This article is written by Joanne Varney who holds a BA (Hons) in Jewellery and Silversmithing and is part of the Cooksongold team.
As with every large product group, there is usually a percentage which remains unchanged from year to year and forms the main stay of the range. This is known as the core range. Findings and stones are no exception to this and you will find many items remain unchanged from catalogue to catalogue. They become classics that you come to rely on as a jewellery maker, and know you will go back to time and again.
However, it is always fun to try something new and a good way to do this is to tap into some of the jewellery trends of the moment. If you know what to buy, your new purchases will become less of a gamble with customers, many of whom will already be aware of what is ‘on trend’.
You don’t have to become a diehard fashionista to achieve this, instead simply arm yourself with a few relatively basic pieces of information based around themes, forms and colour. There are many complex factors that dictate global trends from economic to environmental issues and to understand them fully is not necessary for our purposes.
Instead concentrate on the more tangible pieces of information for example: The Guild of Jewellery Designers has a review of Trends Autumn/Winter 2011 available to view on their website (http://bit.ly/oqu1PH) . In it they describe five themes they are tipping and within those themes are indications of larger scale pieces, layering/stacking and a move away from precious metals due to costs.
This could be interpreted in a number of ways, here is just one:
- Pendants can be hung on leather cord, coloured silks or rubber. Offer a choice with each sale or better still, sell each item with a selection of options e.g. Silver chain, neutral leather cord and vibrant coloured silk. This will allow your customer to layer, but also partake in a degree of customisation which has been a massive trend for many years now. Many of the major chain stores offer sets or groups of jewellery for sale now which has been extremely successful as they represent great value for money. Even as designer/jewellers we all need to be aware that now more than ever people want value for money.
- Scale can be tricky to overcome without incurring significant cost. One way to achieve this is to use ‘found’ or recycled objects collected from charity shops or flea markets. Another is to use crystals or beads to create bold statement pieces. Swarovski produce a fabulous range of stunning pendants and beads in a myriad of colours, many of which are quite large. They too are a great reference point for trend information as they produce what they call ‘Gem Visions’ trend predictions each year (http://bit.ly/qUrtHF). This is a great resource for colour information. Published in June of this year ‘Gem Visions 2012’ amongst other things is highlighting neutral tones, black and white and earth tones of orange and red to be big next year. Get your ranges ‘on trend’ by incorporating some Fire Opal, Topaz or Light Siam Beads or why not try one of the Designer Edition ‘Devoted to You’ Astral Pink Heart pendants which ticks a multitude of trend boxes!
As you can see, being trend aware within jewellery and components doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply taking some time to do some internet research can have extremely beneficial results. Your customers will be impressed if you can reference your jewellery to a particular trend of the moment and it also means that your range will be regularly refreshed which keeps things interesting.