Keep your store filled with straight-from-the-runway jewels by training your eye—and listening to your clients
Many fine jewelers are squeamish about stocking trendy styles. Trends, by nature, flame out—so investing in any “hot” look comes with a degree of risk. But adding a smattering of trendy pieces to a collection of largely classic styles can, when executed smartly, increase your brand’s consumer reach and boost your bottom line.
Amanda Gizzi, director of public relations and special events for Jewelers of America, says she feels jewelers are “missing out” by ignoring trends. “The whole idea of carrying trends is to break away from what I call ‘occasion buying’ in jewelry, and attract seasonal fashion shoppers.”
Because chasing every trend that drifts into vogue is not a great strategy, we asked Gizzi to share her tips for how retailers can filter out the noise to find the ones that suit their stores.
Become a Trend Watcher
To stock trends wisely, choose thoughtfully. And if your buying eye isn’t educated on existing and emerging trends, you run the risk of buying styles that lack longevity. Following the major fashion events—e.g., the Met Gala, international fashion weeks, the Oscars and the Golden Globes—is a good place to start, says Gizzi, who also suggests perusing the annual Trendbook from Trendvision Jewellery + Forecasting.
Retailers can also cobble together a compendium of trends for free by following major style influencers on Instagram and Snapchat. Think cutting-edge jewelry and fashion houses (@repossi, @anniecostellobrown), forward-thinking retailers (@maxfieldla, @tenoversix), stylists (@brandonmaxwell, @erinwalshnyc), trend-setting celebrities (@beyonce, @badgalriri), and media outlets (@jckmagazine, @theadventurine).
Attending trade shows—and talking to new and existing vendors about trends at events—will also help keep your fashion eye razor-sharp. Just don’t let yourself be sold on an out-there trend at a show if it’s not right for your store. Analyze the zeitgeist, canvass your clientele, and trust your gut.
Target Your Audience
When choosing trends to carry, think about the demographic you want to attract. “That doesn’t even have to be your current clientele,” says Gizzi. Are you trying to bring in a younger demographic? “Consider that you will have to market to that demographic, around that trend. With all trends, they’re not going to sell themselves.”
She also recommends choosing trends at various price points: “You’re going to want to have that $100 to $200 price point and go up from there.”
Posting photos of styles you’re considering on social media is a great way to test the waters with your social followers.
If you’re really unsure of how a trend is going to sell in your store, call on a trusted vendor to stock a single piece—an ear climber or a choker, for example. And Gizzi suggests literally going small on the style you initially stock. Choose a small ear climber or an unembellished choker over a full ear cuff or a choker dripping with pendants. Create marketing around the style and—if it takes off with your clients—order slightly bigger/bolder iterations next time.
Don’t Fall for Hype
Hunt down trends that are hip and cool, but aren’t so edgy they’ll fade away in six months. Also, aim for styles that will fit and flatter a wide range of women. For the upcoming holiday season, Gizzi is loving open-cuff bracelets and open-collar necklaces: “They’re great looks for retailers because of the flexibility of the sizing.”
She also likes “a modified ear climber—the ones that go slightly up the ear, but not in a big way,” adding that the style is “low-risk for retailers because things like ear shape don’t come into play.”
Gizzi predicts that personalized jewelry, featuring “little sayings in different languages,” will be another trend with legs—for this year and beyond.
Top: Letter A cuff in a proprietary 18k gold–plated silver; $395; W. Britt, NYC; 201-450-2211; wbritt.com