We chart the rise of the latest hot jewellery trend to hit the UK.
We’ve had charm bracelets, bead bracelets and crystal bead bracelets, but what about collectible neckwear? Rachael Taylor asks if a new wave of brands offering interchangeable coin necklaces could hold the answer to the never-ending question of what the next big craze in jewellery will be.
Ever since the explosion of the Pandora phenomenon the question that has constantly been on every jewellery retailer’s lips is what is the next big thing?
This question was answered last year when the crystal bead bracelets burst onto the scene and transformed the market. The craze hit fast and strong and has been bolstering turnover at most retailers since last Christmas.
Crystal bead bracelet sales are still going strong, but that doesn’t quell the eternal question of what’s next. Professional Jeweller tipped the crystal bead trend back in September last year and this year we have a new suggestion – the interchangeable coin necklace.
The concept of the necklace boils down to its three parts: the long-length chain, the pendant or holder and the coin. Each is sold separately and is completely interchangeable, offering up endless combinations, and because of this the trend has that magic ingredient needed for all jewellery phenomena – the opportunity for repeat business through a collectible product.
As with most jewellery crazes, this product has built up a strong following already elsewhere in Europe, including Ireland where distributor IBB Dublin has been selling its Mi Moneda brand of pendants into stores there for the past year.
IBB Dublin has secured more than 40 stockists for the Mi Moneda brand in its first year, and the brand is still growing. It launched in Ireland in October last year and had already signed up 15 stores by Christmas 2011 and by this Christmas it expects the tally to rise to 70.
Mi Moneda has proved so successful that IBB Dublin is pushing into the UK for the first time. It tested the brand with retailer John Greed from June through to August and the feedback was positive. John Greed has now reordered and is now getting ready to sell the brand online.
IBB Dublin has talks lined up with a swathe of leading independent retailers over the next few weeks and plans to hire a full-time rep based in the UK by January. It is also planning to exhibit at The Jewellery Show in Birmingham in February for the first time.
“In the last two months we have really seen a pick up,” says Mi Moneda brand manager Lyndsey Dunne. “We’ve never experienced this kind of cult following with a brand. We think it’s going to be big. We had one retailer who did £7,500 in four weeks.”
Prices for the Mi Moneda pendants are not astronomical, with the retail price of a mid-range pendant, coin and chain sitting at £100 for the three. It also has coins that sell for as little as £5. While the chain and pendants are sterling silver, the coins are base metal so it keeps prices low. Mi Moneda also has a range of men’s pendants.
Dutch brand Nikki Lissoni, distributed in the UK and Ireland by DMJ, offers a similar product to Mi Moneda. The jewellery is all base metal but is cast, rather than stamped, and is plated with gold or silver that has been protected with a nano coating.
DMJ launched the brand a year ago and has signed up 70 stockists since then and the company says that it is experiencing a healthy level of reordering. “We’ve had in it a number of House of Fraser stores and their sales have been quite positive,” says DMJ’s Darren McCormick. “The ones that we had in House of Fraser on Oxford Street [in London] did really well during the Olympics. It seems to be a growth area and we have had a lot of retailers asking for imagery for Christmas catalogues.”
While the necklaces seem to be proving popular, the key to this trend is its collectible nature. So for it to be a success, customers should be returning to stores to buy additional coins to grow their collections, which is something that McCormick says is happening.
“The best way for me to judge is to look at the resales, and we are getting them through,” he says. “And we are starting to see more orders coming through of just the coins.”
Dov Getter, who was named as a CMJ Business Big Shot in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 this year, is also planning on cashing in on this new jewellery craze. He is the man behind the successful Lucet Mundi brand that captured the imagination of consumers and some major retailers with its timely collection of crystal bead bracelets and he has now identified this style of interchangeable coin pendants as the next big thing.
“At Lucet Mundi we do the things that are trendy and that everyone is after,” says Getter. “In the same way that I saw the crystal beads and thought that they would be a winner, now I see the pendants.”
Getter has created a new range within Lucet Mundi called My Mundi of base metal coins and 925 silver pendants and chains. While brands such as Mi Moneda and Nikki Lissoni have huge ranges of coins ranging from Swarovski crystals to engraving and enamel, My Mundi will focus on just one design element – the same crystals used in its crystal bead bracelets.
The brand has a wide selection of colourways of crystal-studded coins and has created a stack-style point of sale display and has sourced a velvet pouch for the packaging. Getter says that he has had positive conversations with his existing Lucet Mundi retailers, which he says he will target first, as well as multiple retailers, and adds that he believes the brand could be a good fit with airlines.
The My Mundi range will be ready to hit stockists from mid October and Getter says that he hopes to have 40 accounts signed up by Christmas.
“I think the craze is going to start this Christmas, and it’ll be a good start, but I think the real hype will only start next year as it takes time to get to market and for people to see it in the shops,” says Getter. “The whole style is very different, it’s not something that people have seen, just like the crystal bead bracelets were.”
While there can never be a cast iron answer to the question of what the next big craze will be, it seems that with a huge interest already from retailers and a number of trendsetting distributors cottoning on to the product, the interchangeable coin necklace is certainly one to watch for in the next year, or perhaps even this Christmas.
This feature was taken from the October issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue online, click here.