As marriages fall but births rise, new mums could be key for jewellers
Push presents – jewellery given to a woman after giving birth – are big news in the US and it is starting to hit the uk. With birth rates going up and marriage rates declining Rachael Taylor believes it could be an important emerging sector for retailers.
Bringing new life into the world is a huge milestone in any woman’s life, and in the lives of her friends and family, and like all special moments it brings with it a potential marketing idea for jewellers.
The jewellery industry has been quick to embrace weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, Christenings and other milestones, but when it comes to giving mothers presents after giving birth it is perhaps an under-utilised marketing strategy, outside of the traditional eternity rings.
Jewellers in the States, however, have been cashing in on this sales opportunity for several years. The term push presents has been in general circulation across the pond since at least 2006, according to US jewellery business magazine JCK, and it is providing an additional niche for jewellers there to attract and retain repeat customers.
The wording push present might make some of us recoil slightly as we realise that the jewellery brands are not talking about pushing a pram but the physical act of child birth, but as a concept it has huge potential and at IJL a number of brands were starting to use it in marketing materials.
Hertfordshire jewellery wholesaler PJ Watson used the September show to promote a set of pendants aimed at new mothers. The designs, which have a price tag of £3,500, were crafted in 18ct white gold, decorated with mother of pearl and diamonds, with the option of a blue or pink sapphire to represent a baby boy or a baby girl.
“The thinking behind the collection is self evident but we have created something with real emotional significance,” says PJ Watson managing director Vivien Watson. “There is a big trend in America for so-called push presents, when mothers are given celebratory gifts after having a baby.”
Giving jewellery for babies has been a tradition in some cultures since the dawn of jewellery making, but push presents are about focusing on rewarding and celebrating the mother rather than the child.
When a newborn arrives, the mother is often sidelined as endless gifts of cuddly toys and babygrows arrive hand-in-hand with friends and relations desperate for that first cuddle. It is an emotional and anxious time for new mothers and with attention suddenly diverted, a gift from a partner to show appreciation for what the mother has been through can help to make her feel she is as appreciated and loved as her newborn.
To reflect that the focus is on the mother rather than the baby, Trollbeads has created a silver Expectation bead, retailing at £390, that shows a pregnant woman being cuddled by her partner – a symbol of the excitement and anticipation that they have shared in the final months of pregnancy.
While push presents have been created to celebrate the mother, the most important thing for new mothers is usually their newly arrived bundle of joy and many will want to include their child symbolically in any jewellery they receive.
Obvious ways to do this are through colours – blue for a boy and pink for a girl. Another simple method is through the initial of their baby’s name.
“I love my new mums, especially as I am soon to be a grandmother myself,” says Gail Goodrich, founder of retail jeweller Argent of London. “It’s a treat to help choose them a gift, whether it be a pearl bracelet with their child’s initial on it or a fabulous blue or pink gemstone to be created into a stunning piece of jewellery of their choice.”
Chamilia has also catered to this trend and has just created a new bead design of a baby boot featuring either a blue or pink Swarovski crystal.
Hertfordshire bespoke jeweller Harriet Kelsall has found push presents to be a fruitful sector, but says that her customers are asking for more subtle ways to include their children in designs.
Eponymous founder Harriet Kelsall says: “Hardly a week goes by without a commission for an eternity ring that includes something to do with the new child. We don’t tend to find that people ask for a blue stone for a boy or a pink stone for a girl, what we tend to find is that people like to find something that represents something for each individual child that they have already or plan to have.”
In the past Kelsall has received commissions for rings set with the birthstones of children, engravings in the shanks of rings of childrens’ names and rings with a number of diamonds that correlates to how many children a couple have or plan to have.
She has also just completed a commission to modify her Mobius Twist ring to have it twist round the finger five times, to represent five children, with the name of a child engraved in each twist.
Jewellers often describe the bridal business as steady, because there will always be couples getting married, but with marriage rates going down and birth rates going up, surely push presents could prove to be an even more regular and reliable source of income for jewellers. After all, we all hope to only get married once, but most people who want children tend to plan for more than one, adding that magical element of repeat business.
Push presents might not be a fitting term for one of nature’s most beautiful moments, but its is certainly a sales area that jewellers should be pushing, and pushing hard.
807,000 babies were born in the UK in 2010
The UK is experiencing the highest number of births since 1972
The age group showing the highest growth rate in births in 2010 was 30 to 34, a time in life when couples are more likely to be financially affluent
The average age of women giving birth in 2011 is 29
(Source: Office of National Statistics)
This article was taken from the November issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. To read the issue online click here.