By Kathryn M. Van Druff
All that glitters isn’t always gold; sometimes it’s silver or natural stone reflecting back the light. In jewelry retail, some trends seem to stick for quite some time while others rise and fall with the seasons, or so it seems. The fashions flying off the shelves during festival season may not be fully representative of the jewelry pieces topping the sales charts during the rest of the year. Here’s some insight into best-selling jewelry and effective display tips to boost the bottom line.
Vanessa Lopez, owner of Heart Clothing Boutique in Sacramento, Calif., noted that as mid-April’s Coachella Music and Arts Festival rocked the Golden State, her shop saw an upsurge in sales of big silver pieces—a lot of silver—as well as bohemian styles, layering feathers and bold pieces for festivals.
“That’s not our normal,” Lopez said of her most recent influx of sales. “Our typical, normal, what’s been popular for us for a while, is delicate jewelry, very thin layerable necklaces. It’s the same thing with rings—very simple gold bands. The festival was mostly silver, but it’s typical in our shop to sell mostly very thin gold pieces.”
At just 340 square feet, Heart Clothing Boutique packs a pretty punch considering its petite proportions. When it comes to stocking the right jewelry to maximize on her available display space, Lopez has it down to a science.
“Our demographic kind of varies [with] the time of the year,” she shared. “We are always up to date with checking out trends, social media, the web and magazines as well. It keeps us on trend and our customers give us a lot of feedback on what they’re looking for.”
On the other side of the country, gold continues its reign of popularity at Kimberly Boutique in West Hartford, Conn. The 2,500-square-foot shop’s staff go beyond the role of sales associates and proudly serve as personal stylists for their customers.
Owner Kimberly Moster agreed that bohemian necklaces, layering necklaces and longer strands boasting tassels or natural stone were also among her top sellers of late. The bohemian trend continues from spring and summer seasons past as well. The Northeast sometimes takes a little longer for a trend to take, Moster admitted, but boho fashions have drawn lots of interest in recent years.
“We barely sell any silver anymore,” she disclosed. “I think it’s true in home décor and accessories. Forever it was silver. The past few years it’s gold. Gold is really pretty; it’s warmer. There’s something about it.”
When stocking the shelves at Kimberly Boutique, Moster leverages the history of jewelry sales and finds it easy to keep up with her customers’ favorite styles. With clothing, sometimes it’s not possible to reorder. With jewelry though, Moster and her buyer and longtime employee Beth Abbatemarco successfully procure similar styles even if the original becomes unavailable. They’ve done the boho trend in the past and found that it caught on quickly again.
“Then we have vendors we work with on a continual basis like Alexis Bittar and Ann Lightfoot,” Moster continued. “We always make sure we have those big brands we’ve built the business with.”
Some other brands trending at the moment are Gorjana—whose pieces are dipped three times in 24k gold, Sheila Fajl—known for hoops of all styles and colors in 18k gold plated over 100 percent nickel free brass, and a line called Canvas—featuring affordable yet very stylish choices, all popular at the boutique bevello in Dallas, Texas. The shop’s name comes from the Italian word for beautiful, which is “bella,” “mixed with a little love.”
“Everybody’s obsessed with it,” mused Assistant Manager Stella Koziol of the boutique’s Gorjana line. “It’s delicate and great for layering. It’s also statement-y. How bright the golds are and how bright the silvers are.”
Koziol noted that the store’s own bevello jewelry is also selling very well, offering an elevated style at a reasonable price point. Every sale adds up toward the shop’s $1.3 million sales goal for the year. When it comes to keeping the shelves and displays of the 2,500-square-foot boutique stocked with enticing finds, she expressed that observation is key.
“It’s all about looking at what people are wearing, what they’re buying, and voicing that back to corporate to get the right pieces for our demographic,” she remarked.
A store’s inventory isn’t always such a hands-on process, though, particularly for consignment shops like Bella Boutique in Philadelphia, Pa. The 1,100-square-foot shop is a treasure trove of clothing, jewelry and other items just waiting to bring a sparkle to someone’s eye. Annual sales vary every year, as Owner Domonique Kim receives much of the store’s contents secondhand and it’s always a mystery to see what comes into the shop.
“We’re a consignment shop; we have eclectic types of jewelry,” Kim noted, explaining that they don’t make an effort to stock in the usual sense. “It depends on what’s happening. Turquoise is really hot right now because its summertime and some designer stuff [is currently popular]. I think vintage Chanel jewelry is really, really coveted—if we get that in, we’re very lucky. Also, David Yurman, Lagos.”
For some shops, creative selling goes beyond the physical store. In addition to its more than 1,800-square-foot location and sister shop Sugar Shack Boutique, Krazy Mary’s Boutique in Sacramento, Calif. runs an Instagram page that showcases beautifully coordinated outfits paired with jewelry accents. The store cleverly and conveniently accepts orders via Instagram and ships merchandise to non-local shoppers, quite a solid strategy in achieving its above average annual sales.
Owner Mary Kawano listed a few popular designers, including Nakamol Chicago with its natural jewelry. Kawano said her customers like natural, unique looks and opportunities to layer accessories. She’s seen natural stones and boho chic styles with multiple layers paired with summer neutrals trending every season. As summer approaches, pops of color now take center stage with customer favorites involving tassels, yellows, poppy reds, and Kelly greens.
“We are a lifestyle boutique, more contemporary with locals who shop weekly,” noted Kawano. “One stop shop. Bring in business for 18 years with our loyal customer following; without them we would never be here.”