The Jewelry District, Episode 61: Holiday Sales, Ben Bridge, Pandora, Robbins Brothers, and Tucson


You’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk about Ben Bridge and Pandora, the Tucson shows, and predictions for 2022.

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Show Notes
00:30 Victoria and Rob talk about how 2021 was a good year for the jewelry industry.
09:15 Seattle-based Ben Bridge is divesting from Pandora, and Rob explains what that means for the franchise.
13:16 Rob and Victoria discuss where the ownership of Robbins Brothers, another West Coast company, lies.
17:16 Victoria is excited to go to the Tucson gem shows.
21:35 Victoria recounts the article in which she interviewed 22 people about their predictions for the jewelry and watch industry in 2022.

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

Show Recap

Sparkling Sales
After talking about how the pandemic is going, Victoria mentions a 2021 “December to Remember” email she got from Abe Sherman, CEO of the Buyers Intelligence Group, reviewing just how good jewelry sales were across the industry. Rob and Victoria marvel over how successful the jewelry industry has been and how the jewelry market is potentially bigger than anyone expected. The question remains: How do we make this last?

Ben Bridge and Pandora
Rob talks about Ben Bridge’s decision to sell its 37 Pandora franchise stores back to Pandora. These 37 stores comprise most of the Pandora stores on the West Coast. Pandora has gone back and forth between wanting to control its own stores and letting other brands control its sales. Rob then explores how he thinks Ben Bridge might grow in the future.

Robbins Brothers
Rob briefly talks about another West Coast jeweler, Robbins Brothers, a 15-store chain owned by private equity investors, which has put together a new management-led buyout.

The Tucson Gem Shows
Victoria is going to Tucson for the gem shows! Centurion is opening at a new location this month. She spoke to Howard Hauben, the organizer of Centurion, and he says they’re moving full steam ahead. The Tucson shows are as well. Victoria notes there will be supply constraints and prices rising on quality goods. The pearl market is also constrained due to the lack of harvest. A piece of advice? If you like something, buy it. Prices are expected to rise, so you’re going to want to grab what you can while you can.

2022 Predictions
Rob is hopeful that in March we’ll be able to have a nice 24 Karat Weekend. Victoria notes the Gem Awards have a really great roster as well. Thinking about this year and what to expect, Victoria recalls her article interviewing 22 people across the jewelry industry asking the question: “What is your boldest prediction for the jewelry and watch industry in 2022?” She says their answers were mostly positive, but there was a belief that people would be judged by their actions, meaning that you can no longer just boast about your values. You now must show how your business is aligning with them.

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