JCK Las Vegas: Hedda Schupak Talks Jewelry, Recession

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Trainer, consultant, and JCK Magazine editor at large, Hedda Schupak, talked about jewelers and the new consumer frugality on Thursday morning, May 28. Part of the JCKstyle, Where Fashion Meets Jewelry, track of seminars, Schupak conceded that while consumers are focusing on reducing their debt and spending ‘real’ versus perceived wealth, retailers still need to be prepared with the right product to engage participants in this fundamental market shift. 

For example, while value, understatement, and “smart shopper bragging rights,” according to Schupak, are currently in, what’s out is the logo as a status symbol, over-the-top anything, and, paying just for a name. 

“We’re not likely to see a return to rampant consumerism any time soon,” she added, with unemployment levels in mind. 

Research shows that consumers now want fewer but better-quality items. “Fine jewelry lives in that space,” she said. 

JCK Magazine editor at large, Hedda Schupak, talked about jewelers and the new consumer frugality.
Hedda Schupak talked about jewelers and the new consumer frugality on Thursday as part of the JCKstyle, Where Fashion Meets Jewelry, track of seminars.

Key words like ‘lasting’, ‘eternal’, and ‘forever’ resonate with jewelers who sell on emotion, but a healthy dose of terminology from the fashion world—“it,” “now,” and “this season it’s all about the [fill in the blank]”—would serve industry well.

“Cosmetics is all about selling hope, and fashion is all about selling fantasy,” said Schupak. “While the rational mind says you’re not going to become one of the people in the [lifestyle] ad, a tiny part of you thinks that somehow something exciting would happen as the result of a purchase.” 

For jewelers, this could mean adding costume jewels and more bridge items with lower prices and trendier styles to store mixes, and, encouraging jewelry makeover events. After all, jewelers are competing with handbags, sunglasses, and high-end coffee makers in fashion’s sweet spot—the $300-$1,500 range. 

“The diamond may be forever but the setting doesn’t have to be,” she added.