Buy My Line aims to give jewelry designers insight into how they can possibly place their work in stores and acquire new wholesale accounts.
Purveyors of traditional silver and gold styles can connect with Alvaro Espinoza of Gertsch & Molina in Managua, Nicaragua, for possible cash (that’s right, no memo) sales of jewelry. To learn more, read on.
JCK: Tell me about you and your store. For how many years have you been in business, and what is your specialty?
Alvaro Espinoza: I am a third-generation member of a family business in Nicaragua. I have taken GIA courses online and recently earned my Diamond certificate. Nicaraguans have lots of ties to the States and American culture, and fashion and jewelry trends always come to Central America a little later.
My store has been in business since 1945, when my Nicaraguan aunt married a Swiss man and they started selling watches. We are dealing with change inside my store now and have a huge window of possibilities. We want to move into bridal and diamonds—which is why I’m studying at GIA, so we can have knowledge about diamonds and the differences between simulants. We also have a watch and jewelry workshop in which we complete repairs, settings, and soldering on a small scale, by appointment.
JCK: Describe your typical customer.
Espinoza: She is a lady between 35 and 45 years old, an executive with a high income. She always wants to know what is new or in trade, and because I’m always looking at Vogue or JCK, she asks for advice to design pieces, such as jewelry she wants to change that has been inherited from a grandmother.
JCK: What lines or brands do you carry?
Espinoza: In jewelry, I don’t carry brands like Pandora, but carry Stuller and buy from wholesale exchanges in Miami and Los Angeles. We went to JCK for the first time last year, though, and bought jewelry from Charming Silver, which is our biggest jewelry line right now. We have watches from Rolex, Raymond Weil, and Charriol and are in negotiations to have Omega back.
JCK: What shows do you attend to find new jewelry lines to carry in your store?
Espinoza: I didn’t used to go to shows until I went to JCK last year. My mother went to the first two days and called me saying “You have to come!” We are planning to attend again. We typically go to downtown Miami to buy little medals (Nicaragua is a Catholic country), baby earrings, and engagement rings. But we want to be more efficient, that’s we buy from Stuller.
JCK: What are your criteria for picking up a new jewelry line?
Espinoza: The first thing is the price, because I know exactly how much my customer will pay for something. If I get a good price, then I will bring the line with me and offer it here. The second is the design. I look for very traditional, mainstream—like pearls with diamond halos or jackets—jewelry lines. With Stuller, I have the chains and diamond studs, but I need entry-level pieces that are not that expensive. Women in my country are always looking for something new but can’t afford to buy diamond rings every month. They can afford to buy silver with rhodium, though.
JCK: What is your stance on memo—do you use it and if so, how?
Espinoza: Because I am outside the States, I have to pay duty—even if you just send me some catalogs. So, I work on cash or credit only and buy outright.
JCK: What types of lines are you currently looking to place in your store?
Espinoza: I want what I have in Charming Silver but in gold—pieces that are not too expensive but with colored stones. I want to find nice pieces with entry-level prices and colored stones—aquamarines or emeralds in middle- to-lower-end prices. But maybe I need to find heart shapes now because Valentine’s Day is coming.
JCK: What is important for designers to know about your store before approaching you for business?
Espinoza: I’m looking for quality pieces at fair prices.
JCK: What is the best way for jewelry designers to connect with you for pitches and inquiries?
Espinoza: Email me at email@example.com or call me at 011-505-2277-3774. Send me a catalog. I’m willing to look.
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