Where the Jewelry Always Fits
Jewelry Trends at Gift Shops and Boutiques

By Carimé Lane

“When a woman’s not feeling her best, she can always find a beautiful piece of jewelry,” said Marti Tolleson, owner of Two Friends on St. Simon’s Island. “It always seems to fit.”

Here, we have the scoop on why three gift shops and/or boutiques are stocking up on more jewelry, how they cater to their demographics, and more. 

Two Friends is a 4,500-square-foot lifestyle boutique that sells items including clothing, gifts, home goods and art on St. Simon’s Island. They typically sell jewelry meant to complement an outfit bought in-store or purchased with a special occasion in mind, such as heading out to dinner.

Jewelry in cool, summery colors at Two Friends. In addition to jewelry, the store sells clothing, gifts, home goods, and art.

Their customer avatar covers three categories: teenage granddaughter, mother and grandmother ranging in age from 16-95-years-old. Because the store is located in a resort community, all three groups shop at the store regularly. 

When buying jewelry for the shop, Tolleson keeps these demographics in mind. For instance, for younger customers, she’ll buy trendy items with the understanding that this customer group may lose or quickly tire of their jewelry. On the other hand, she’ll remember ‘grandmothers’ often have money to spend, a more discerning eye and typically are willing to buy jewelry for all three generations when they attend the store together. 

Two Friends buys jewelry of various price ranges, again with the knowledge they are catering to three demographics.

Marti Tolleson, owner, Two Friends on St. Simon’s Island. The business sells jewelry that can complement an outfit bought in-store.

Finer pieces are displayed in a cabinet showcased using thoughtful lighting and placement. These cabinets are also within eyeshot of their front counter. 

Otherwise, they tend to display the jewelry according to vendor. 

“When the display creates a story, when it makes a statement with all of the pieces together, then it’s much more appealing to the eye,” said Tolleson.

In Just/Because, a roughly 1,000-square-foot Sarasota, Fla. gift shop, owner Barbara Bria-Pugliese said Ethics Goods and Bold B are among the jewelry lines they’re constantly selling.

At Two Friends, jewelry is stocked at various price ranges, with finer pieces kept in a cabinet. Shown is a necklace on a necklace form.

Ethic Goods makes stretch bracelets displaying a word–like ‘sister,’ ‘friendship,’ or ‘brave’–in Morse code. Part of the proceeds goes to the human trafficking survivors who crafted the bracelets. The bracelets are a consistent hit because, at $17.50, they are priced affordably, are for a good cause, can be stacked with other jewelry and appeal to all age groups. 

Bold B is an Australia line of jewelry made from beach sand. “Unlike a lot of other nature jewelry, it’s very contemporary looking,” said Bria-Pugliese. “It’s a high polish finish, so it’s a fabulous look.” Every piece–whether an earring, necklaces or bracelet–is priced under $55 and named for bodies of water with names like ‘rockpool’, ‘chasm’ and ‘islet.’

Bria-Pugliese’s main demographic is 30 and up, with the average age landing at 50 to 60-years-old. To accommodate these age categories, she looks for three things: Pieces customers won’t see everywhere else, that are age appropriate and fit everyone’s style. As well: She strives to buy from smaller cottage industry jewelers.

Fashionable key jewelry is available at Bella James. Vendors are displayed together at the store.

“We also look at price points for our demographic,” said Bria-Pugliese. 

Just/Because pulls in half a million in annual sales. They sell high-end jewelry, but also items that are easy to pick up at the register. 

“We try to make it very easy for the customer to see the pieces, pick them up, touch them, feel them–to us, that’s so much of the sell,” said Bria-Pugliese. Fine jewelry is still encased, but lower end jewelry is displayed so customers can enjoy that tactile experience.

A jewelry display at BellaJames in San Jose, Calif. Necklaces make up most of the store’s jewelry stock.

Bria-Pugliese keeps the Bold B jewelry by the register. She finds customers are drawn to Bold B’s colors–like aqua and ultra marine–when they’re cashing out. She keeps the Ethic Goods bracelets across from the register on an antique piece of furniture in a small basket. “People gravitate towards that all day long,” said Bria-Pugliese. “And that’s also why I think the line sells so well: It’s out for people to see and feel and for us to tell them about it.”

Samantha Needham, manager and assistant buyer at the BellaJames boutique located in San Jose, Ca said necklaces and earrings sell best for them. She believes customers favor these because they like to change their necklaces along with their outfits. Necklaces also make up most of their jewelry stock. 

“A statement necklace elevates any outfit,” said Needham.

Earrings on display at Two Friends. The store caters to grandmothers, teen daughters, and their mothers.

Needham said they think of their store as a “lifestyle,” which caters to a wide range of customers. “We have a wide variety of jewelry with price points starting at $24,” said Needham. They carry pieces constructed with various metals and materials to provide their customers with a wide selection of unique jewelry. “Customers love supporting local vendors,” said Needham.

In displaying their jeweled wares, they like to keep vendors together. “Each vendor has their own style, so showcasing them individually makes for more stand-out pieces,” said Needham.

Delicate gold jewelry photographed at BellaJames. The store offers a wide range of prices for jewelry starting at $24.

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