The Jewelry District, Episode 56: Sustainability and Holiday Marketing


In This Episode
You’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk about sustainability in the industry, holiday predictions, and a new De Beers ad campaign.

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Show Notes
00:30 As the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference continues, Rob and Victoria discuss sustainability.
07:40 Victoria relays key points from her conversation with an industrial ecologist on sustainability practices.
13:35 According to the industrial ecologist, recycled materials aren’t always the answer.
19:50 Rob talks about the the National Retail Federation’s holiday season predictions.
22:50 De Beers has a new holiday marketing campaign.

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet
Plugs: jckonline.com@jckmagazine

Show Recap

Purpose-Led vs. Money-Led
Victoria and Rob discuss Halloween and all of its disposable decorations as a segue into their conversation about sustainability in the jewelry industry. Sustainability is rightfully on everyone’s mind as U.N. leaders meet in Glasgow, Scotland, for the Climate Change Conference. Rob says so many brands are now saying they’re purpose-led rather than money-led. Sustainability of jewelry is now one of those things that is nearly as important as design and price these days. How sustainable someone is has also become a sort of status symbol.

The Biggest Environmental Suck
Victoria mentions Cartier and Kering, who have teamed up in partnership with the Responsible Jewellery Council, announcing their watch and jewelry initiative to be sustainable by 2030. She also discusses research she did asking people in the watch industry how they’re being more sustainable—with answers from changing their packaging to moving away from relying on animal agriculture for their watch bands. However, you’ll also hear about her conversation with an industrial ecologist, and he gave a completely different answer on the worst, most unsustainable practice.

Why Recycling Isn’t Always The Answer
Sustainability is one of those things that should be frightening to everyone since it will affect everyone for decades to come. Victoria mentions the circular economy and to explain its complexity brings up that there’s a kind of recycled steel that some in the jewelry industry wanted to use just because of its recycled nature. The industrial ecologist she spoke to says that if people are using this special steel to make jewelry when they can  just use regular steel, they’re actually taking this valuable resource away from places where it would bring more benefit. Rob says at the end of the day, the real solution is to buy less stuff—an impossible task in a materialistic world.

Predications for the Holiday Season
Victoria and Rob pivot to discussing the upcoming holiday season. The National Retail Federation predicts that retail sales will increase 8.5%–10.5% over last year. They question what might be causing this predicted boom in sales. Rob thinks people aren’t spending as much on clothes because people aren’t going out as much, and they aren’t traveling as much as we thought they would be at this point either. Rob says he believes this holiday will be another one focused on sentimental themes.

De Beers And Its 2021 Holiday Campaign
The new De Beers holiday campaign is built around the phrase “I do,” something you traditionally say at weddings to express your commitment. But for De Beers, “I do” is something they’d like to enlarge—to your commitments to the earth, to family, to friends, and to your values. As marriage isn’t necessarily a cultural imperative for people anymore, companies have to find a new ways to take these old-fashioned concepts and adapt them for a new generation. Victoria wonders if other companies will follow with something similar to De Beers’ marketing strategy.

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