Angie Ash, Executive Vice President
For many, many years, jewelers bought into the philosophy of supporting bridal brands. They invested LOTS of buy-in dollars in carrying these brands. They heavily promoted the brands by tagging the designer line’s television spots, using their provided radio scripts, hosting trunk shows featuring the brands, and tagging the brand’s national print ad in Brides magazine with their name, alongside several other retail jewelers, for a couple grand a pop. They thought by doing so, bridal traffic would be driven to their door. They thought the designer name carried enough clout to warrant all those advertising costs.
Then a landmark survey from The Knot was published that shed some significant light on the reality of bridal branding. In a case not unlike the fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, it was revealed that brides care most about the style of the ring, and guys care most about the quality – not the name engraved on the inside nobody is going to see – or inquire about. The emperor was naked, everyone knew he was naked, but it took someone brave enough to point out what nobody else was willing to say or bring to light. Suddenly, there was a shift. Nobody wanted to be left thinking the emperor really was wearing invisible clothes that were woven out of thin air. Nobody wanted to be in that camp anymore.
So, here we are today. Millions of cumulative dollars have been spent to the tune of bridal consumers still coming up with Tiffany first as the top of mind brand, and only a few other precious bridal brands are even on the radar. Jewelers are struggling while the bridal consumer is becoming more and more price conscious, cynical, and savvy. As a retail jeweler reading this article, now more than ever, it’s time to start branding you. It will mean you will have to change your ways of thinking about inventory. What will gain you the most profit while still giving your customers a well-made, competitively priced product? You will have to approach manufacturers armed with your request to make their product your own brand. It will mean, more than ever, that you will have to decide what you stand for, and what you want YOUR store experience to be that is true to YOU, not what another jeweler is doing.
At the end of the day, bridal brands can come and go, but if you are in the bridal game, you want to be in it to win it. You want to be here to stay. It’s not (and never really was) a question of that bride to be showing off her ring and having her friends asking for the brand of the ring. But they may be asking, “Where did you get that beautiful ring?” The opportunity to have the answer be your store is yours for the taking if done right.
It’s time to drop bridal names from your advertising and focus on having yours be dropped in conversation instead.
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