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Tag Archives: retail
With our January Sale almost over I have got to wondering if we have become a nation of bargain hunters because we have less money to spend or because we have been convinced never to pay full price for anything?
As a result of some retailers running almost constant sales have we lost the ability to see the value of anything unless it is reduced?
As a business we have taken the view that to sell an item for Christmas then reduce it a week later was morally wrong and unfair to our customers.
However, this year we have succumbed to pressure and have drastically reduced selected items of jewellery and handbags.
As soon as this was announced our website and phone lines were red hot as people snapped up bargains.
So I am left wondering has retail been it's worst enemy?
By promoting the idea that to pay full price is somehow foolish and unnecessary has retail (and the media) left consumers confused and unable to judge the real value of a product?
I'd be interested to hear your views.
Finally the time has arrived that we can shout about Pebbles being one of Professional Jeweller's Hot 100!
We have had to keep this a secret for a few months until the swanky launch party on Tuesday (06/09/2011) night. Val and Kevin attended the party at London's One Mayfair where they sipped champagne and mingled with other movers and shakers from the jewellery world.
'The recognition from our customers and within the trade over the last 12 months has been very rewarding' Val is quoted as saying and I even get a name check in the write up from Professional Jeweller! 'the company has also seen a new addition this year: their daughter Danielle.'
I am very proud to say that I work for one of Britian's Retail Stars and also that they are my Mum and Dad! Well done guys and keep up the good work!
When Val and Kevin returned from Spring Fair (trade show) in February they were very excitied about one of the new designer handmade jewellery ranges they had ordered - Bjorg and Pebbles is the only jewellers in Scotland to have it. At the time I had never seen any Bjorg jewellery or even heard the name! That soon changed!
After drooling over pictures of this wonderfully gothic yet elegant jewellery I couldn't wait to get my hands on the real thing. A butterfly wing encased in glass, silver and gold skulls with rosecut diamonds for eyes, anatomically correct hearts and jewellery with quirky messages, I was getting more and more excited. I wasn't the only one going Bjorg mad, the jewellery press fell in love with her unusual and eye catching designs too. Articles ringing praises and predicting Bjorg jewellery as the next big thing were springing up all over the likes of Retail Jeweller magazine and celebs such as Rihanna and Jessie J are wearing it as well.
Designer Bjorg Nordli-Mathisen began designing jewellery whilst in India studying textiles, where she made 100 one of a kind pieces of jewellery and on her travels through Europe and the UK managed to sell them to stores such as Liberty. One of Bjorg's biggest inspirations is her birthplace as she explains to Laura McCreddie of Retail Jeweller 'I was born in the North of Norway above the Arctic Circle. There is something about the light there that is an influence, and I think my jewellery also has a simplicity that is very Scandinavian.'
Bjorg jewellery is raw, bold and playful, yet elegant and mesmerizing. I love how most of the items work as unisex pieces, and hold a universal power and aesthetic, rather than being defined by male or female jewellery. By mixing traditional craftsmanship and mythology with more modern and urban concepts the collection speaks both of stories in the past and of the time to come.
As well as exploring the threats to our High Street - Supermarkets that sell everything from food to fashion (some are now venturing into selling cars!), the internet and the increased numbers of charity and pound shops along with out of town retail parks; we also discussed the emergence of the "universal shopper."
The idea behind this concept is that shoppers are no longer loyal but will shop around for the best deal. The best deal however may not always be based on price and for some purchases it may be the best service or experience.
Shoppers are also more of a mix and match animal nowadays. For example we may stay in a 5 star hotel but travel there by easyjet, we may wear an expensive designer suit but style it with a low price t shirt.
So how do these theories apply to jewellery retail?
We are definitely seeing the mix and match shopper (I do it myself) combining fine jewellery with fashion jewellery.
I agree that as retailers we have to work harder to give shoppers the kind of experience that will result in regular loyal customers. Getting to know our customers and developing relationships is one of the aspects of retail that I love, and I am pleased to say that our best form of advertising is our existing customers who reccommend us to their friends.
We see this particularly in couples who choose to buy thier engagement ring from us - usually because they are searching for an unusual engagement ring, perhaps in an unusual material or with an unusual setting - every single one of them returns to us to buy their wedding rings.
In fact on many occasions we have provided all the jewellery for their wedding from the wedding rings to the bridesmaids gifts, and many of the guests too! I love it when couples share their wedding photos with us, it reinforces that like any relationship it's a two way thing and continues past the actual purchase.
So are you a "universal shopper" or a loyal shopper?
I'd love to hear what influences your decision on where to shop.