By Joanna Ireland
Jewelry: the cherry on top that adds that perfect finishing touch to any outfit, whether casual, dressy, or somewhere in between. This season’s trends include hoops, turquoise, rose gold and bright jewel tones.
Laura Lewis, manager of Tselaine in Philadelphia, Pa., said, “Currently, everyone is obsessed with hoops. Any type of hoop is zooming out of the store. We’ve got hoops with that [1970s] vibe which our customers gravitate toward and our top-sellers are the lightweight acrylic hoops of all sizes that look great on people of all ages, from teens to grandmothers. The colors range from bolds to super neutrals.
“Another trend,” she said, “is the fruit-themed earrings that are lightweight plastic and molded to look like fruits and Monstera plant leaves. They’re such fun shapes that encourage more people to take risks with their jewelry. But everyone’s been really going for the bolder colors.”
Lewis said, “People know us here for our customer service. We always go above and beyond and if we don’t have something a customer wants, or they can’t find what they need, we’ll try to find it for them. We’ll introduce them to other new shapes in the store or we’ll take their information and let them know when the item they want is back in stock.
“We also do a lot of one-on-one consultations. Many of our clientele come in looking for something to complement a date night or special event. They may have an idea but nothing specific in mind, so we talk to them and get to know them and then make recommendations. We also give people options to try on jewelry, because you just never know what might really work.”
The 300-square-foot store offers a variety of jewelry styles. Lewis said she finds that both complicated and simple jewelry pieces sell well. “We cater to everyone in the city, and don’t really pull one type of customer, so we have women looking for a simple, modern everyday piece and other women wanting our crazy, hand-painted pieces from Brazil.”
Lewis expects that the resin hoops will continue to sell strongly through the end of the year. “A lot of people have been spoiling themselves with those earrings. They’re a great price point ranging from $22 to $32, so it’s easy on the wallet. It’s also a classic look and style, and with the cozy colors and bolder tones for fall and winter, they’ll remain popular.”
The 14,000-square-foot Pampillonia, in Bethesda, Md., is a little different than your typical jewelry boutique, said Manager Michael Pampillonia. “We buy a lot of estate jewelry and offer many pre-owned, second-hand designer pieces which are top-sellers, in addition to the engagement rings we also offer. Surprisingly, a lot of younger customers have been asking for antique style rings—the 1920s and 30s art deco and engagement rings. Those designs are interesting because they’re so unique and quite a departure from the modern style and popular norm you see advertised.”
He said that more simple styles are selling well. “Many times, our customers come in looking for something complicated, but when they try it on it doesn’t have the same effect—then the customers request a new style, or we direct them to something simpler, and it works better.”
Pampillonia said, “It’s critical to work with your customers so they have a great experience. You need to be clear, coherent, and understanding, and then you’ll have satisfied customers. Women probably buy more earrings than anything. It’s a popular choice because they’re the easiest to wear and more noticeable than a small pendant, for example, that might get lost in a shirt or blouse. Our women customers get lots of wear and enjoyment out of earrings. Right now, the popular style is rose gold. We’ve received many special-order requests and sold a lot of handmade pieces in that tone.”
The top-selling pieces at Blanca Flor Silver Jewelry include Spratling brand bracelets and necklaces. “The best-selling necklace is a statement piece you can wear with jeans or anything dressier,” said Sales Associate Janet Tucker, “and the plain silver collar is also easy to throw on and goes with anything.”
Co-owner Sophia Garcia agreed. “The best-selling items are our sterling silver pieces, including dangle bracelets, simple cuffs, and pendants from Mexico because they appeal to a variety of styles and aesthetics. Our customers can use these pieces to dress up and dress down any outfit.”
“We don’t really have complicated jewelry,” said Tucker. “Most of our customers are attracted to the Mexican pieces. Some are oxidized, and most are fairly large statement pieces. All the necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are silver, and some have an additional treatment to add depth.”
“We sell far more simple bangles, bracelets, and every day earrings,” said Garcia, “but we’re known for our intricate pieces, which draw customers in and also sell well. I find that it’s important to set our store apart from others by offering more unique jewelry, but I also want everyone to have the opportunity to find something that fits their budget.
“Earrings are very popular sellers, but when women really want to treat themselves to something special, we sell many beautiful statement necklaces. We have these great chunky Mexican necklaces that are very popular,” Garcia said. Tucker also said that the Annapolis, Md., store’s customers also gravitate toward bangle bracelets and cuffs because they’re so versatile.
Tucker and Garcia emphasized the importance of greeting customers as soon as they walk through the door. “We want to be approachable,” Garcia said.
Tucker said, “We’ll say hello and ask them if we can help with anything. We share information about the store and its jewelry, art, and pottery, and we invite them to try on whatever they like,” Tucker said. “If customers ask, we’ll make recommendations—whether it’s for a statement piece or smaller jewelry. And sometimes, they really don’t know what they want, or they don’t realize how much they like the bigger statement pieces until they try a few items on.”
Garcia said, “Our sales associates are trained about the designers and pieces—their stories, histories, and characteristics that make each piece unique. Our passion about our merchandise communicates itself to our customers and gets them excited, too.”
Chris Larochelle, owner of Minka in Kennebunkport, Maine, said his store’s top-selling jewelry pieces include the earrings and necklaces. “My wife makes all the jewelry, and she uses interesting color combinations and includes real gemstones. Everything is unique, with few duplications and that’s what makes them so attractive to our customers.”
He suggested always listening to the customers. “You need to ask them questions, listen to what they’re looking for, and make suggestions. We also recommend unexpected pairings that people might not ordinarily try, because most people tend to just put like things together.”
Simple jewelry designs are best because, he said, “Minimal designs go with more—the simple aesthetic appeals to people’s practical nature. You can wear a simple piece with many more outfits. Our top piece of jewelry that our customers purchase for themselves is earrings. Earrings are like shoes—you can never have enough. Necklaces are more challenging because you have to think about how they’ll look with the top when you put them on.”
Etania Jewelry & Boutique, a 1,000-square-foot store in Cave Creek, Ariz., features many one-of-a-kind items. Owner Lisa Baker said, “I can’t really point to one specific best-selling piece ecause what we sell is unique—but our highest selling stone is turquoise because we’re located in the southwest. It’s a popular stone now because it complements everyone’s skin tones. We also do sell a lot of earrings, and women buy them for themselves because a woman can never have too many and they’re usually more affordable than other pieces, so you don’t have to feel guilty about spending a little money on yourself or need to justify the purchase.”
Of her customers, Baker said, “The customer is always right. I don’t argue with my customers although I will make suggestions based on what I think they might like. I also sell apparel, so when a customer is putting together an outfit, I might recommend some jewelry that complements it. I make a lot of what I sell, so it’s also easy to generate a story, whether it’s about the stone and its origin or how I acquired it. Those stories definitely help to build interest.”
Baker finds that many of her customers gravitate toward more complicated pieces. “It’s a bit subjective,” she said, “but the complicated pieces are more unusual which is, I think, what makes them sell well. I do have some more simple pieces, but they aren’t as popular—there isn’t as large a market for them.”
Allison Jackson, owner of Allie M. Designs Boutique in Akron, Ohio, said her top-selling jewelry piece is a mustard seed necklace. “It’s a pendant on a chain that comes in several different styles and includes a card with the story about it. We’ve been making them for a few years. The Spartina brand jewelry offers a good price point. They mainly produce a plated gold and the earrings, especially, do well. We also have charms we make, and adjustable dangle charm bracelets that our customers can customize. Those do well at holidays and for special occasions.
Jackson prioritizes great customer service in her 1,400-square-foot store. “You need to know the customers and what they like and also know your merchandise, so you can talk about its quality and what you like about it. If you like it, you’re better able to sell it,” she said. “I can’t sell something I don’t love. It’s also critical to offer a variety of options—don’t limit yourself to one color. We also sell more lightweight earrings for our older customers because we don’t want their earlobes to be dragged down by really heavy hoops.
“The Simply Stated brand is simple and sells well,” she said. “The low price point is attractive to our customers. Our custom handmade items are also good sellers, although they’re more expensive. Often, what sells is what I decide—on any given day—to talk about. If we get a new shipment in, I’ll talk about those pieces, for example.
“Women often buy earrings for themselves. We have some at the register to encourage impulse buys, and the lower price points makes them more attractive.”