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 Katerina Perez, jewelry industry consultant and founder of the popular Katerina Perez website and Instagram.
JCK: Where are you based right now?
Katerina Perez: I have spent the last year in Paris with my husband and son in our apartment here. I haven’t had a chance to explore much of the city, but at least I see the Eiffel Tower through my windows.
How are you managing life in the pandemic?
I think being super busy with my work and family helps me get through everything we’re experiencing. But I will never forget the full lockdown, when the three of us were stuck in the flat 24/7. I think the shock of it was mostly due to how life radically changed in three days. Me, a jet-setter entrepreneur turned into a full-time nanny, cleaner, and cook within a couple of days.
How has COVID changed or altered your business and work life?
I finally had time to dedicate to the development and launch of my first online course, How to Sell Jewellery on Instagram. The hardest part is not seeing jewelry in the quantities I used to, and the [lack of] exhibitions where I used to meet not just colleagues but jewelry professionals who became my friends but who live far away from me. Who knows when I shall see them next.
Have there been any silver linings during this tricky time for you?
The amount of time I can finally spend with my family. With the nature of my work, I had to travel three times a month—and now I spend much more time with my son, who is obviously super happy about it.
Have you seen more engagement online since the pandemic began, and do you feel people have been engaging with your content in different ways recently?
To be honest, I have always had a steady growth on both my website and social media, so there hasn’t been a huge spike of new followers or readers. The only difference was at the beginning of the pandemic, when there were more people watching livestreams than usual. But this novelty for some became routine, and the unexpectedly high numbers dropped.
Is teaching courses a new part of your business?
For a number of years, I’ve been consulting with designers and brands on their social media strategy. Because of my busy schedule, I could never find enough time to put my knowledge and experience into a structured course. All this became possible only during COVID-19, and I’m so happy that I did it because now so many jewelers can benefit from all I’ve learned and practiced over the years. I believe I was a teacher in my past life as I absolutely love teaching, and am hoping to launch more courses in the future.
What do you see companies doing on Instagram that makes you scratch (or slap) your forehead?
What I see quite often is jewelers posting pictures without having a structure in their feed and stories, and a strategy. You must define a goal, understand what makes you different from other jewelers, and what value you can offer to your followers. You must know your strong points and showcase them on Instagram. Simply sharing pictures of your jewelry, no matter how beautiful it is, will not bring the desired number of sales—as Instagram is not a marketplace, at least not yet. So you have to have a certain strategy to encourage sales, and this is what I teach in the course.
What lessons would you say the pandemic has taught you—in business or as a person in the world?
I learned how important it is to quickly adapt to changes, how we must be strong enough to stay positive even during the hard times. And that we must support and take care of each other—as well as our planet—and be more mindful.
What have you been doing to relax and have fun during this time?
Watching films! I’m a big fan of cinema, as it allows you to immerse yourself in a different world for a few hours, forget about everything happening with you at that moment. I also love puzzles! I never have time for them but I have put together a beautiful view of Dubai at night; it’s the city I’d love to visit one day.
Have any book/podcast/TV/movie recommendations?
Oh, the one book that I couldn’t stop reading during the pandemic was The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire by Francesca Cartier Brickell. It’s beautifully written and reads more like a family adventure, with lots of information about the style, culture, and etiquette of those times.
Top: Katerina Perez at home in Paris (all photos courtesy of Katerina Perez)
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