Angela Cummings, one of the country’s best-known jewelry designers, is closing her Manhattan office, paying off her staff and withdrawing all her diamond, gold, moonstone and enameled inventory, and closing down boutiques in her two main outlets, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, effective June 1, The New York Times reports.
Cummings told the Times that it was a combination of personal and business reasons that caused her to close her business, including the increasing difficulty of dealing with the retail chains.
“The way retailing is going these days—I don’t want to get negative—but the market is generally oversaturated with jewelry,” Cummings told the Times. “It’s very difficult for a small business, without big funding in back of us. It’s hard to keep coming up with new things when we pay for everything; so much was on consignment.”
By last week, Cummings, 58, who started with Tiffany’s in 1968 and formed her own business in 1984, owned 100% of the jewelry displayed in her 13 Neiman Marcus boutiques, partly by plan, and partly by circumstance. At Bergdorf Goodman, a representative told the Times that the company purchased Cummings’ jewelry outright, “but it’s no secret that the expensive jewelry business has been suffering in the last six months.”
Cummings’s company has been growing steadily nonetheless. The Times reports that sales were up 31% from last June to January, compared with a year earlier, according to company officials.
“We could have gone on for a couple of years,” Ms. Cummings reportedly said, “but why do it?”
Cummings said she will be moving to Utah where she is building a house, the Times reports. And she will continue to design jewelry for QVC, the cable shopping channel she has been working with since Jan. 31.
Her jewelry for QVC is very different from the $22,000 necklaces she designed for Bergdorf, the Times reports. First, she designs in silver, not gold. And second, she does not control the production, only the designs, which she will make at her new house in Utah, where she will live with her husband, Bruce, a gemologist and co-chairman of the business, and their teenage son.
Her first show was reportedly a smash. The channel gave her an hour, in which her staff sold several thousand pieces like the silver bracelets with nephrite jade hearts for $112 and wiry “Serendipity” bracelets for $121.75.
Her jewelry sold out in 50 minutes.