Confession time. When experts have spoken to me about the power of storytelling, I’ve often nodded along, but inwardly wondered how important it really is.
Although I’ve always understood the need for a story from a PR perspective, it’s never really resonated with the way I shop.
I can’t say I’ve ever bought a piece of jewellery because the story behind the inspiration has struck a chord with me; it’s always been about the quality and aesthetic of a design.
But this week, something clicked. I realised I had been missing the point (and maybe some of you have too). It’s not about the story itself — it’s about connecting the product with the consumer’s own story and unlocking something that will transition someone from a place of liking the way a piece looks, to knowing they can’t leave the store without it.
So, here comes my second confession: I am absolutely obsessed with whales. My poor husband gets dragged on whale watching trips wherever we go, and I mean wherever we go because I plan our holidays around making sure we can get a glimpse of these amazing creatures.
So you can only imagine how I felt when I saw Alex Monroe’s new ‘Oceans’ collection. The first words that came out of my words were, ‘I feel a little bit emotional about this range’, and it was true.
Oceans does have a beautiful story behind it that will no doubt resonate with people, and it is being launched in partnership with Friends of the Earth to help reduce plastic pollution, a cause many are looking to support, but for me it didn’t matter why this range was coming to market, or what specifically inspired the final designs, it was simply about the whale motifs capturing a piece of my heart and making me feel like I couldn’t live without at least one of the amazing products.
Even though I am not one to usually wear a statement piece, when I put the larger of the whale necklaces on, it didn’t matter what size it was, I wanted to wear it because it reflected a part of who I am.
I had a similar reaction when I tried on byBiehl’s bestselling Beautiful World pendant. The globe spoke to the traveller within me and when worn tells a part of my story. In fact, byBiehl’s founder hit the nail on the head when she said recently in a report about how the stories behind the products had been winning sales for UK jewellers: “It is very important that women wearing the jewellery not only like the look of the product, but can relate to the meaning behind it.”
So I apologise to all the times I have rolled my eyes at PR’s talking about the powerful story behind a collection. I get it now. It’s not really about the tale itself, it’s about connecting with the consumer’s emotions.