Alexis Dove discusses the growth of the self-gifting shopper.
By Alexis Dove
I came into the jewellery industry because of an obsession with jewellery. I had been fascinated as a child by everything from my grandmother’s jewellery box to ancient pieces in museum exhibits.
The human desire to adorn the body, especially the female form, was the reason why I started designing. I wanted to create collections which appealed to women and came to life when they were worn, becoming part of a woman’s own narrative.
From the very beginning my jewellery collections were feminine, drawing particularly from nature and themes that have been used in jewellery design for thousands of years. My background in agriculture also played an important part in this process. I was inspired by the idea of nature being female as so many ancient cultures believe.
As I have grown my brand over the past seven years I have continued to keep these inspirations in mind. My boutique in Lewes is designed to attract women who enjoy shopping with their friends and I encourage staff to chat with customers and make it fun for them to try lots of pieces on. We also have a wish list so that they can take away a list of things they like for anyone who wants to buy them a gift. Many of my customers are women who are buying for other women in their lives, whether friends or family.
The increase in women with their own money means that the traditional way of selling jewellery to men to buy for women has changed. More women than ever make their own decisions about the jewellery they want to wear, including wedding and engagement rings. One half of my shop is dedicated to a consultation area and most couples who come to the shop have come because of the woman. I find that she wants to be completely involved in the process, from choosing her own stone to deciding what type of ring her husband will have.
With the increase in social media I have found that this is a platform from which I can communicate with my customers and again it is mostly women I speak with. It is a great way of finding out what kind of jewellery they want to buy. This has helped me in the creation of my more recent collections, inspired by ancient Greek jewellery, with the idea of creating jewellery for a very modern goddess.
Many women in the jewellery industry run their own businesses and fit these around family life. This gives us a unique ability to understand what drives our female customers, from those young women with their first pay check to the mums who wants to feel special after the birth of a child.
This guest column was taken from the July issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.