‘Girl Power’ builds profits

Female self-purchasers are increasingly important and influential consumers and should be actively courted by jewelers, said fashion industry expert Carrie Soucy, fashion editor of Jewelers’ Circular Keystone magazine, in her “Fashion Facets” seminar on Thursday afternoon.

“Can you, as a jeweler, relate to the ‘girl power’ of your women consumers,” she asked her audience. Soucy then offered several ways of doing so, using actual recent success stories of jewelers around the United States.

* Break down barriers. “Take a fashion trend in jewelry—such as the use of rubber, or steel and gold bracelets—and make it accessible” to women consumers, said Soucy. One store, for example, spotlights trendy jewelry by putting it into a self-serve display case, which lets women take out and try on items. “This approach really draws the women customers in,” said Soucy. “Women don’t respond well to high-pressure sales tactics,” she noted, “but we like to touch and feel jewelry.”
* Be a fashion consultant. “This is one of the best marketing ideas I’ve heard,” Soucy told her audience. “Talk to your women customers about the jewelry and fashion trends you see at the shows or celebrity jewelry trends. They want to know about them, and you’re the one to tell them.”
* Party girls. This highly successful sales approach is used by a jeweler in North Carolina. Six or eight times a year, she invites 15 or 20 female customers to a special “Girls’ Party” at the store and tells them to invite their friends, too. There are refreshments, and her salespeople are on hand to answer questions—“but there’s no sales pressure, at all,” said Soucy. “The women can try on anything in any display case that they want and ask their girl friends for their advice and opinions. This has been amazingly successful in terms of sales and word of mouth.”
* Compile a “look book.” “Keep a scrap book to show your customers the great examples of fashion and jewelry trends on the fashion runways that you see in the various lifestyle and jewelry trade magazines, like JCK,” said Soucy.
* Celebrity spotlight. “Today’s society is obsessed with what celebrities do. What they wear in jewelry, for example at the Academy Awards, definitely has an impact on what people want to wear. Use that in your business. For example, if you have long chandelier earrings in a display case, put photos with it of Nicole Kidman wearing that type of jewelry.”

In reference to some current jewelry trends, Soucy told her audience that she is “seeing warmer colors, drop silhouettes, and move toward bold, graphic design elements.”