Gift store and boutique owners like to sell jewelry – they really do. Customers buy it to treat themselves, to solve a gift dilemma or to up the wow factor on a new clothing ensemble. Jewelry inevitably grabs customers’ attention while simultaneously prompting store proprietors to muse on how they can sell more. Four have crystallized their thoughts on the subject in the following article.
Gift shop 5-0-Lou in Louisville, Ky., celebrates its setting with a collection of locally made gifts, souvenirs, housewares, food, artwork, apparel and of course, jewelry. Owner Terri Ross mused that her most successful jewelry sales occur when she utilizes social media to spread the word and create a sense of urgency. “I need to do it more often! Very little of our jewelry is redundant. Every single solitary piece by one of our artists, for example, is hand-done and one-of-a-kind. We have to indicate that if you want it, you better buy it right now! Using a real person who works here as a model – often simply their neck, hand, or arm – blasting it out on Instagram and stressing that we just got this in, brings shoppers into the store.”
Quirky sells at 5-0-Lou. One of their most popular selling jewelry lines is among the least expensive. The designer in question has a knack for purchasing odd items and configuring her discoveries into inventive pieces. “It’s the cleverness that people latch onto. For instance, she’ll have teeny tiny harmonicas that actually work on a cool chain or my favorite – a pendant that looks like a bullet but it’s really a pocketknife. I use it all the time to cut tags off of things!” Ross said. Yet another artist supplied the 1,600-square-foot store with adjustable brass rings featuring moonstones and they sold out practically overnight. However, if Ross had to pin down her number one selling jewelry item, it would have to be morse code bracelets “Oh, my gosh, we can’t keep those things in stock. In the store, whenever we go out and do a pop-up shop or a weekend show, we always sell out!”
Merchandise is always moving at Believe Me Mobile Boutique – literally! Three years ago, mother and daughter team Sandy Sandoval and Katrina Bridges converted a former transit bus into a fashion boutique on wheels. Based in Fresno, the pair traverse California’s Central Valley popping up at festivals, women’s conferences, wineries and other gatherings occurring anywhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Unique hoop earrings have proven to be a favorite with customers this past year, according to Sandoval, and signs are the trend will continue. “They’re not just a regular hoop. We have ones that are braided, some are twisted, some are an octagon shape. Customers can wear them with casual outfits but the hoops can just as easily complement dressier evening attire.”
Believe Me Mobile Boutique’s 22-foot-long bus features approximately 148-square-feet of retail space. In good weather, they are able to incorporate some outdoor area to showcase some of their wares. Every inch is put to good use including three shelves inside the bus where some of their jewelry is displayed. “We sell more jewelry by showing it as a story. Pairing it with a purse on our shelves and matching some of the detailing on the purse, for example. Or accenting outfits when we are merchandising. We arrange it so it tells a story,” Sandoval said.
The inspired collection of gifts, clothing and jewelry at The Seasoned Woman in Tucson, Ariz., aims to nurture the soul. “We sell sentiment here – friendship, encouragement, and more. A lot of our merchandise has that kind of appeal, delivers some sort of message,” said Owner Joan Parks. She is skilled at packaging jewelry pieces into attractive custom gifts that convey sentiments often appreciated by recipients such as sisters, mothers, and special friends. A bracelet might be the centerpiece of a package designed to deliver happy birthday wishes, for example. “Other times, I’ll just make a card and indicate this is a blessing bracelet or a gratitude bracelet.” Parks has discovered this merchandising method is an effective way to sell multiples of jewelry items she has picked up at trade shows where quantity purchases are required.
The Seasoned Woman has certainly seen jewelry change over the years in terms of what sells. When asked to single out a best-seller at this point, Parks identified Silver Forest earrings, a brand handcrafted in Vermont. They’re not necessarily the most exciting jewelry item in her 2,000-square-foot store, but they sell like crazy. “They’re made in the U.S., they come pre-priced and we just say it’s the easiest sale in the store because they sell so well,” she concluded.
Boutique Bleu in Spokane, Wash., concentrates on selling the wares of local jewelry artists. “That’s really big here in town. People love local. I sell more jewelry if it is locally made,” said Owner Amy Driscoll. If customers are drawn to a piece and its origins are home-grown, her sales team will always play up the fact. “We tell them it’s locally made and that usually seals the sale.” The Gorjana jewelry line is also popular in the 1,100-square-foot shop. “They use real metals, not plated. That’s our higher end yet everything within the line is still under a hundred dollars.” Driscoll noted that hand-cut stones, whether they be within the Gorjana line or locally-made, are another strong seller.
Shoppers are savvy about steering clear of sub-standard metals when buying jewelry these days, according to Driscoll. Boutique Bleu is careful to not carry any jewelry that might cause an adverse skin reaction. “When we started carrying locally made, that’s one of the first things my vendors told me – that they only use natural metals, high grade stainless steel, etc. No poor metals that might cause ears to itch or turn green or experience some other reaction,” she said. It has become another worthwhile selling point and certainly one worth mentioning, if customers haven’t already inquired.