Spicing Up Bridal: A Taste of Latin Design

J. Lo (actress and singer Jennifer Lopez, to anyone out of the pop culture loop) is designing her own clothing line. Ricky Martin still makes women around the world swoon. And Penelope Cruz’s dark-skinned beauty has reportedly charmed America’s prince of film, Tom Cruise.

If there’s ever been a coming-of-age for Hispanic pop culture, this is it.

When Mercury Ring’s Phyllis Bergman looked at the phenomenon last year, she began to consider how it might affect her fine-jewelry business. After meeting with a focus group of Latin consumers, the Englewood, N.J.-based manufacturing company developed Eterno Amor, a line marketed specifically to the Hispanic market.

Eterno Amor focuses on second-generation Latinos, who have integrated the American and Hispanic elements of their lifestyles. As a result, their design tastes are largely classic and traditional, Bergman says. They are, however, very interested in marriage and other rites of passage.

“Most people have no idea what Hispanic customers are looking for,” Bergman says. “They think it’s filigree or lacy designs, and they’re wrong. This is a modern market that identifies with Ricky Martin and J. Lo.”

The market study and focus group also revealed that these potential customers place high value on brands and are loyal to those that market specifically to Latinos, she says.

The new Eterno Amor line, which launched at the major winter trade shows, is already available in several stores located in communities with large Latino populations: Fortunoff in Wayne, N.J., Robbins Bros. in Los Angeles, and Robbins 8th and Walnut in Philadelphia. The line is available in 14k white or yellow gold or platinum and includes rings, heart pendants, and crosses. Suggested retail prices range from $250 to $6,000.

Bergman says she hopes to add items such as watches to the line, while promoting it through celebrity placements and special promotions. Mercury Ring has already launched a promotional consumer Web site, www.EternoAmor.net, which provides Spanish and English language information on the collection, product photos, and a resource to find retailers nationwide. A national advertising campaign targeting Spanish-language media also is being developed.