Each year we attempt to create the biggest, best, most awesome survey the jewelry industry has ever seen … and usually we fall just short. Not because of the quality of data – our survey edition won us a prestigious Neal award a few years back – but because we probably set the bar a little too high. We’d love to get 1,000 independent jewelers to answer, which in the world of business surveys is akin to the kind of results North Korea achieves with its presidential elections.
As anticipation grows for the February film release of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I’ve been thinking especially about all this bondage-y hand jewelry. Oh, c’mon, no one else has thought of midi-rings, palm cuffs, and knuckle rings in that way? Admittedly, the pieces are always dramatic and often exquisite, but sometimes they limit movement, no?
Anyone who has been working in the jewelry industry long enough has probably clocked a fair number of hours at trade shows. And whether it’s as a retailer or an exhibitor, sometimes it becomes far too easy to forget that roaming the aisles on the hunt for new designers to sell, or having a booth to show off a collection is the kind of insider access that many would envy. That’s why I’m always so excited to meet designers who are making their first appearance at a fine jewelry trade show. Their unabashed enthusiasm at getting the opportunity to show the work they’ve been fretting over to a wider audience makes it impossible to harbor a moment of seen-it-all ennui. I (and I suspect many of you) will have the chance to meet a new class of rookie exhibitors in the New Designer Gallery at the summer session of JA New York (July 27-29). Here’s a preview of whom you’ll meet. Get excited.
Acclaimed interior designer Bruce Brigham, whose projects included a makeover of Cartier stores worldwide, work on the storied Raffles Hotel in Singapore and a redesign of the Seattle Supersonics’ Courtside Club, died earlier this month. He was 63.
Whenever you hear of engagement rings with a non-diamond colored gem center, you (or I) typically think first of blue sapphire. It’s been that way at least since Charles gave Diana the now-iconic Garrard Jewelers ring, which William later gifted to Kate. Nonetheless, that was more than three decades ago—and I’m starting to think that ruby, the corundum’s red sister, is poised to topple blue sapphire’s reign.
One of the best parts of my job is when I get to give our fantastic team of editors and designers a pat on the back for a job well done. I’m pleased to do that once again upon hearing Wednesday’s news that INSTORE and INDESIGN have been honored six times in an international competition for trade publications.
Do you offer discounts to bridal shoppers ?
Paul Haig, owner of Haig's of Rochester Fine Jewelry & Objects of Art, in Rochester, MI, likes to think out of the box when it comes to event planning. He also has artists on staff who help him to both brainstorm and execute these grand plans.
For the store's 41st anniversary event on July 9, Haig rolled out not the traditional red carpet, but the yellow brick road for his guests when he chose a "Wizard of Oz" theme to introduce a new line of jewelry -- themed Oz charms from Angelica. It also happens to be a big anniversary for "The Wizard of Oz" -- its 75th.
Decorations included a lighted, flying witch -- a full-size mannequin riding a bicycle and mounted on the front exterior wall of his store. A polycarbonate tornado added to the drama. Angelica loaned Haig posters and other marketing materials for the event.
Inside, guests could hear "the voice of Oz" -- behind a curtain, of course -- and a soprano soloist sang "Over the Rainbow" for entertainment.
A yellow brick road scene was displayed in a window and painted on the sidewalk out back.
Haig and his staff invited 250 loyal customers to the event; about 150 people attended, including some curious passersby, who were welcomed in.
Rochester has a strong feeling of community among its downtown merchants, cultivated by a strong Downtown Development Association, which plans sidewalk sales and other regular events, including a Christmas parade and light show. Haig takes part in that, too, by displaying a Santa and reindeer on the front of his three-story building.
So neighboring businesses pitched in by bringing refreshments, offering a wine tasting and donating goods and services to the silent auction, which raised money for Rochester Area Neighborhood House. Attendees also brought tennis shoes and flip-flops to donate to Flip Flops for Families. "We love downtown Rochester, our customers, fellow merchants and the Greater Rochester community. I wouldn't have my store anywhere else in the world," Haig says.
Sales during the 41st anniversary event more than covered Haig's expenses, while also making a splash with new lines of jewelry.
Planning an event of your own?
"Start well in advance with planning," Haig says. "Set a complete schedule and hold people accountable. Have regular meetings beginning three months in advance and make sure the team is following through. Make it exciting, make it different, promote it on Facebook." And don't forget to follow up invitations with personal phone calls.
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What’s even better than beer at a jewelry event? A brand new, locally-brewed beer, introduced by the brewer herself. That was the hook for D&H Sustainable Jewelers’ event in their hometown of San Francisco. More than 50 people attended, and what I love about this event was that it was all about building community.
You’ve noticed, right? As arm parties continue in vogue, the most popular bangles are stick-thin. And look, before everyone goes all PC and reminds me that “size 2 is the new size 0” and all of that, the Size Zeroes I’m talking about are super-slim stack bracelets. Diameter, of course, doesn’t factor in—instead, it’s about the waif-thin width of the bracelet.