JCK Show: How to build a core designer jewelry business

At a Thursday seminar titled “Designer Jewelry as a Core Business,” Marilyn and Scott Rudd, owners of Scheherazade in Edina, Minn., shared the following tips for those just starting to dabble in designer jewelry. They are:

* Select a designer with styling that is out of the ordinary.

* Target better quality. Don’t take quality for granted. Inspect a few pieces with a loupe and remember that designer quality should be better than average quality.

* Look for two-way relationships. Designers should be willing to share advertising and branding expenses.

* Expect a strong marketing program.

* Don’t base your entire business on designers. The most successful mix should have designers at the hub, complemented by nondesigner brands and custom work.

* Have a clear understanding of a designer’s brand identity. Know who else carries the designer and whom the designer is aspiring to sell to.

* Ask if the designer is selling online.

* Look for exclusivity. Designers with limited production and distribution offer more exclusive jewelry.

* Understand designer culture. Working with designers is often much different from dealing with large companies. The jewelry they offer is highly creative, and so are their personalities.