A recent conversation with the chief executive officer of CARAT* London, Scott Thompson, got me thinking, can the jewellery industry move as fast as fashion?
Obviously, this question relates more to fashion jewellery, because fine pieces hold a much more timeless appeal, but as an industry, are we keeping up with the world around us?
We live in a world where consumers are following bloggers and journalists on social media. People now have access to next season’s trends before they drop into store. How long can we leave them waiting for that trend to come in before they will find it somewhere else, because let’s not forget they are no longer limited to finding things on the high street or even in the UK.
CARAT* London is responding to fast fashion by launching eight collections a year — with new pieces constantly being dropped into store to keep things fresh and exciting. Dollie Jewellery has decided to make sure ‘season specials’ are exactly that — exclusive pieces that can only be bought within a certain time frame.
You may not be able to drop new collections into your stores as fast as influencers can get a hold of them, but you can certainly keep things fresh, exciting and innovative — giving consumers a reason to shop in store rather than make instant online purchases.
Visual merchandising is also key to this. It’s not just about having neat and tidy eye-catching displays anymore, it’s also about having pieces in your window that will make people stop and stare and create an intrigue for them to discover what other jewels lurk inside the cabinets of your boutique.
For instance, Chalfen of London has created a range called Precious Rainforest which had everyone talking at the CMJ Spring Trade event. The brand has combined striking and unique jewels (picture gold frogs with ruby eyes) with an unusual visual merchandising display which mimics a rainforest. Levine told me that many jewellers said it was exactly what they needed for their windows and it’s true. Retailers need to invest in pieces that will draw people in. A range which reflects their personality and the creative abilities of our trade.
We are still not at a place where people outside of the industry think about what jewellery they are going to wear before their clothes, but we need to learn from fashion and get to a point where jewellery comes first.