With Christmas behind us and the future plans being prepared, some of you are probably considering your approach.
Did you find yourself selling from your existing collections or did you find yourself increasingly being asked for customised or bespoke jewellery pieces?
With a slight shift in luxury and consumer’s approach to buying it, is there an expectation by our customers for bespoke pieces?
How do you fill your shelves if all you sell is bespoke jewellery?
As a jewellery retailer or designer jewellery maker, when you consider how you fill your retail space, there are 2 approaches that immediately present themselves. You either establish a collection of jewellery – whether it is designed and made by you or bought in, or you can offer a bespoke service. It is clear, that most jewellers fall somewhere between the two. Offering an established jewellery collection – i.e. ready to buy ‘off the shelf’ jewellery, gives many advantages. The most obvious being to take advantage of the impulse buyer. Not everyone wants to wait for your moment of inspiration to have that one off creation, nor does the man who forgot his wife’s birthday and who needs something NOW!. But every so often and that might be more often than not, you get someone in who wants something DIFFERENT, or wants to be INVOLVED in the jewellery design process, they like that one, but have you got it with some VARIATION or another? So you end up taking on a lot of commissions and doing more bespoke work and your jewellery collection starts to collect dust on the shelf and you begin to wonder ‘why did I bother making that stuff, it never sells’. If you didn’t, how would people know what you did? How would they be able to get you to make something different if you didn’t make anything at all and only offered a bespoke jewellery service?
The Catch 22
So it appears a catch 22 has evolved. What your established jewellery collection does, is set the tone of the shop, your work and your style. The style of collection, the gemstones used, the quality and the manner in which they are displayed, will very much send out a signal of what your jewellery business and you are capable of. What YOU need to do is make sure that everything goes towards highlighting your talents and maximising your profits. Now I could go on about how the secret to profits are in making your jewellery more than just the sum of its parts, but I’ll save that for another occasion.
Do customers have the right to expect bespoke?
One thing I have noticed, and it’s really the big brand name jewellers (as well as the high street chains) that are, for many reasons, only able to sell rigid collections and they do ok. In fact, only if you’re a super important customer, and I’m talking exclusively about the higher end right now, will they even contemplate the idea of creating bespoke jewellery. Set that against the designer maker.
The benefits of bespoke.
Most designer makers I know would be only too please to work hand in hand with their customers to create a customised jewellery piece for them. Think about it, not only do you have a very happy customer, but you have an evangelist who will be so proud of the jewellery they were involved in the making with you, they will spread the word far and wide.
As you build your relationship with your customers, you build further opportunities to sell. It could be that through working with them on a particular piece, you find out that there is a follow up occasion being celebrated, offering another opportunity to build on their new jewellery collection might keep them coming back for more.
It may be this process that sets you apart from other jewellers in your area, who may not be willing, or indeed able to offer a bespoke/customising service. It is exactly this type of service that sets jewellery artisans and designer makers apart from the run-of-the-mill jeweller, or the big corporations that would rather not get involved in any activity of this nature. I understand why they wouldn’t, or in fact can’t.
By customising, tailoring, or creating one off pieces of jewellery for your customers, you have an opportunity to build a relationship that few other businesses have.
Take it and run with it.
Your collection may establish you, your bespoke jewellery service will build a special relationship with your customer.