Supplier News

Pulsar Begins ‘Retail Push’

In a major overhaul of its merchandising strategy, Pulsar has substantially boosted ad support for retail jewelry clients, expanded its promotional wares, added state-of-the-art collections to its core, and strengthened its three-year warranty to cover virtually everything inside and outside a watch. Effective June 1, the changes constitute “a very vigorous retail push” to build sales for Pulsar and profits for its jewelry retail clients, says an official of Mahwah, N.J.-based Seiko Corp. of America (SCA), Pulsar’s parent.

SCA introduced Pulsar to the U.S. market in 1979. Since then the brand has done well for its primary customers, retail jewelers and jewelry departments of department stores. But, says SCA president Tsutomu Mitome, “In today’s fiercely competitive watch market, Pulsar has not been doing as good as I expect it should.” About a year ago, he directed his management team to evaluate what consumers and retailers expect from the brand.

They came back with a savvy marketing plan to give new vitality to Pulsar by raising its profile in local markets and offering stylish, moderately priced watches that should build sales momentum. “We’re going to make Pulsar into an irresistible attraction for consumers and jewelry retailers based on a clear and compelling concept: ‘The styles you want most, at the prices you like best,’ ” says Mitome.

The strategic changes, adds Rick Birnbaum, senior vice president of sales, also “create a clearer rationale for our retailers to carry both Seiko and Pulsar watches by focusing on the different roles each plays in a jewelry store and how they support each other.”

The revamped strategy strengthens Pulsar’s retail price core ($50 to $150) with new bracelet timepieces in its successful $60 promotional category and adds two new promotional price points—new sport watches at $70 and chronographs (including several diamond bezel models) at $100. A new 44-piece counter display supports Pulsar’s promotional business.

There are two new lines priced over $100. The EuroStyle Collection ($145) features timepieces with what Pulsar calls “European fashion flair.” And the “Nightfall” series ($140 to $275) offers watches with satiny black or gray TiCN plating (titanium, carbon, nitrade compound) that run on Seiko Kinetic or Pulsar Solar technology. Highlights of the collections include thin-caliber solar-powered ladies’ jewelry watches ($195 to $250), fashion bangle watches ($110 to $145), and several traditionally styled ladies’ watches ($99 to $145).

Supporting the watches is a major change that adds millions of dollars overall to local jewelers’ advertising. Pulsar is shifting all its consumer ad dollars to its retailers, increasing opportunities for them to generate more sales immediately in their markets. “We’re putting our money behind our retailers who sell the brands instead of in front of them [in national TV or print advertising],” says Cheri McKenzie, SCA senior vice president of advertising.

Specifically, Pulsar is:

  • Boosting the accrual percentage of its co-op advertising program from 4% to 6%.

  • Including sales of promotional goods (previously excluded) in co-op accruals. All Pulsar products will now earn accrual dollars toward co-op advertising.

  • Giving full reimbursement to retailers on all Pulsar newspaper, magazine, and TV media costs, doubling its previous 50% commitment.

  • Offering jewelers participation in a four-page Pulsar-only newspaper insert program (featuring its top styles, values, and promotional products) this Thanksgiving.

Stronger warranty. To enhance after-sale value, Pulsar has expanded its three-year warranty to cover everything inside and outside its watches. (Many warranties are less than three years and are limited to a watch’s inner workings.) The stronger guarantee “is a major selling point in closing a sale and another example of how we’ve shifted focus to make the brand easier to sell,” says Birnbaum.

The new products, ad strategy, and warranty are being presented this month to jewelry retailers. While intended to build in-store sales (Seiko expects double-digit growth in many stores), SCA believes the new program will also attract new jewelry outlets for Pulsar.

For information, contact Seiko Corp. of America, 1111 MacArthur Blvd., Mahwah, NJ 07430; (201) 529-5730.—William George Shuster

NEW COMPANY SPECIALIZES IN IMPRINTED GEMSTONES

Kingstone Gem Importers and Evvan Importers Inc. have joined forces to create XXIst Century Logo. The New York-based company specializes in imprinted gemstones and is targeting large manufacturers. Its process is patent pending.

Prints can be produced in 14k, 18k, 24k, or silver on almost any natural or synthetic stone. Any design can be printed, according to the company.

XXIst Century Logo, 10 W. 46th St., Suite 800, New York, NY 10036; (888) 866-5646 or (212) 221-9600, fax (212) 221-9444.

VIVANT CORP. ADDS SILVER COLLECTION

Vivant Corp. has added the Art Deco sterling silver collection by Elisabeth Koller. The collection features re-created wearable works of art.

The collection, based on art deco styles, incorporates sterling silver with lapis, malachite, carnelian, onyx, and mother-of-pearl in a variety of brooches, necklaces, and earrings.

Vivant Corp., 11 Melanie Lane, Unit 24A, East Hanover, NJ 07936; (888) 2-VIVANT or (973) 428-8824, fax (973) 428-8827.

DANGLER STUDIOS IS NEW GROUP D NAME

Group D Inc. is now doing business as Dangler Studios. Principals Paul and Mary Lou Dangler have worked in the jewelry industry for many years. Award-winning designer Paul Dangler has created a new line available only through Dangler Studios.

New products include sculptured gold link bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Calibrated as well as one-of-a-kind and South Seas pearl jewelry are featured. The Bella Blanco collection consists of bracelets and earrings in sterling silver with 14k yellow gold trim.

Dangler Studios, 2035 Bahia Vista, Sarasota, FL 34239; (888) DANGLER, fax (941) 957-4948.

Swiss Army Brands Inc. is launching a mobile marketing campaign, the “Equipped Tour.” Two 18-ft. promotional trailers, each outfitted with a giant Victorinox Original Swiss Army Knife, will travel 21,000 miles over seven months, stopping at urban centers and “recreational hot spots,” where representatives will distribute information and showcase products. In partnership with National Geographic Adventure and Outward Bound, the company is inaugurating the Swiss Army Equipped Awards, which will recognize “people who exhibit the resolve and leadership to see difficult tasks through.” Touring company representatives will seek out people who have proved to be “especially well-prepared to deal with a challenging situation.” Swiss Army Brands has donated $50,000 in Outward Bound Wilderness Scholarships to be given in the name of award recipients. Outward Bound conducts adventure-based programs for students that inspire self-esteem, self-reliance, concern for others, and respect for the environment.

GRANDO GIOIELLERIA PREMIERES COLLECTION

Grando Gioielleria is premiering a collection of couture platinum and 18k gold jewelry designed by award-winning designers Stefano and Nancy Grando at The JCK Show in Las Vegas this month.

Stefano Grando is a master couturier from Bassano del Grappo, Italy, who also has a collection of handmade, internationally patented designs.

Grando Gioielleria, 510 W. Sixth St., Suite 519, Los Angeles, CA 90014; (213) 629-3009, fax (213) 629-1621.

‘WHISTLE WATCHES’ PROMOTE KIDS’ SAFETY

KAL Kreations Inc. of San Rafael, Calif., has introduced the Whistle Watch, a children’s watch that also functions as a signaling device and therefore promotes safety.

The watches, which have a loud, ear-piercing whistle built into their flip-top faces, are available in pro baseball, basketball, and football styles as well as a variety of boys’ and girls’ character themes. The five-function digital quartz watches come with a long-life replaceable battery and a one-year warranty. A “Kid Safety Tips” booklet is included in the packaging. The suggested retail price is $6.99.

KAL Kreations Inc., 150 Bellam Blvd., Suite 235, San Rafael, CA 94901; (800) 287-9642 or (415) 456-3733, fax (415) 456-4969.

JP VENDÔME DEBUTS PARISIAN JEWELRY

JP Vendôme, formerly known as Vendôme International, is introducing a selection of fine, handmade jewelry from Ateliers Mathon of Paris to select high-end U.S. retailers.

The company, formed last year by former estate jewelry company owner Jeff Politis, plans to market a unique assortment of fine jewels from the renowned jewelry houses on Paris’s Place Vendôme and Rue de la Paix to specialty retailers of luxury goods. The Mathon collection is its first offering.

The collection consists of 45 pieces in platinum and 18k white and yellow gold. Materials include chalcedony, mother-of-pearl, onyx, and lapis. Suggested retail prices begin at $3,500.

JP Vendôme, 259 W. 10th St., Suite 3C, New York, NY 10014; (212) 647-8419, fax (212) 647-0792.