As if studs weren’t cute and covetable enough—with their little elevations and built-in better prices than most bigger pairs—Alex Woo takes the tiny earrings to a new level of irresistibility with her Mini Additions Mix and Match varieties.
The collection actually started a few years ago when clients of the New York City–based designer began asking for earring versions of her signature Little Icons—small pendant charms that start at $700 in 14k gold—and Mini Additions (even tinier charms that start at $150 in 14k gold). “The Mini additions just translated well to be studs,” she explains. So she made a few Mini earrings, including a heart, a key, a star, a moon, a hamsa, and an evil eye, allowing buyers to select whatever they liked, whether it was a matching set.
And, why not? Motifs were just as cute in singles as they were in pairs, and it empowered shoppers to create their own stories, like they do with charms. Plus, Woo doesn’t offer any earring trends like jackets or climbers, so mix-and-match studs could be her nod to the ear trend. Consumers thus far wear multiples, plugging up open earring holes with snappy and varied little spots of fun.
This year at Couture, she debuted her most options to date, about 20 new styles.
“This past year, I feel like the mix-and-match trend has really grown,” she says. “And since our whole Mini collection continues to expand so much, this seemed like a perfect segue to that trend.”
She has 55 individual shapes, plus mini letters, numbers, and zodiac signs, for a whopping total of 130 different Mini styles. And those don’t even include choices such as silver or 14k gold, or with or without a diamond. “The options are just endless,” she says.
The Mini studs are sold in pairs, and all are the same price in each metal, making it easier for retailers to sell them. Pairs retail for $298 in 14k gold and $118 in sterling silver.
“Because Minis are fun, whimsical, and a lower price point, it’s a great way for me to test new styles,” observes Woo.
No buy-in exists just for the Mini studs; you have to buy into the whole line. Buy-in for her entire line—including the studs—starts at a commitment of a three-foot case in store. “The Minis were designed to supplement my entire collection,” she says.
At Couture, some thought the earrings were made for kids and not for the young, hip (millennial?) customer who wants to buy them.
“There is training involved to explain how the Minis work,” says Woo. “The Mini studs are a conversation starter and a way to engage customers, but you need the staff trained to do it.”
Some merchants did add them to orders, but it was because they wanted matching pairs—not to mix and match styles. Fortunately, a store from Russia did place an order for them as Woo intended them to be marketed: in mixed pairs.
“The store loved them and bought them all because they understood that they were a fun, affordable trend item,” adds Woo. “Most of our U.S. stores are more traditional. Mix and Match Minis can make your story more special.”
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