The Jewelry Category That’s On Fire
By Angie Ash, EVP
As a marketing professional, I get excited when I see entrepreneurs take a product that nobody thinks is interesting, sexy, or worth more than a second glance, and find what’s “wrong” with it. Then they create a new brand in that same category that’s fresh, different, and makes consumers not only say, “what a great idea!” but also, “I need that”.
An example of this is dog food. For years, it’s been on shelves with price points ranging from economy to organic grain-free and peak protein. Dog food brands thought they had tapped out every angle, knowing that dog owners love their dogs and will pay a premium for the friend that’s always happy to see them. But the hill they couldn’t seem to crest was the fact that the way conventional dog food is manufactured isn’t all that beneficial to a dog’s health.
Then along came Ruff Greens, Dinovite, and The Farmer’s Dog (their TV commercial destroys me every time I watch it) with supplements that turned “dead” dry packaged dog food into something nutritious that would revitalize their dog’s energy level and longevity. And seemingly overnight, these brands created a whole new segment into a space others thought was already oversaturated.
The same can be said for pre-owned goods. For years and years, there was a stigma around it until the luxury market took hold of it, starting with luxury automobiles. These luxury car brands quickly realized that there were consumers out there who wanted to own a Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Audi, etc. but didn’t want to spend the dollars on a new one. However, they also didn’t want to buy a lemon model. And therefore, the certified luxury pre-owned market was soon born. Now consumers didn’t have to take a chance with their money. They could have the assurance that their used vehicle was backed with a nifty service warranty. And they could also enjoy the prestige of driving off the lot in the vehicle they always wanted, but could previously never afford.
Fast forward to today and you will find consumers embracing other high-end pre-owned goods such as clothes and yes, jewelry, on platforms such as TheRealReal. Not only do consumers feel good knowing the pieces are authenticated, but they’re also loving the experience for a variety of factors, according to this Forbes article, as well as this fun and informative read on The Cut.
And if you think pre-owned is just a fad, you should know there’s no sign of its slowing. In fact, due to higher prices consumers are paying for not just basics such as fuel and groceries, but virtually everything now, buying pre-owned is an affordable way for the luxury buying consumer to continue indulging in high-end goods with less anxiety.
So how can retail jewelers get in on this incredibly hot category?
Start with knowing you may not have to re-invent the wheel. Many fine retail jewelers already have a burgeoning estate jewelry business. Or the ability to have a thriving estate business but they’re not marketing it yet. The problem, or what’s “wrong” is that many consumers, especially younger ones, equate the term “estate jewelry” with antiques or what their grandma or even great grandma wore. That being said, I want to make it clear that there’s a market for antique jewelry and there are some beautiful pieces out there. But for pre-owned luxury jewelry that’s more contemporary, consider the following shifts:
- If your store already has a good amount of pre-owned contemporary and designer jewelry in your estate jewelry, consider separating it out and repackaging it with a modern name and an elegant logo to match. Think of it as its own stand alone brand that has a dedicated case or space where it can be set apart from the rest of your jewelry.
- Every retail jeweler gets new customers, and every new customer should get a tour of your store, including a look at this new pre-owned section. You should let them know that you not only sell it but buy it as well. You never know who is in the market for either end of this spectrum.
- If you buy jewelry regularly, make sure you call out that you purchase pre-owned designer and newer jewelry pieces in your marketing. There are lots of people out there who aren’t wearing the jewelry that’s in their jewelry boxes for various reasons. Designer brands certainly follow trends too so some of these pieces may be in that category. People need reminders!
- Once you have a 1-3 of the above in place, start marketing this new section and collection regularly. It won’t succeed if people don’t know it exists. Make sure you include SOLD labeling and indicate when new pre-owned pieces are available. I subscribe to a pre-owned luxury newsletter and I receive an email about new pre-owned pieces about once a month, which I personally think is just right for me.
- If you don’t have any type of pre-owned or estate business, can you picture pre-owned luxury jewelry as a successful part of your offerings? Remember, every retail jeweler who does offer it successfully had to start somewhere.
There are jewelry trends that come and go and then there are those business segments that just need to be re-imagined for today’s consumer. Will you be one of the retailers lighting the pre-owned jewelry match?
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