Reaching Out To Jewelry’s Other Half

By Charles Bond

Five years ago, when JCK first went into show business, most of us on the magazine felt we had a fairly good handle on the jewelry industry even if we knew we were newcomers to the exhibit hall. But one of the first things we learned from our show experience was that there’s a whole segment of jewelry retailing about which we didn’t know as much as we should ­ namely the department and mass-merchant stores which sell jewelry as only one of many different products.

This isn’t to say we were unfamiliar with firms such as Neiman Marcus or JC Penney or Service Merchandise and their role in the jewelry industry. But, to be honest, we did not fully understand the big role they play. Today, thanks to learning much more about them and similar operations through our Las Vegas show, we have a greater understanding of their role and of their information needs.

These major stores represent a huge force in jewelry retailing. Some jewelers don’t like this and they scorn these mass sellers. They deride the quality and variety of product they offer and accuse them of misrepresentation in pricing and advertising. But the fact is these non-traditional jewelers are here to stay, many of them are honorable if tough marketers and the industry as a whole must learn to accept them.

JCK views these retailers, many of them relatively new to the jewelry field or expanding an existing role, as important industry players. We realize that their information needs often are quite different from those of the independent or small-chain jeweler. To help meet these needs, this month we are launching a new publication, a 26-time-a-year newsletter called JCK’s High Volume Jeweler.

Late last year we hired Glen Beres to be editor of this new venture. Glen built a strong reputation covering this end of the industry for National Jeweler and then spent some time on another magazine for high-volume retailers before joining us. As his assistant, he has Alisa Bland who joined us early this year after gaining her industry experience in sales with Tiffany & Co. They’ve been busy building a correspondent network across the U.S. and overseas and working on the content and format of their newsletter, which will be transmitted to subscribers by fax or e-mail. The samples I’ve seen look really great.

We know, of course, that a lot of the non-traditional jewelry retailers subscribe to JCK. Much of its content applies to their business. Similarly we expect many jewelers may subscribe to HVJ. Not only will it offer them timely and useful information but it also will help them keep abreast of what interests and motivates their jewelry colleagues at Penney, Sears and Wal-Mart.