By Cynthia Sliwa
Our fellow JCKonline.com blogger Shanu Singh Guliani raises an interesting question – should retail jewelry sales associates call themselves fashion consultants? I offer my opinion.
What exactly is fashion? Fashion is not the same thing as taste or style. Fashion is about what’s currently in vogue (and in Vogue). Fashion is about trends which, in their briefest and most cynical incarnation, are fads that quickly become popular and then, just as quickly, become old hat. Fashion is about how celebrities are dressing today, generating public interest in their choices in apparel and accessories. Understanding fashion means grasping which trends have potential longevity and which are a mere flash in the pan.
Which celebrities, by their choices of accessories, have generated interest in black diamonds? In the color yellow? In bold chunks of turquoise? In earring designs that go up the side of the ear? In multiple bracelets worn together? In brooches worn creatively on an evening gown? In cluster earrings? In matched sets? Each of these questions should immediately bring celebrity images to mind. Are you able to talk knowledgeably about who is wearing what?
If an associate doesn’t regularly read fashion and celebrity-focused magazines (the more, the better!) and watch the major red carpet events, he or she should not represent to the public that he or she is a fashion expert or fashion consultant. Being exposed to a quick summary of trends every six months does not qualify one as a fashion expert – fashion changes far too frequently!
Even if fashion isn’t your thing, exposure to trend information even on a limited basis is better than nothing—it allows you to be at least somewhat conversant with overall trends in the world of fashion. Keep fashion magazines around the store and peruse them; notice how your inventory includes styles currently being featured and how jewelry you stock might be used creatively. Pay attention to what the celebrities are wearing. Dropping a name like Cameron Diaz and, better yet, showing a magazine photo or pulling up a web site image of her wearing just that style your customer is considering might snag you that sale.
Seize every opportunity to be knowledgeable about current fashion. Being able to talk to your customers about the latest trends gives you fashion credibility that will resonate with your fashion-conscious customers.