Naomi Newton-Sherlock is creative director of Domino Jewellery.
Here she talks through the brand’s product plans for the year leading up to Christmas 2021, and tells Professional Jeweller why “quality and price” will be increasingly important to customers post-pandemic.
What product plans can you share for 2021?
Domino has a number of new product launches coming in 2021. Throughout the three lockdowns, we have continued to focus on developing our product ranges and our marketing support to provide retailers with both newness in their product ranges and the right sales tools to sell bridal jewellery when the high street reopens.
Spring 2021 will see the launch of Domino’s new Shaped and Decorative rings; a stunning range of over 20 fresh designs perfect not only for the bridal market, but also to be worn as right-hand rings.
Many pieces are ideal for stacking so whether the consumer is looking to create a beautiful bridal silhouette or a lifestyle stack, these pieces will allow retailers to create a unique look for their consumer.
We have also been working on some new engagement ring styles ready for the spring as well as looking ahead to autumn.
Our 2021 designs for neckwear, wristwear and earrings are already underway – all perfect for Christmas gifting and beyond.
What does innovation mean to you and what part does it play in your company culture?
Innovation is very important to us and is one of our core company values. We work hard to ensure we are staying ahead of the curve and providing our retailers with the right products and sales tools for the evolving consumer market.
Innovation is more than developing new product ranges or manufacturing techniques; it is about keeping ahead of market needs with a 360-degree approach to research and development.
A key focus for us currently is innovation in the digital arena, ensuring that we are providing the best possible online experience for our retailers and their consumers.
2020 saw a complete overhaul of our online buying experience of engagement rings, including new website tools for retailers, increased stock holding and a luxurious consumer facing brochure – all designed to make the selling experience seamless for our retailers.
Online tools include retailer branding and mark up, improved navigation to our engagement ring purchasing journey, and a certificated diamond feed allowing retailers to purchase both their mount and certificated diamond all in one place.
Spring 2021 will see the launch of our new wedding ring journey, which has also been designed to make the online buying experience smooth for the retailer and their consumer.
What are the key influences when it comes to new product development and do you see these changing?
There are so many factors that influence our new product development, from trends to consumer behaviour and the economy.
Product trends: we develop our product ranges to ensure they are of the moment with our designers, incorporating trends from luxury markets spanning from fashion to interiors.
Buying trends: retailer and consumer buying trends are considered right from the beginning of our product development, so that we can incorporate the right marketing and sales tools to support our retailers in selling the ranges.
Consumer demand: we work in partnership with our retailers and develop our offering to ensure it meets all their consumer requirements.
Commerciality: commerciality is a fundamental and integral part of the design process. Our designers work meticulously to ensure that metal weights and diamond weights are carefully balanced to ensure our products hit key price points.
How do you seek to differentiate yourselves from competitors?
Domino takes a partnership approach to working with retailers. We believe that our unique and immersive approach to partnership is what sets us apart; from customer service excellence to high-quality and on-trend product, everything we do is driven by and developed for our customers.
Innovation can also occur from a non-design perspective e.g. through technology changes, marketing, customer support etc. Is there anything innovative you’ve been doing for retailers in this regard?
User experience is key when selling bridal jewellery as it is such a personal purchase, we have developed a number of marketing and sales tools to assist our retailers in providing a seamless buying experience for their consumers.
The last 12 months has seen innovation across our online buying experience of engagement rings and wedding rings.
It has been a challenging 12 months for the industry – what key trends do you expect to see within the jewellery industry this year?
Choice, individual expression and quality. Whether that’s personalisation through stacking and layering or through customisation of metal, stone, pattern, or design. Modern consumers seek out jewellery that is a reflection of their personality and individual story.
With a very uncertain economy as a result of the pandemic, quality and price will play a big part in purchasing decisions.
Therefore as a supplier, it is very important for us to ensure we are providing the best possible quality products, whilst also hitting the right price points across our ranges.
How has the pandemic affected your business strategy – what’s your main focus now?
Our main focus remains the same: supporting our retailers as much as possible to be the go-to bridal jewellery retailer.
To deliver this, we are developing our product ranges to ensure we are providing the right products, at the right price point, with the leading sales support packages.
What is the key to successful partnerships between suppliers and retailers – do you think the needs of both parties are changing as the industry becomes accustomed to a ‘new normal’?
Working closely with our retailers is at the heart of everything we do. It is central to our culture, drives our organisational vision and is the ultimate barometer of our success.
The area of development in our partnership approach is how our sales support is delivered. Since the start of the pandemic we have seen a clear drive for growth in digital, so our focus is to support our retailers as much as possible in this arena.