You’ve recovered from JCK Las Vegas, now it’s time to meet your customers where they are: vacation mode! The latest designs from TPC members prove that there are as many ways to accessorize a summer-ready look as there are tropical drinks on offer at the cabana bar. Wait till you “sea” the options!
It’s okay to be in a beach-and-boardwalk zone right along with your clients but don’t linger there too long. You’ve got work to do: Mainly, planning your Holiday 2023 product assortment and some top-notch marketing assets to enhance their sparkle—and reach.
Let’s start there, shall we? Expert tips ahead!
How Retailers Can Create a Compelling Holiday Catalog or Lookbook
You’ve likely picked out some promising pieces at JCK Las Vegas, now you need to surface them to your customers and get them excited about shopping for jewelry gifts.
Producing a print or digital holiday catalog for distribution in your store and/or prominently displayed on your website is a classic marketing tactic. It may help to think of them as gift guides.
“They should contain curated suggestions—from the retail POV—to customers who are looking to their retailers for expert advice,” says Andrea Hansen, a Seattle-based business and branding consultant and the founder of Luxe Intelligence. “I think customers still look at their retailers as trusted sources to bring them the best of the best.”
A holiday catalog or lookbook can also “enable retailers to showcase their products and tell a compelling brand story,” says Laryssa Wirstiuk, founder and creative director of Joy Joya, a digital marketing agency for jewelry brands in Los Angeles. “It inspires customers, evokes emotions, and creates desire for the retailer’s jewelry offerings. Additionally, having a digital version increases convenience, accessibility, and reach, while maximizing sales opportunities.”
Production Timeline: Holiday catalog planning should always take place in July. In fact, “it does not matter if you are producing a digital or print piece, if August comes around and production is not very under way, you are late,” says Hansen.
Aim to have the final, printed product in hand—or your digital content live—by the end of October or early November.
Must-Have Components: What are the essential elements of a holiday catalog or lookbook? Here’s a list.
Theme or Headline
Having a theme in mind will help you curate the jewels you want to highlight and establish the look or feel you want the visuals to evoke. Ideas: holiday specials and promotions, last-minute gift ideas, or something more conceptual and romanced (e.g. “Magic in the Making,” which was Bergdorf Goodman’s theme for Holiday 2022).
High quality, professional photography
You can do models, flat-lay product shots, or lifestyle images with carefully chosen props to create an editorial feel. Whatever approach you choose, “Capturing lifestyle imagery that evokes emotion is a key component of holiday marketing materials,” says Alisa Bunger, vice president, U.S. sales & operations,Chic Pistachio.
A variety of price points: But when curating, always lead with your best-sellers!
Compelling copy to highlight unique features and evoke emotions.
Consistent brand identity markers through your choice of colors, typography, and design elements.
Flyers for the Win: Not every store has a budget for an editorial-quality holiday catalog. That’s where single-page flyers and folded brochures come in.
“The great thing about holiday flyers is that they are not a big investment; they are typically less expensive than any other form of advertising during the holidays (i.e., print ads, billboards, radio and TV spots),” says Theresa Namie, merchandise manager atOstbye.
The Secret to Creating Stunning Holiday Campaign Imagery
What is a holiday campaign? Let’s assume you have certain goods and messages that you want to market to consumers shopping for holiday gifts—a campaign is a multi-media, highly-visual storytelling device thatcan help keep these products and messages top of mind, all while boosting your sales, creating brand awareness, and increasing customer engagement.
Smaller independent stores may have a budget for the bare minimum approach: All that’s needed is a selection of beautiful photos—plus engaging copy to accompany them—for feature on social media, email blasts, and on your website.
Where to begin? Many Plumb Club members furnish their retailer partners with turnkey social media and website assets, which might eliminate the need to shoot a campaign from scratch. For example, “We will always provide artwork for any of our retailers for social media and ads for free, this can help stores that do not have someone on staff to do this,” says Theresa Namie, merchandise manager atOstbye.
Failing that, retailers should strongly consider collaborating with a professional photographer or social media specialist to produce a portfolio of holiday campaign images.
But before you dive in:
“One of the biggest mistakes people make is they will invest significant dollars in a holiday campaign, but they don’t have a real story or strategy for making the best use of those marketing assets,” says Alain Simic, a noted NYC based jewelry and fashion photographer and co-host of the NYC Jewelry Week podcast, The Rough Cut. “Think long term, think strategically, think about how this helps to grow the narrative behind your brand. Dropping a few gorgeous images on social media for a few weeks will not bring sales; it’s about a long-term investment and strategy—always—holiday season or otherwise.”
From photo compositions to styling tips and lighting, here are more pro tips to make your holiday images sparkle from all angles.
CONCEPTING: Your images don’t need to scream “Christmas” to convey that you’re offering giftable jewelry. When it comes to aesthetics, sameness doesn’t stand out. Try to create an ambiance that feels “festive” and “adds a touch of magic to the jewelry pieces,” advises Laryssa Wirstiuk, founder and creative director of Joy Joya, a digital marketing agency for jewelry brands in Los Angeles.
But should you plan a campaign of still life images or one in which your jewelry captured on models? “Still life is more cost-effective, and you can do beautiful and wildly inventive things for a holiday campaign,” says Simic. “The advantage of an on-model shoot, though, is that those images do the work of brand-building and storytelling while accomplishing something very practical: showing the pieces to scale on a person. This is incredibly important if your business is largely e-commerce focused.”
COMPOSITION: Some tips for when you set up the shots…
Avoid cluttered compositions that distract from the jewelry.
Choose backgrounds and props that complement rather than overpower the jewels. Highlight details with close-up shots.
Emphasize versatility: Show how the jewelry can be worn for various occasions, from casual gatherings to formal celebrations, to help customers visualize the jewelry’s ability to coordinate with a variety of looks.
Incorporate elements that align with the target audience’s values and convey a lifestyle that’s relevant to them, or to which they might aspire. Show the jewelry being worn by models in relevant scenarios, such as holiday parties, family gatherings, or intimate moments.
LIGHTING: It’s important to experiment with different lighting techniques to enhance the jewelry’s sparkle and brilliance. Play with natural light, soft diffused lighting, or dramatic spotlighting to create captivating visual effects.
Lighting can also be a way to create images with a holiday feel without defaulting to something more literal, like a red velvet backdrop or springs of holly. It’s an approach that also feels unexpected so that your images cut through the red, green, and gold stories that jewelry shoppers are bombarded with during the holiday season.
Summer’s Hottest Jewelry Trend Lives “Under The Sea”
During Las Vegas Jewelry Week one of the most distinctive trends to emerge was one that embraced sea life, beach motifs (including sun, waves and water), and all things mermaid (almost certainly owing to chatter surrounding Disney’s remake of The Little Mermaid, which opened over Memorial Day Weekend). This overarching aquatic theme largely translated to designs featuring shells, fish and other creatures; a distinctive palette of blues and greens; and an abundance of jewels that conjure the ocean such as pearls and turquoise.
“Many people are drawn to the intricate details and textures of sea-inspired jewelry, which often features motifs such as starfish, seahorses, shells, and other creatures,” says Valerie Fletcher, vice president of design and product development at ODI. “Additionally, sea life jewelry can serve as a reminder of holidays or special moments, making it a sentimental and meaningful accessory for many people. Or, it can simply be a way to celebrate nature and the uplifting effect of spending time in the great outdoors.”
Now is the time to surface anything in your inventory that applies in your windows, display cases and on social media. Our TPC members have more than a few ideas for you and many of them can ship in time for high-summer dressing.