YOU COULD FEEL PRETTY GOOD about the state of the economy and industry after looking at and talking to accessories suppliers and retailers attending a number of hot trade shows in New York last week.
Not that things were great, just that there was a significant increase in sales with more buyers eager to purchase jewelry and handbags for their stores providing (and this was a big IF) the prices were right and the retailers felt they would be able to move the merchandise.
The skeptics were still around however, and several pointed out that there are indications we could be in for another slowdown the second half of the year. Barry Kramer, president of Koret, was more positive, however. “We are on the road to recovery,” he declared. “There is a sense of hope for the future.”
Vendors displayed a considerable amount of creativity in dealing with the bad economy and the high price of materials, especially gold. Mixed metals were used more often. Smaller size jewelry pieces were seen making a strong comeback.
The whole idea has been to hold onto an allure of luxury without hiking prices up beyond buyers’ budgets.
GETTING REAL VALUE FOR THE DOLLAR IS THE NEW INDUSTRY CALL. THAT’S JUST WHAT YOU CAN GET WITH THESE ITEMS:
- Lavish chandelier earrings – big, beautiful, trendy!
A STERLING AND DIAMOND collection presented by Leslie Greene Jewelry was elegant and in demand. The term “investment pieces” also came to the fore quite often, with vendors attempting to satisfy customers’ desires for versatile styles at a reasonable price.
Apparently, buyers were more willing to spend on pieces that promised a continuum of wear, as opposed to “seasonal” trendy items.
Perhaps the biggest movers at the shows were statement pieces, many in mixed mediums. The necklaces tended to be large and prominent. “Customers at every level are just beginning to understand the statement necklace,” said Susan Testaccio of Susan and Co. in Manhattan. “It makes an outfit.”
An interesting necklace presented by jewelry designer Rebecca Allen used floral design vintage lace and vintage stones or glass beads. The piece was a real standout, and emphasized the “lace” material direction just beginning to show up in jewelry.
- In addition to the buying heat surrounding creative statement necklaces, big earrings were also in the fast lane. Jennifer Arago of David Aubrey jewelry felt that bigger pieces were stimulating interest because buyers “are looking to get more for their buck.” It was a matter of substance.
- Bold jewelry and chunky pieces were also moving well.
- Jewelry with lots of geometric shapes perked interest in numerous retail buyers.
- Strong statement cuffs, generally bigger than those we’ve seen in the market this year, tended to sell to retailers from all market areas.
- New materials (such as the lace we’ve already mentioned) and mixed metals showed a strong directional movement upward.
- Simple shapes with creative inspiration behind them were received well.
- Smaller sizes. Yes, statement BIG is hot. But smaller sizes are also uptrending as a direct result of the increased cost of basic materials which, as one vendor noted, have affected the entire market.”
SHOPPING FOR INNOVATIVE JEWELRY PIECES THAT WILL SELL THIS FALL AND WINTER? LOOK AT THESE NECKLACES AND BRACELETS:
- Fashion necklace with 5 rows of faceted glass. Spectacular!