Professional Jeweller travels to Mallorca to discover one of Endless Jewelry’s sunshine soaked training weekends; honing in on business growth, marketing strategies and retailer reactions to new AW15 product lines.
The Endless Jewelry Castle, also known as founder Jesper Nielsen’s sunshine home, is perched on the edge of the ocean just outside of Palma, Mallorca.
It’s a grand sand-coloured villa with its own Hawaiian-style outdoor bar, swimming pool and views of the water that would make the average jet-setting celebrity feel right at home. As a destination for a two-day training session to discuss the brand development of Endless Jewelry, it’s extravagant to say the least.
But as a shock and awe tactic, it’s remarkably effective. Realistically, these types of weekends are about introducing retailers to the Endless Jewelry mind-set; the lashings of confidence, the investment, the determination and the sense that anything is possible if you jump in, feet first, right now.
That’s not to say the weekend is somehow manipulative — far from it. In fact, the entire Endless Jewelry team proved to be hospitable, honest and entertaining company, resulting in a group of happy, confident retailers on the plane back to Gatwick.
There have been 85 training sessions and partner events in Mallorca since the brand was founded 18 months ago. The one Professional Jeweller attended was by far the largest, with 80 guests from Germany and across the UK. Of those from the UK most have stocked Endless for around nine to 12 months and were invited to take part in the training weekend based on their spend and buy-in to the company. There have been a number of significant changes within the charm bracelet concept company in recent months, not least of which was the appointment of a new chief executive officer, Paul Moonga. Moonga will focus on international expansion and strengthening the company’s supply chain, while founder Jesper Nielsen will continue to focus on brand development.
Endless has 350 accounts in the UK, with those on the training weekend agreeing that the brand has been slow off the mark but shows signs of improvement. Sell through and supply chain issues were all raised at the event, with many saying they were yet to receive spring/summer bracelet colours. One retailer even said Christmas orders had still failed to arrive.
Refreshingly, sales director Peter Wainø didn’t skirt around the issue and admitted there have been considerable problems, largely due to rapid worldwide expansion into 3,000 doors in 21 markets, coupled with growing demand in the United States thanks to the Jennifer Lopez collaboration. Fortunately, Endless has doubled its production capacity in recent months, taking its manufacturing team from 425 to 1,500 to produce its 20 different bracelets and more than 600 charms.
Now, the brand is keen to cement and support its existing pool of retailers in the UK with a variety of new schemes. Firstly, Endless has been using its successful partnership with multiple retailer Beaverbrooks to its advantage, completing a training course across its store network that will soon be rolled out to independents across the UK. Endless has also tested its VIP partner events at Beaverbrooks, most notably in Scotland, helping locations to secure the first 10 to 15 consumer who will regularly return for more charms.
According to Endless Jewelry’s UK brand manager Mark Faulkner, Beaverbrooks has been a supportive and collaborative partner for the brand, sharing its ideas for growth and success. Beaverbrooks and many of Endless’ independent accounts either missed the Pandora train, or have seen their Pandora accounts taken away in favour of concept stores. Either way, the team at Endless are focused on filling this gap in the market and eventually beating it.
But encouraging retailers to firmly believe in the brand isn’t easy, especially with sluggish sell-through. VIP member events are designed to alleviate this stress somewhat by helping retailers to host prosecco-fuelled daytime or evening events for their most loyal consumers. 10 such events have been held so far, with the most successful generating £2,500 in just three hours.
Endless also aims to support its retailers in terms of advertising, offering PR assistance for VIP events and 50% towards the cost of local advertising; whether this be in the windows of empty lots in town centre locations, on the back of buses or on billboards.
Perhaps the most successful aspect of Endless’ UK market push is its social media outreach, including an Ambassadors Facebook group designed to get retailers talking, sharing ideas and promoting their Endless successes with each other. This is then linked to a weekly or fortnightly newsletter explaining the momentum of the brand and any relevant news that retailers might find interesting.
Brand ambassador and actress Jennifer Lopez is a big score for Endless, but her reach is somewhat limited in Europe. In Asia, the Middle East, Russia, North America and South America pictures of Lopez wearing the bracelets have resulted in booming sales, but the UK has reacted with a little less lustre. This doesn’t worry Faulkner though, who talked Professional Jeweller through a four pronged marketing strategy balancing consumer advertising in glossy women’s magazines; Jennifer Lopez’s brand endorsement; traditional PR; and increased retail PR at a local level.
Founder Jesper Nielsen reiterated the importance of Jennifer Lopez in his speech to retailers in the spacious lounge area of his Mallorca villa, encouraging them to use her involvement as much as possible with posters, window displays and banners. The brand also offers a video featuring the star, which can be personalised with a retailer’s logo and played in store.
Endless is famous for its parties, especially at trade shows where it invites hundreds of customers and press to vibrant events. Mallorca was no exception, and Nielsen pulled out all the stops to ensure retailers were left impressed and spoiled by the trip (impeccably organised by the head office team in Denmark).
Speaking to Professional Jeweller, Nielsen explained the brand expects further, but more manageable growth and expansion in the next two to three years followed by a period of higher demand and greater momentum in months 36 to 48.
“We want to grow demand in store and get as many retailers as possible to engage,” Nielsen explained. “You can’t create demand overnight because women don’t know it [the brand], but we are continuously making noise in the industry and with consumers.”
Nielsen adds that the company will continue to “act like a mega brand” even if sales don’t match the moniker — a sort of fake it ‘till you make it approach.
In terms of growth, Nielsen will push into Jennifer Lopez-friendly areas in the coming months in a bid to reach his dream of becoming a $250 million company by 2020.
The training on offer in Mallorca was focused specifically on presenting the brand, describing its story and showcasing new products. At JCK Las Vegas in May, Endless signed orders worth seven figures and showcased its new collection of leather necklaces, three-string bracelets and silver charm bracelets, plus fresh colours and charms for its Jennifer Lopez and core collections.
The Maribel collection, named after Jennifer Lopez’s daughter, is expected to launch at International Jewellery London in September, while the brand’s ring collection is plotted for spring 2016. Endless has also introduced a free-tocustomers ‘My Endless’ jewellery stand, designed to store bracelets and charms in a smart dressing table display unit.
Overall, retailers reacted positively to the new launches at the Mallorca training event, especially the sterling silver bracelets with the infinity loop logo clasp. Nielsen isn’t daunted by the product expansion, noting he’s “done this all before” and knows the ups-and-downs associated with taking a concept brand to the top.
However, products have also been taken out of the mix, most notably the semi-precious charms with higher price points. Endless has replaced these with equally colourful but cheaper zirconia versions, bringing its whole product range to a more accessible price level.
There was a very clear message being delivered at the two-day whistle stop event: ‘stick with us’. The brand may still be in its infancy, but there’s nothing immature about its financial backing, booming accounts and single-minded determination.
By presenting the best of Endless in a breathtaking location it is hoped that retailers will save that extra space in the window, clear that prime display cabinet or make that poster space available for the brand. If it follows the same trajectory as Pandora, those who do all of these things will certainly reap the rewards in a few years time.
This feature originally appeared in the July issue of Professional Jeweller, read it online here.