Of all the ways to frame 2021, we are partial to Stuller’s hopeful, celebratory take, summed up by its new marketing campaign, “Year of the Wedding.” We reached out to Alex Stuller, the company’s senior director of bridal, to ask about the genesis of the campaign and explain some of its less obvious talking points.
“We noticed pretty quickly that demand was increasing steadily through Q3 and Q4, particularly with regard to engagement rings,” Stuller says. “People either made it through the hardest parts of quarantine and wanted to get engaged, or they just wanted to celebrate. Internally, we kept saying, ‘2021 is going to be the year of the wedding.’ We wanted to recognize a very large opportunity and make sure our jewelers were ready for the spike in weddings because of all the cancellations last year and the rescheduled weddings this year. We wanted to make sure we were talking about our whole bridal story.”
That story begins with engagement rings, but that’s hardly where it ends. Below are five key points about Stuller’s “Year of the Wedding” campaign and what it suggests about the ever-evolving bridal jewelry category.
Whether they’re completely custom or simply modified versions of existing styles, rings that reflect an individual’s tastes are huge drivers of demand.
There is no such thing as a basic bride. Thanks to social media, every woman now has myriad sources of design inspiration when envisioning her dream ring. Every jeweler with a stake in the bridal category must be prepared to offer their clients custom options that range from augmenting existing styles to, as Stuller describes, “submitting a napkin sketch” and watching it come to fruition.
Stuller’s chief solution to the outsize demand for unique-to-her rings is its Ever & Ever selection of customizable bridal prototypes. “You can change the center stone, the shape, the size, add engravings, add stones to channel,” says Stuller. “We give you all the flexibility to create the ring of her dreams.”
But it’s not just about a bespoke service. Sometimes a bride simply wants to style her ring in a way that speaks to her, such as creating a custom bridal stack or adding larger and fancy-shape stones to an eternity band.
“Some brides are forgoing that solitaire big stone engagement ring and choosing an eternity band as their engagement ring instead,” Stuller says. “They’re keeping traditional styles but using them in nontraditional ways.”
Engagement rings get all the attention, but they’re not the only wedding jewels retailers should promote.
In order to draw attention to all the ways in which jewelers can capitalize on their clients’ weddings, Stuller’s yearlong campaign includes monthly highlights that focus on a different aspect of wedding jewelry, from gift-giving opportunities for bridesmaids to alternative-gem center stones.
“One month we’re even focusing on repair,” Stuller says. “Once you sell an engagement ring, that’s not the end of your relationship with your customer. You need to make sure they know they can come to you for loose stones or when to check back to have their ring rhodium plated. You say ‘bridal’ and most people think engagement ring, but it’s so much more than that. When we talk about the year of the wedding, we want to talk about everything that touches that ecosystem.”
Long neglected, grooms are in search of options.
In the rush to woo women with enriched retail experiences, many jewelers have forgotten that men are also searching for wedding jewels that meet their individual needs. That means it’s time to stock up.
“Men want to see options in front of them, so having those pieces is important,” Stuller says. “When talking to a bride and groom or to a same-sex couple, a pair of grooms, make sure it’s the same experience you’re giving to the bride.”
To promote your wedding business, fantastic visual assets are key.
It was true before the pandemic, and it’s doubly true after: The ability to showcase high-quality, on-trend product imagery on your website and social channels will make or break your wedding business.
Stuller makes visual assets appropriate for social media available to any jeweler, but members of its Stuller First loyalty program have privileged access to super-hi-res files that could be used for things such as billboards.
“Not everyone has a photography studio, so we want to make sure our jewelers can use those assets,” Stuller says.
Oval diamonds, floral motifs, and Bridgerton-inspired vintage styles are hot—for now.
“Round is still the queen of the center-stone shape, but we see oval continue to show growth,” says Stuller. “Floral was super popular in 2020: light, delicate, sculptural-looking details. And vintage comes and goes, but when a show like Bridgerton comes out, you definitely see a strong response.”
Stuller adds that the company has even seen interest in pearl-accented engagement rings, as well as pearl center stones, in the wake of Ariana Grande’s 2020 engagement to Dalton Gomez with a two-stone, pearl-and-diamond ring. “It makes me so nervous because the pearl is not the hardiest of stones,” says Stuller. “But it’s definitely a trend.”
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