In November, Lisa Bridge became president and chief operating officer of Ben Bridge Jeweler. She is the fifth generation of her family to work at the jeweler. (Her father, Ed, formerly co-CEO, is now sole CEO and chairman. Her uncle Jonathan, formerly co-CEO, has retired.) Here, she talks about how her fellow millennials view jewelry, issues at malls, and where she wants to take the company.
In what direction do you want to take the business?
We did a branding study and engaged a new marketing firm, and we want to get down to what is unique about Ben Bridge. We found out that our customers love us. But we also found that customers don’t recognize the difference between jewelers. There is a tremendous opportunity to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.
As a millennial, what do you think of how your peers view jewelry?
The desire for jewelry has been around for thousands of years and will continue to be around. We need to make sure that we are evolving to meet consumer needs and to tell our story as an industry. I have a lot of friends who got married this year, and every one of them got an engagement ring. Every one of them wanted that symbol of love and forever. Maybe that engagement ring looked a little different from years ago.
Your stores are mostly in malls. How have you found traffic, given all the issues with malls we are hearing about?
It very much depends on the center. The top centers are continuing to draw customers, and they make it an experience. So we’re seeing strength from those top shopping centers. The ones that are lower are more challenging. Those are where people haven’t invested and haven’t made it unique or an experience. As a relationship business, we have to be drawing in our customers and do a better job of bringing in people on our own.
Top: Lisa Bridge Collection Hawaii pendant with rhodochrosite and emeralds in sterling silver, $599; Lisa Bridge Hawaii earrings with peridot, amethyst, and emerald in sterling silver, $279; Lisa Bridge Santorini ring with lapis and mother-of-pearl in sterling silver, $199