Cynthia: On with our earrings discussion started earlier this week. How would you, acting as a retail jeweler, decide if a certain style of earrings works on a particular customer?
Caroline: I have good instincts. I have a strong sense of aesthetics. I can generally tell if a pair works or not, although I’m just learning the actual image consulting principles behind my gut feelings.
Cynthia: And how would you explain that to the customer?
Caroline: If it’s someone who has asked for assistance, I’ll give them my opinion. It could be as easy as “Those look great!” or “Those look nice, but try these; they may work a bit better; let’s see.”
Cynthia: If I’m selling jewelry and think a particular item looks good, I’ll comment that the texture goes well with her hair, or the color brings out her eyes, or the shape is reminiscent of her nose. I’ll try to relate the jewelry to the woman. I look at the features of her face and use them as points of reference.
Caroline: You sell jewelry in a different way – like an image consultant would. You have a different skill set and you notice different – helpful – things. Of course with my background, I look at it as a former retailer. I am learning new things! I seem to remember that finding jewelry that relates to part of a face or body shape is classified as repetition and reminiscence, two image consulting principles.
Cynthia: That’s right. If you mention her nose and the customer comments that she never liked her nose, move on to another feature! Repetition means using a design of the same shape and size as a particular feature to draw attention to it. Reminiscence means using a similar shape but in a different size, so that it subtly relates to the customer’s feature and flatters her by being in harmony with the feature. The concept of reminiscence can be used relative to the overall face shape of the customer too.
Caroline: Well you’d certainly want to avoid highlighting a feature she didn’t like! What wording would you use? Obviously you’re not going to ask someone if they want earrings that resemble their nose or mouth, etc.
Cynthia: I wouldn’t ask; I would just listen carefully to the customer’s remarks. As the customer tried earrings on, I would point out when they brought attention to a particular feature. Maybe strong lines bring additional emphasis to her strong horizontal eyebrows, for instance. If she comments that her eyebrows are her favorite feature, you’ll know what design feature of her face to bring out with choices in jewelry.
Caroline: I don’t think I’d even see that connection! I will have to retrain my eyes.
Cynthia: It is a learned skill, but anyone can pick it up. When something you have a customer try on brings attention to one of her features in a good way, wouldn’t you mention that? For instance: See how these earrings bring out your dimples. The texture of these wavy earrings is gorgeous with your hair. The sapphires really bring out the color of your eyes.
Caroline: I’m not sure I’d notice right away if something brought out someone’s dimples or even was a similar texture to her hair. Nowcolors, that I can work with; I’m used to that! And I think, now that we’ve been discussing it, that I could look at textures on earrings and see if they match someone’s hair. I think you’d be great at selling earrings!
Cynthia: lol — you bet!
You can tell a lot about what jewelry might work for someone by using the principles of Repetition and Reminiscence.
Repetition means using a design of the same shape and size as a particular feature to draw attention to it. For instance, chandelier earrings may be a close match in size and shape to the customer’s nose.
Reminiscence means similar shape but different size to subtly refer to a feature and create harmony with it. Reminiscence is a concept that can relate to the face shape of the customer too. For instance, square-shaped earrings or earrings with lots of straight lines may bring out the angularity of a square face.
Get into the habit of looking at your customer’s face and hair in terms of shapes, colors and textures. Colors are easiest: what matches her eyes or even the nail polish she always wears gives you a great starting point. Texture will work also; someone with glossy hair might enjoy shiny earrings; someone with natural body and curl might enjoy a pair of earrings with a Florentine finish or a design with lots of curves.
Practice! Use your fellow sales people as guinea pigs; not the customers!