Case Study: Elizabeth Gibson Eliza Page

Austin boutique owner discusses the virtues of levels, color and softness in displays.

BY TRACE SHELTON

Published in the July/August 2013 issue

Austin, tx

When Elizabeth Gibson launched her Austin, TV-based jewelry boutique, Eliza Page, she brought a keen sense of brand unity to the store build out, marketing, and even her displays. “I wanted to bring a different retail jewelry concept to market,” Gibson says. “Merchandising can be so creative. If you walk into other beautiful stores, they use levels, color, you can try things on, they’re accessible. I wanted to marry those best practices to a jewelry store.”

Customers love touching jewelry and trying it on. So, Gibson merchandises a long banquet table right down the center of the store with affordable costume jewelry. “It’s our highest volume producer because people can pick things up, try them on and take them to the cash register,” she says.

In terms of display, props and risers are interesting yet unobtrusive. “Everything is clean and simple, from the jewelry we carry to the store itself. It works for our brand and makes the jewelry stand out. You can’t make it too complicated with the displays, or the eye might lose what you’re trying to sell.”



CARDS

“As any jeweler knows, every piece has a story. Jewelry is art, so having the explanation about who made it and how they were inspired makes it a rich experience for the customer. Jewelry is handmade, and people like to know there’s a person behind it instead of a factory.”

WOOD AND HORN PROPS

“They’re simple and natural elements. Jewelry is hard and metallic, so we try to soften it up when appropriate by using wood and horn. We even have some rocks, leather and felt, and all of that softens the look. Jewelry is such a beautiful product that’s been around so long, it makes sense to do something that’s unexpected.”

BLOCKS

“We use a lot of white to help the jewelry pop. We’re working more wood tones into displays just to change it up a bit, but in general, a solid color is a good palette for a tiny product. I’d never consider using a printed fabric — it’s too busy. We’ve used red, purple or gray velvet, but always a solid color.”



CATEGORY PLACARDS

“One of my employees is very artistic, and she drew these. The product is so small and we offer a really affordable selection, so I thought it was important to call it out in a handmade way. It’s a nice contrast to have a hand-drawn sign. We’re all bombarded with ‘hard’ things in our lives, and we all crave tactile, softer, warmer experiences. People are really drawn to authentic experiences like that. We’re human, we want to lie in the grass and go to farmers’ markets. And jewelry seems to be going that direction as well. But especially in Austin, which is such an organic city.”

VARYING EYE LEVELS

“It really showcases the product and makes things stand out. You see this in all other retail applications and it can absolutely be applied to jewelry. It’s easy for me, especially since I carry so much costume jewelry, which is a bigger product. But, we still try to do it even with the tiny jewelry pieces. We move things around every day to keep things fresh.”

BIRD AND CORRUGATED WOOD PROPS

“I’m constantly shopping and looking for new elements and ideas, every day, all day long. I would think any retail jewelry owner probably does the same. Anything can be used in display; you just have to think of how it can be used for your brand.”