JCK Show: Approach fine jewelry from a fashion mindset

The jeweler who approaches fine jewelry as a part of the larger fashion industry has a more successful business and is better prepared for the future of his business, according to JCK fashion editor Carrie Soucy.

“I say that with confidence because of one important factor: women,” Soucy said. Research has shown that women are making a majority of fine-jewelry purchases and that women are approaching these purchases largely as a fashion accessory.

That shift has affected not only fine jewelry but also other retail categories. Many retail jewelers, however, are not recognizing the change. “If women are not a large part of your business, the question is not, `Why isn’t this happening in my community?’ because it is,” Soucy said. “The question is, `How do I get these women into my store and capture their dollars dedicated to fashion purchases?’ “

Along with merchandising with a fashion consciousness, jewelers must look at everything from sales techniques to marketing to display. The ultimate goal is to become a fashion consultant to your customers.

Every jewelry salesperson should be able to have conversations with customers about fashion, and those conversations should include both major designer collections and local trends. Reading consumer and trade magazines and shopping in a local mall or shopping area are the best resources, Soucy said.

Beyond merchandising, Soucy said fashion should be incorporated into a salesperson’s usual relationship-building techniques.

“Just as you learn a customer’s spouse’s name, her profession, and the names of her children, you should get to know her favorite stores, designers, colors, her personal style and her fashion role models,” she said.

To further serve that fashion-conscious customer, implement fashion in other aspects of the store, Soucy recommended. Ideas include fashion makeovers and setting up a special case to spotlight a specific trend.

“These things not only show yourself as being fashion savvy, but they also encourage customers to think of jewelry as a fashion item and create in them the desire to own more fine jewelry,” she said.