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Retail Rap

By Phyllis Schiller

DO YOU LEVERAGE RED-CARPET LOOKS?
   The 4Cs are not the only things that make a piece of diamond jewelry a sales winner. In an ongoing series, Rapaport Magazine explores the “3Ws” — what’s selling, what’s not and why — by going straight to the people who really know — jewelry retailers. Each month, we ask a sampling of retailers to comment on the important issues that are facing the industry today. Here is what they had to say when asked: “Does what celebs wear on the red carpet translate into sales for your store? Do you call attention to it as a selling tool?”


Angelina Jolie wearing emerald earrings at the 2009 Academy Awards.
Photo by Steve Granitz/wireimage
SCOTT BERG, MARKET PRESIDENT
LEE MICHAELS FINE JEWELRY
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA
   “I think what the celebrities are wearing certainly shows what’s fashionable and ‘in’ right now. Occasionally, we get customers asking for things such as that. But I wouldn’t say that it’s a big driver of sales. It’s a big driver of trends that ultimately lead to sales long term, but it’s not something that gives an immediate return.
   “We do mention it on our Facebook page to show trends and what’s going on. And we will put it on our website. But it’s not something that we showcase in the store or in print media advertising. It is a good conversation piece for Facebook.”

WAYNE ADDESSI, PRESIDENT
ADDESSI JEWELERS
RIDGEFIELD, CONNECTICUT
   “The red-carpet effect does not directly translate into business for my store. Customers don’t come in asking about jewelry worn by Reese Witherspoon or some other celebrity; not at all.
   “But in terms of whether I’d use it as a marketing tool? Possibly. It’s not currently part of my arsenal. There’s no one marketing group that I know of that offers that to jewelers. But if I were to get marketing material from a supplier that features certain actors or actresses, I might use it as a marketing tool on Facebook or Twitter or on our website. With all the social media today, there are different ways to market to different age groups of people. If I think it’s an interesting concept, I would support it. But it’s probably more important that they are pieces that are not ‘far out’ and that would appeal to my clientele; that would be helpful.”

JONATHAN ZADOK, CO-MANAGER
ZADOK JEWELERS
HOUSTON, TEXAS
   “I think so. I think it helps to set trends. If customers see celebrities wearing big jewelry, then they feel it’s okay for them to wear big jewelry. On the other hand, if they see that celebrities aren’t wearing the big stuff and are going more minimalist, it deters them a little bit from buying the bigger pieces. I think celebrities do influence the way people think. They also influence the colors people like and the styles they like and the fashion trends, and things like that.
   “If there is a pair of earrings that we have, let’s say, and it looks similar to one that appeared on someone on the red carpet whose picture I saw, then I would point it out to a customer. I don’t do it that often. Usually it’s because a designer we carry might have a specific piece that was worn by a celebrity. And if customers are looking at that line of jewelry, I’ll mention to them that Halle Berry or whoever is wearing one of that designer’s pieces. It does give a little credibility to the brand and I think that’s where it helps the most. If Halle Berry or JLo is wearing the designs, it gives instant credibility.’’

LEE REID, GOLDSMITH
TILDEN ROSS JEWELERS
SARASOTA, FLORIDA
   “It is notable what’s being worn in Hollywood and on television, in shows like “Dancing with the Stars” or the “Housewives” series. It can’t hurt. But it’s not something people come in to the store and are asking about; I’d say 95 percent don’t. We do not use it as a tool.”

BRANT BATEMAN, CO-OWNER
LEEBRANT JEWELERS
ATLANTA, GEORGIA
   “I don’t use it. My clientele never bring it up, but then, it can’t hurt. I like seeing the bigger pieces on the movie stars; it shows that people do wear them. We sell big pieces, so I think it does help, but we don’t bring it up as a selling point.”

RICHARD FINN, MANAGER
E.B. HORN COMPANY
BOSTON, MASSACHUSSETTS
   “Yes, it does have value on several different levels. Obviously, it has an impact on the designer names that are mentioned, no question about that. But just the styles that are being worn have an impact across the board. Having the celebrities shown wearing jewelry is good for business. If they showed up not wearing jewelry, it would be very negative.
“I might bring up the fact that a particular piece is like what’s being worn; customers have asked for jewelry that they have seen on celebrities.”

JULIE GOLDSTON, GRADUATE GEMOLOGIST
RANDY COOPER’S FINE JEWELRY
WICHITA, KANSAS
   “Customers do pay attention to what celebrities are wearing, not only on the red carpet, but in movies. They’ll often ask for the same type of piece. For instance, years ago, they asked about the necklace that was from the “Tin Cup” movie, and the “Pretty Woman” earrings. So, the answer is ‘yes,’ it does have an effect. It is free advertising. We should probably do more to talk about it. It would be more proactive.”

COLLEEN RAFFERTY, CO-OWNER
CHRISTENSEN & RAFFERTY FINE JEWELRY
SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA
   “I think people who love to look at that information in People Magazine and Us Weekly find what celebrities wear interesting. I think one of the challenges today is that a lot of the celebrities are paid to wear the fashions, so it’s lost that flavor of fun. But I think it’s still valid. I think people are paying attention to it.
   “Obviously, when Angelina Jolie wore those very large emerald earrings a few years ago, it was an incredible success across the board, both for fashion earrings and pieces that were much finer. I think it definitely had a great effect.
   “We have pointed out the fact that we have jewelry similar to what was worn by a celebrity on our Facebook page in the past. We’ll certainly comment on that and reference it there.” 

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - June 2013. To subscribe click here.

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