Rachael Taylor on how the industry is embracing a fresh, fun spirit.
Sometimes in life you just need to let go and have a bit of fun, and it’s a strategy that would seem to be paying off for many retailers.
In an ideal world most jewellers would prefer to be dealing with only precious metals and the finest natural gemstones, but in recent years this has become a less fortuitous path. In reaction to tightening budgets and a changing consumer nearly all jewellers have at least dipped a toe into the silver jewellery market, with a good majority embracing it heavily.
By doing so the attitudes of jewellery shoppers have changed. A jewellery store is no longer a stuffy intimidating place only to be entered at life’s milestones but a relaxed destination store that still offers those special purchases but also impulse buys for a night out or a birthday gift.
As shoppers have become used to walking through the door, such product categories have widened and fashion-led brands have helped jewellers hit targets in a tough market. Jewellers too have become more comfortable selling outside the fine arena and as attitudes relax, further possibilities that would have once never been considered are being embraced, such as bridge jewellery. So called because it bridges the gap between fashion jewellery and fine jewellery, this category has been popular in the States for some time and now brands and retailers are reporting successes in the UK.
The jewellery features synthetic stones but has luxe touches such as high-quality settings or platinum plating on silver, and the brands creating the goods say it is these details that make it a jewellery store product rather than for gift shops.
Consumers seem to be reacting well to this type of offering and are now edging out of replica traditional jewellery set with white CZs to more daring, colourful creations as they seek out fun jewellery that will last.
This sense of fun and relaxing of the stiff upper lip is also being felt at the top end of the market. While the jewellery houses operating in this sphere are not downgrading their products, they are revolutionising the way that they speak to customers. No longer is the fine jewellery world one of secrecy and snobbery, it is one that teams up with cutting-edge fashion photographers and uses social media to speak to younger consumers.
Our tip for this month? Be it fine or fashion you’re selling, have fun with it.
This column was taken from the July issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. To read a digital version of this issue click here.