly reminding the wearer of a significant relationship and how much they are loved.”
Fascino collection, Mastoloni
The collection gets its name from the word for “charm” in Italian. The brand reports that two pieces, which each feature a diamond-accented 10.0-10.5 mm pearl, were a hit in Vegas.
Diamond hoops & pendants, Ostbye
“In Vegas we saw so many different new items selected, but our line of reversible hoop earrings that can be worn two different ways and were specifically chosen with holiday gifting in mind because of their multi-use,” says Theresa Namie, merchandise manager. “Our larger fashion lab-grown diamond collection sold extremely well because of the statement looks at a very affordable price. Diamond Initials are also widely popular now and many customers were happy we had them in Vegas.”
Initial pendants, Chatham
“A selection of our bestselling initials was displayed in our Gift Giving Showcase at JCK, along with styles from our Timeless and Celestial Collections,” reports Monica McDaniel, vice president, marketing. “These eye-catching pieces drew in retailers and the initials were especially admired for their unique design style.”