Jewelers looking to stand out in the crowd need to stake out unique market sweet spots that will resonate with target consumers. Two categories that show consistent growth despite economic fluctuations are men’s and youth jewelry.
While both represent a small percentage of overall sales, jewelers who build departments around them not only tap into these growing markets, but also build customer relationships that lead to more and bigger sales.
Season-less categories, both are perfect to foster business yearlong—not just for holidays, but special occasions and birthdays. Jewelers should recommend these products to every customer from the wedding couple to the casual browser.
If you haven’t thought about expanding in the men’s jewelry market you’re missing out on the fastest growing category in jewelry, hails Ruth Grothaus, merchandise manager, IB Goodman, Newport, Kentucky. “Give your store a niche to stand apart with offerings not found everywhere else. Building a male clientele has unlimited benefits for repeat business and loyal customers.”
Men are gaining more freedom to express themselves through their attire and are spending more on fashion and accessories that give them a unique look, says Cora-Lee Colaizzi, director of marketing and catalogs and senior merchandiser, Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio. “More workplaces have dropped the coat and tie in exchange for a casual office environment. This gives men more opportunities to personalize their appearance and use jewelry to express themselves. A man can easily look the part without a suit provided he has the right accessories.”
Jewelers need to carry styles that will appeal to traditional and modern buyers, advises Colaizzi. “To start, a mix of gold styles and alternative metals will give a good price range and hit a variety of age groups. Buyer feedback and better store demos will help adjust the assortment to grow the category.” Grothaus says that if men see it, they buy it, noting that most sales are self-purchase. “Never assume men don’t buy jewelry. Always bring it up to customers.”
Priscilla-Marie Ilarraza for Seiko, New York suggests that watches be a focal point of a men’s department in jewelry stores. “For many men, this is one of the only forms of jewelry that is worn besides a wedding band.” But many men are not comfortable in jewelry stores, says Samantha Barker, public relations and social media coordinator for Citizen in New York. She hails technology a draw, and watches giving retailers with the ability to go beyond the standard showcase and display them like cars, out in the open for men to test drive.
Create a “men’s corner” advocates Scott Rauch, president of SHR Jewelry Group/S.D.C. Designs, New York. Integrate men’s watches, fashion jewelry and accessories, and wedding bands in one area that speaks to masculine aesthetics and encourages exploration. He suggests incorporating images that show men wearing jewelry and displays that illustrate how styles work together to create a look. Ilarraza advocates a strong focus on presentation with marketing material that appeals to male consumers with clear messaging.
Solicit insights from male sales associates, suggests Colaizzi, who urges they also wear jewelry in the store. “If you want to sell jewelry to men, you have to prove to customers you’re in the men’s jewelry business and advocate men wear your product. Having your customers see the product on real people, in all age and ethnic groups will assist in suggestively selling it.”
Men’s accessories make great gifts for the “wingman” in your life, touts Grothaus, be it your best man, groomsmen, husband, father, brother—the sentiment behind IB Goodman’s latest campaign. Men are hard to buy gifts for, so she advocates using social media to share ideas. She encourages targeting women gift givers, as they want their guy to have style and understand the intrinsic value of jewelry. “If she’s buying something for herself and sees product for men, she may also pick up something for her special guy,” says Colaizzi.
A love for jewelry begins when we’re young, through gifts that celebrate moments and express personality. And, kids love to sparkle. An adorable video by harpersbazaar.com shows little fashionistas aged three to eight trying on jewelry at Van Cleef & Arpels. Wide-eyed and giggling, the girls thought everything was “fabulous” and that they looked like Disney princesses. One girl explained that people love diamonds because they’re really pretty and they go with everything.
Jewelry is the perfect gift for all occasions and there are a lot of occasions as a child is growing up—religious events, birthdays, graduation, special holidays, says Colaizzi. “An investment in a keepsake to memorialize many of these life celebrations is sought by parents and grandparents who love to spoil their children. Capture those sales opportunities and build a loyal customer base with a variety of pieces from infant through young adult.”
Audrey Robbins for Marathon Company, Attleboro, Massachusetts, known for its Kiddie Kraft brand, promotes this niche as an attraction that gets people into the store and inspires impulse buys. “If it’s visible and nicely displayed, it will sell. With minimal investment and space, jewelers can develop a department that will turn product year round. Consumers don’t baulk at the price because the items are affordable and well made.”
Create an atmosphere that speaks to children, featuring delightful motifs and cheery colors. The bangle charm brand Chrysalis, part of the Richline Group, offers with its latest Wishes collection for kids in-store marketing material and displays that represent the drawings of the designer, eight-year-old Willow Maine, daughter of co-founders David and Andrea Maine.
Social media, particularly Instagram, has played a big role in fueling the childrenswear category, Ambika Zutshi, CEO of Fashionbi told luxurydaily.com in February, with many kids-only accounts sharing daily looks. She advocates that if brands can capture children’s attention and affection from a young age it could lead to lifelong relationships.