Tagged: designer jewelry

Swoonery, a New Way to Buy Designer Jewelry Online

Over the course of my career as a designer and jewelry industry professional working directly with clients I realized how difficult it is for people to buy designer jewelry online. If you do perform a Google search the results you get are depressing. Everything looks the same and generally, the quality of the pieces are all over the place. It’s hard to find fine jewelry that speaks to you and reflects your style.

Brick and mortar jewelry experiences are hardly any better. People walk into a jewelry store and the styles are outdated, the selection is limited and stores rarely have a full range of sizes because the cost of maintaining so much inventory is insanely high.

There are additional reasons that contribute to the difficulty of buying fine jewelry. Over 60% of fine jewelry purchases are gifts but because jewelry is such a personal expression, it’s really hard to choose jewelry for someone else. I am certain that during the course of your lifetime you’ve either received a piece of jewelry and pretended to like it so as not to hurt the giver’s feelings or bought a piece of jewelry for someone else and wondered why the recipient never wears it. In the case of engagement rings, how do you find someone’s ring size without blowing the surprise? Did you know that 95% of engagements are delayed because he doesn’t know your ring size? And here all along we thought it was a commitment issue! Poor guys!

As far as the brands and designers go, the jewelry industry is broken. The current system is inefficient, competitive and places all the financial risk on the designers. Most retailers operate on a consignment model which means the designers have to pay for all their materials up front and commit it to the retailer and they only get paid once the pieces sell. Many designers take out loans in order to fulfill consignment orders and then when pieces don’t sell the retailers return it to them and the designers are stuck with the excess inventory that they then have to sell at a discount–a practice that damages their brand equity. Add to that the financial burdens of marketing and advertising which designers have no choice but to take on in order to get their name out there and it is no wonder designers are struggling to survive. The truth is that smaller designers with unique products and attention to craftsmanship will never be able to compete with the budgets of the larger brands and retailers and as a result they cannot break through the noise and don’t end up connecting with the right consumers.

All this creates a downward spiral and results in consumers feeling frustrated with the generic selection of low quality jewelry flooding the internet and the overwhelming, inconvenient experience when one tries to buy designer jewelry online. In addition, the pressures from the industry forces designers to sell out by using cheaper materials and manufacturing processes in order to survive. The integrity and the human connection of fine jewelry is lost.

This is what inspired me to create Swoonery. It is the first luxury marketplace for designer fine jewelry that gets to know each individual and guides him or her through a shopping experience that adjusts for every interaction. We make it possible for customers to discover the perfect piece of jewelry for their aesthetic and makes the process of buying gifts for someone else easy by connecting you with your friends and allowing you to see what they’ve saved in their Hint Lists and what’s been recommended for them.

Ring sizes are stored in each customer’s account so whether you’re buying for yourself or for someone else, you now know the ring size. Swoonery offers all our designers’ rings in a comprehensive range of sizes and you even have the option of placing a special order if you need a special fit.

We help our designers gain exposure to customers they wouldn’t otherwise have access to by recommending products that are suited to the tastes of each individual and reduce the burden of inventory through our drop ship program.

Swoonery is my labor of love and I hope it opens up a beautiful world of unique, expertly crafted, fine jewelry for our customers and provides a support for all the visionary designers and brands out there to showcase the integrity of their work.

Swoonery, a New Way to Buy Designer Jewelry Online

Here is a promo code for 10% off from yours truly. Go and experience a new way to buy designer jewelry online; feel understood, and please let me know how your experience was in the comments section below.

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP

 

The Not-So-Obvious Way that Fashion Has Impacted the Jewelry Industry

Whenever I see a company buck the status quo and take a calculated risk that actually makes sense in the context of the current market, my belief in mankind is reinforced and I thank goodness for Darwinian instincts. Burberry just announced that it is veering away from the insane Fashion Week schedule and instead combining men and women’s runway shows together into two annual events. This is streamlined approach is a reaction to the unsustainable fashion week schedule that has resulted in the burnout of brilliant creative minds such as Raf Simmons, John Galliano and Alber Elbaz. I believe that other fashion houses will quickly follow suit because this non-seasonal approach both reflects current consumer behavior and relieves quite a bit of financial strain and waste in the industry. I am cautiously optimistic that this sudden wash of sanity over the fashion industry will have a positive affect on jewelry designers and the jewelry industry as well.

In recent years, due to the prevalence of e-commerce and digital media, the jewelry industry has realized that branding is crucial to a company’s survival. In this new and exciting digital world we live in no one will find you without a brand presence. As the jewelry industry is moving away from the unbranded mom and pop model to one where brands rule, jewelry designers now have to show during fashion weeks in addition to the traditional jewelry show circuit and their own trunk shows for their private clients twice a year. Is it any wonder that more and more jewelry companies are finding this landscape unmanageable and struggling to survive?

In addition to the physical and mental strain designers are facing, the pressure from multi-category fashion retailers to create collections on the fashion schedule are placing a huge financial burden on jewelry designers as well. I’ve always been quite vocal about my disagreement with this approach. Fine jewelry is much more capital-intensive than fashion and it is absolutely absurd to expect jewelry designers to come up with two or three collections a year. It puts a huge financial strain on designers and when the pieces don’t sell because of their higher price points it is the designers who suffer. Fashion retailers bear none of the financial risk because they take all the jewelry on consignment need only return the jewelry to the designers to wash their hand of the inventory.

The designers on the other hand are caught in a vicious downward spiral because they are now stuck with “last season’s” inventory that no one thinks is relevant anymore. They then have to offload the inventory somewhere either by discounting or selling to a secondary market like Gilt or outlet malls. Once a brand’s discounted jewelry floods the market its brand equity will suffer and it is unlikely that the brand will ever be able to regain the luxury cache it once had. In order to maintain margins and survive they have no choice but to start cutting costs, using lower quality materials and manufacturing and before long brand is a shell of its former self with little integrity or pride in its product remaining.

What is the solution then? Taking cue from Burberry’s brave decision to do the sensical thing is a step in the right direction. Designers should review their business models and retail relationships and ask whether those arrangements make sense for their business after reviewing the long-term financial costs of working with certain retailers. Seek out partners who are willing to have aligned interests, have shared values and are structured in ways that will support growth and build brand equity.

This has been our mission at Swoonery and the designers who work with us agree. There is no feeling like hearing from our brands that they finally feel that a retailer is on their side and building with them rather than at their expense. It is my hope that by lifting much of the financial risk off our brands’ shoulders and creating win-win situations for everyone at each stage we will recreate the jewelry industry into one that is beautifully efficient–one where unique aesthetics abound, quality and integrity in craftsmanship can shine and people can once again discover and develop personal connections to fine jewelry in a meaningful way.

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP

Raising the BaubleBar in Fashion Jewelry!!!

 

OK, if you haven’t already heard of BaubleBar, let me enlighten you about my newest crush.  We’ve all heard about mixing high-low ad nauseam, Galliano with J.Crew, Lanvin with Massimo Dutti, etc. etc.  But for the most part I have been unable to find really great designs at the lower end of the price range that are well-made AND well-designed.  So when I stumbled upon BaubleBar, I went a little overboard.  Seriously!

BaubleBar does fashion jewelry better than anyone else I’ve seen out there (OK, there are a few and yes you know who you are and you have or will be mentioned so don’t get grumpy!).  In particular, I LOVE LOVE LOVE BaubleBar’s collaborations!  They just finished a project with Erickson Beamon (one of my top 5 designer costume jewelry houses) and they still have a few pieces left here and are currently collaborating with DKNY.  Bet part of all?  At price ranges starting around $20 its guilt free like Fro-Yo!  Here are some things I have my eye on:

Raising the BaubleBar in Fashion Jewelry!!!
Erickson Beamon earrings for BaubleBar, here. I may have bought the last pair my DMD darlings, but rest assured, they are being re-stocked soon!
Raising the BaubleBar in Fashion Jewelry!!!
BaubleBar Tortoise Cuff, here.
Raising the BaubleBar in Fashion Jewelry!!!
BaubleBar, Black Gypsy Drops, here.
Raising the BaubleBar in Fashion Jewelry!!!
Motley Tie Strand, here.
Raising the BaubleBar in Fashion Jewelry!!!
Stack and layer, layer and stack! Oceana necklace shown here.

BaubleBar beauties are perfect for stacking, you can drape a boat-load around your neck and still have change left over for cocktails!  YAY!  Oh, and hint, they have Twitter feed necklaces.  I was debating on whether or not I should disclose this considering that I haven’t yet received mine but alas, altruism reigns.  They are like name necklaces except with twitter handles (@DelivMeDiamonds, @Jeanzpoh).  CRUSH!.  Apparently BaubleBar is revamping its Vault and will reveal a new loyalty program come April 30th so stay tuned.

Until then. . .

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP

Fenton/Fallon

My goldfish memory didn’t fail me this time!  As promised, I shall enlighten those who haven’t discovered the wonder that is Dana Lorenz on the designer behind Fenton and Fallon.  If you haven’t heard the names Fenton, Fallon or Dana Lorenz dropped around yet then you’ve been living under a rock.  Ms. Lorenz is a darling of the fashion world and has been taking the costume jewelry world by storm since 2006.  The designer uses metals, rhinestones, crystals, feathers, leather, fur(!) and any other material she can get her paws on to create irreverent punk-meets-upper-east-side inspired gorgeousness.  I’m predicting that Ms. Lorenz will be a funkier downtown-Miriam Haskell for our times.

Fenton/Fallon
Fenton Fonssagrives Earrings

Ms. Lorenz has collaborated with Proenza Schouler and Thakoon for runway, done capsule collections for J.Crew (I told you J.Crew sometimes comes out with some damn good costume jewelry) and Opening Ceremony.  You can find Fenton/Fallon in my happy places Barney’s, Ikram, Colette, 10 Corso Como (Milano), Dover Street Market (London), Luisa via Roma, Liberty and Lane Crawford.  I am still slightly shocked that my second home (Bergdorfs) doesn’t carry her line but fear not my happy place online (www.modaoperandi.com) is hosting a Fenton trunk show until March 27th!

Fenton/Fallon
Fenton Vanderbilt Bib Necklace

Fallon is the younger sister of the designer’s Fenton label and consists of more staple/layering pieces—no sleek way to say it so I’m just going to have at it—its a lower price point as well.  If Fenton is your Rick Owens leather jacket, Fallon is the Alexander Wang T-shirt you layer under it.  Get me?  Good.  Now be off and seek out your pretties and remember to blink once in a while—we don’t need you giving yourself diamond blindness.

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP

 

All the Shiny Things

Hello darlings!

Most of you don’t know me yet but rest assured, soon enough you will.  I am on a mission to surround myself, and you, with beautiful things.  Jewelry is a huge space.  There is fine jewelry, costume jewelry, vintage baubles, fashion bling, where does one start?  It’s not as simple as the four-C’s my dearees, and the four-C’s are not a cake-walk by any means, trust me, I have a degree in diamonds.

Now just because I am in the business of bespoke fine jewelry does not mean that I discriminate against the other types.  Oh no!  I will take it all thank you.  Little caveat here for those of you who are wondering, what’s “fine” jewelry and what’s “costume”?  Fine jewelry is a term used for jewelry made out of precious stones and metals (diamonds, rubies, sapphires, platinum, gold and silver).  Costume jewelry is made everything else (glass, lucite, enamel, rhinestones, crystals, Swarovski crystals, etc.).  I hear so many people say, “I only wear fine jewelry” blah blah blah, well honey, if that’s the case you’re missing out!  Lets be honest, at some point it just gets too damn exy (expensive) to make huge SWOON-worthy pieces out of diamonds and colored stones all the time!  Sometimes you just want the look of enamel or lucite or glass!  Lets also bust another myth while we’re at it—just because its costume doesn’t mean its cheap!

I recently began collecting vintage costume pieces (anything before 1993 is considered vintage) and I am a little (a lot) hooked.  When I say collecting vintage pieces let’s be clear that there are the investment pieces (Gripoix, Schreiner, Hobé, Zoe Coste, etc.) and then there are the randoms.  The investments have excellent craftsmanship and are usually made with the same techniques and attention to detail as fine jewelry.  The stones are set in prongs or bezel settings, not just slapped on with Elmers glue.  If you don’t know what a prong or bezel setting is, don’t fret my pet, we’ll get there in another post.  I have nothing against the randoms if you are having a fashion moment and you just need a piece to complete a certain look.  However, I would always look for a well-made, quality piece before I buy something from a high-street store (like H&M, etc.) that is shoddily made.  The one exception here is J.Crew.  J.Crew makes good costume jewelry. . .sometimes (remind me to get into detail about J.Crew and collaboration with Fenton/Fallon back in 2010).

Let me leave you with this: don’t discriminate against your sparklies—they all deserve to be loved whether they’ve been forming in the earth for hundreds of millions of years or pressed out of glass last month.  But please, I implore you, don’t buy junk.  It’s not worth it.  Go for quality and craftsmanship in whatever you buy and each time you buy a piece understand that you are curating your own jewelry collection.  In my coming posts I will explain how to tell the difference between investments and randoms, train your eye, maintain your baubles and curate a covetable collection of your own.

As always. . .

Big Kiss and Bigger Diamonds,

JZP