Every Thursday during the pandemic, we’re checking in on members of the jewelry trade in an attempt to glean shareable tips and tricks for doing business—and living as well as possible—during the COVID-19 crisis.
Today we hear from Los Angeles–based fine jewelry designer Nancy Newberg.
JCK: Hi, Nancy! Where are you right now?
Nancy Newberg: In Los Angeles. I live with my husband; son, Nick; and our two dogs, Owen and Ollie.
How are you personally doing a year into the COVID-19 crisis?
I’ve definitely settled into a new normal, and I must confess that I don’t mind the slower pace. My work keeps me busy during the day, but my weekends and evenings are definitely not booked up like they were in the past. I’m enjoying my time at home and the simple pleasure of dinner by the fire, or watching a good movie in bed.
I see you’ve been traveling! Where have you been and how are you able to travel safely during the pandemic?
When COVID-19 hit, we took a few road trips that were really fun. We went to Santa Barbara, Marin, and Napa [all in California] and one time as far as Arizona. Once my husband and I found out we had our COVID-19 antibodies (we both had mild cases in August), we became braver and began exploring Mexico. We take all safety precautions and like to stay in remote locations where very few travelers go.
How has business been during the pandemic—and how has the pandemic changed your plans for your brand and your life?
I have a home studio, which I’m grateful for. It’s a pretty peaceful space and I feel lucky to have such a great work-from-home setup, especially now. In terms of my brand, I’m definitely promoting and designing pieces that are more casual and wearable every day. Dressy jewelry is just not on anyone’s radar right now.
How are sales, and how have they been throughout the pandemic?
Sales have definitely been on the rise since the pandemic began. My customers are ready to shop, and jewelry seems to be what they’re choosing to buy. Since clothing and other accessories such as handbags and shoes seem unnecessary at this moment in time, jewelry is taking the lead. A new piece of jewelry to add to your collection brings so much joy. I just love seeing my customers become so excited about a new purchase. We all need a bit of sparkle right now.
What’s the most popular style in your collection right now?
In the beginning of the pandemic, I was selling a lot of hoops and small earrings, which everyone was wearing on their Zoom meetings. Around the holidays, my chain necklaces and bracelets took the lead. Now it’s really all over the place. I think my customers just want something new and pretty.
How do you think the COVID-19 pandemic is changing consumer behaviors when it comes to jewelry retail?
It’s a challenge to shop in a store these days, and customers are definitely becoming more comfortable shopping for fine jewelry online. More of my sales are now coming through my website and Instagram.
What are you most looking forward to once the virus is under control?
Dancing, parties, and travel.
Any TV/movie/podcast/book recommendations you can share?
I’ve watched a ton, but a few that come to mind are: the Swedish series The Restaurant (three seasons are now available to stream); the French series Call My Agent!; The Undoing, with Nicole Kidman; and Servant on Apple TV+. I have been listening to The Daily, How I Built This, The Week in Art, and The BOF (Business of Fashion) podcasts.
Top: Jewelry designer Nancy Newberg in her studio (all photos courtesy of Nancy Newberg)
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