Mr. Henderson Presents
Lecil Henderson doesn’t take no for an answer. Last year alone, he persuaded retailers to host 90 trunk shows for his Italian-made flexible jewels.
His most recent convert is Gold Casters in Bloomington, Ind., a store that had recently picked up Henderson’s new silver and enamel line (starting retail: $450). Initially, owner Brad Lawrence balked at the designer’s suggestion: a midweek show in the blazing July heat. But it was tough to refuse Henderson’s offer: no outlay of cash. “Lecil expected nothing as far as expenses for travel, hotels, and meals,” says Lawrence.
Then there were gift boxes for Gold Casters’ top clients: sturdy white cardboard boxes containing a Henderson Collection catalog, a handwritten note from the designer, and a tube of sugar cookies from a Charlotte, N.C., bakery (Henderson’s hometown). “The gift box was powerful,” says Lawrence. Henderson ultimately mailed 53 boxes to area customers, at a cost of approximately $25 per box—an expense he absorbed. (Last year, he sent out 2,842 packages to clients—but who’s counting?)
Henderson Collection translucent enamel bracelets in silver with 18k gold accents with a bark finish and diamond accents; $2,800–$3,200
On the day of the show, Gold Casters cleared out a four-and-a-half-foot case, which Henderson filled with 200 memo SKUs. He sold nine pieces, ranging from $1,250 7 mm–wide black enamel and diamond hoop earrings to a $4,850 enamel and diamond 12 mm bangle. (The latter went to an Indiana University fan who’ll wear the Hoosier-red bracelet to home football games.) Twenty-three customers attended, and one who couldn’t came in a week later and bought $25,000 worth of jewelry. “Her husband felt bad that they were away,” says Henderson. “So when she couldn’t decide between three pieces, he told her to get all of them.”
Customers like the line’s versatility: There are 36 colors of translucent enamel and 12 opaque enamel hues, plus three finishes (bark, smooth, and quilt); all can be mixed, matched, and customized in widths from 6 mm to 12 mm. It was Henderson’s mom who initially coached him about making pieces for women of all sizes. “Customers love that he listened to his mother,” says Lawrence. Well, who can resist a mama’s boy?