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Georgini's Bridal collection
Georgini's Bridal collection

Beyond the bride and groom

Engagement and wedding rings will always rule the bridal category, but there’s another crop of jewellery items vying for attention. Emily Mobbs reports.
Money might not buy happiness but a recent report shows that Australian couples are giving it their best shot, finding that the average cost of a wedding in Australia is more than $54,000, which is almost double what it was 10 years ago ($28,273).

Secrets Shhh
Secrets Shhh
The Cost of Love survey, conducted by niche consumer magazine Bride to Be, also reported the average wedding would constitute 48 per cent of an engaged couple’s annual income.

Furthermore, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) found there were 121,752 marriages in 2011, a decade-long high and the continuation of a steady increase in marriages since a low point of 103,100 in 2001.

These figures are a clear suggestion that the wedding industry is big business, which is good news for all jewellery retailers and suppliers.

More often than not, the first items that spring to mind when thinking of bridal jewellery are engagement and wedding rings. There’s no denying the value of these items in the retail environment, but there is also a range of other pieces fitting into the wedding category that shouldn’t be ignored.

Take, for example, a pair of earrings that the bride wishes to wear on the special day, or cufflinks the groomsmen will sport.

Weddings present great sale opportunities, not only with brides and grooms, but also with the many friends and family attending the wedding.

On this topic, Bride to Be has further proof, finding that nine out of 10 brides surveyed said they would buy jewellery for their wedding day and spend nearly A$3,000. Of these brides, 80 per cent said they would purchase earrings, 54 per cent bracelets, 41 per cent necklaces and 4 per cent watches.

Grooms don’t appear to be missing out either, with more than A$1,000 being spent on jewellery and accessories, while three out of four brides had already purchased or planned to purchase jewellery for their bridesmaids and attendants.

Evidence is there Judy Cameron, co-founder of Cameron’s Fine Jewellers in Swan Hill, Victoria, attests that people will often purchase jewellery pieces for participants in their wedding.  “Couples are definitely shopping for gifts for their bridal party, with cufflinks being a popular choice for the groomsmen and crystal earrings for bridesmaids,” she says.

The store specialises in custom-made pieces, including engagement and wedding rings, but also has a range of branded jewellery, and Cameron says that Swarovski jewellery has proven popular among brides and bridesmaids due to its affordability.

RJ Scanlan
RJ Scanlan
“They [Swarovski] also have the most amazing toasting champagne glasses and crystal pens for signing the register.”

Cameron adds that customers will occasionally buy precious jewellery items, like gold and diamonds, for mothers in the wedding party.

One supplier taking advantage of this market is Georgini. In 2010, after realising its pieces were favourable among brides, the business launched a stand-alone bridal line.

“We never specifically designed any pieces with bridal in mind; it kind of just happened that a large amount of the range is suitable for brides as well as bridesmaids,” Georgini sales and marketing manager Marissa Gouras says.

Tennis bracelets, antique-style earrings and CZ-set, pearl-drop earrings are reportedly popular items for brides.

Gouras adds that the line has proved successful for retailers because it helped to close a gap in the bridal market, where affordable ranges weren’t being marketed as bridal jewellery and strong brands in the category did not exist.

Peter W Beck
Peter W Beck
NSW-based Hennings Jewellers, which has stores in Narellan, Campbelltown and Camden, is a retailer that has found success by offering a range of branded wedding jewellery. Managing director Craig Moore says Hennings decided that  to offer a specific range of jewellery targeted towards bridal customers after attending a number of bridal shows.

Moore explains that the most popular lines for bridesmaid’s gifts and bridal jewellery are Georgini and Swarovski, both of which are displayed close to the store’s engagement and wedding rings.

Managing director of Ikecho Pearls, Erica Madsen, says the jewellery supplier has experienced an increased demand for bridal jewellery from customers and retailers.

“We have noticed a trend where brides are buying for themselves and their bridesmaids but we are also getting asked by the retailer for point-of-sale posters focusing on just the bridal market and a bridal collection with display stands,” she says.

In response, Ikecho will be launching a specific bridal collection in the next six months.

Another jewellery brand benefitting from purchases linked to weddings is Pandora; however, the company’s Australian president David Allen says this has not always been the case.

“This phenomenon seems to have developed as a trend in line with the growth of successive product lines,” Allen explains. “For example, the introduction of earrings, rings, necklaces and pendants have all proven popular for brides and her maid-of-honour, bridesmaids and sisters.”

With 40 per cent of sales coming from engagement and wedding rings, retailer Secrets Shhh has its fair share of customers searching for additional wedding-related jewellery.

The business, which has four company-owned stores, seven franchised stores and one stockist in Australia, recently launched a fashion bridal collection.

Secrets co-founder Jane Meredith says brides will often purchase a pair of earrings or pendant and chain for their family and friends. Dress rings have also proven popular gifts for mothers, and grooms are said to regularly buy gifts for their bride.

Deidre Bolton, buyer and designer for Bolton Gems, believes women place particular importance on making sure that jewellery worn by a bridesmaid complements the bridesmaid's dress.

“Keep abreast of what is going on with colours in fashion as brides tend to follow whatever colour is hot at that time,” she advises.

Similarly, Cathrin D’Entremont, wedding planner and founder of CD Weddings in Perth, says fashion and colour will heavily influence the type of jewellery that a bride decides to buy for her wedding party.

“The decision will often depend on the theme she’s [the bride’s] going with and also the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses,” D’Entremont explains.

Grab the opportunity
When commenting on how retailers can make the most of potential wedding-related purchases, Jewellery Marketing Solutions co-founder Tony Argyle says they can’t sell what they don’t stock: “Having a range that fits the bill is crucial and training staff to look for the opportunity is more crucial.

"Asking questions will confirm the customer is seeking this type of product and, in many cases, plant the seed that they should consider gifts for the bridesmaids and attendants. We’d recommend preparing a suggestion list of attendant gifts that can be handed out.”

Allen agrees, adding that in order for retailers to capitalise on the opportunity, they need to ensure that the store offers classic “wedding-friendly” jewellery pieces like earrings with pearls and diamonds.

Worth & Douglas
Worth & Douglas
“Suggesting complementary or matching items is a must, particularly at the point of purchasing a wedding band. It is natural for the bride to be thinking about her own bridal accessories and those of her bridal party at this time. Think about earrings, necklaces and bracelets.”

Gouras believes that jewellers can gain the upper hand on this trend by specifically marketing jewellery that fits within the wedding category.

“This communicates to the consumer that you can sell them the engagement ring as well as offering an affordable range of jewellery for the bridesmaids and others,” she says, adding, “Retailers can even up-sell during the purchase of an engagement ring by adding an incentive that encourages the bride to buy additional jewellery for herself or bridal party.”

A note on rings
Yes, stores can profit from offering wedding-related jewellery, but that’s not to say that engagement and wedding rings are any less important.

The Bride to Be survey found that people spend an average of $5,585 on an engagement ring, an increase of 10 per cent from the previous year. Furthermore, $2,684 is spent on wedding bands.

In terms of engagement ring trends, a number of suppliers contacted by Jeweller note a high demand for halo diamond rings. In addition to halo rings, Worth & Douglas director John Worth says traditional solitaire, three-stone in white metal, and rose and white gold combination rings are popular.

He also explains that more couples are asking for bespoke wedding rings.

“We are often asked to custom-make wedding rings to perfectly fit engagement rings and to add or remove diamonds from the original style to match the engagement ring.”

Peter Beck, founder of Peter W Beck, has similar sentiments, saying, “Each and every couple wants their own unique spin on a wedding ring.”

Beck notes that platinum is still a popular metal choice for wedding bands, while palladium is also increasing in demand.

“We still see a very strong trend towards white metals, but yellow gold has not lost its appeal and is still our best-selling metal choice,” he says, adding that the increase in gold prices over the past two years has slightly changed customers’ buying behaviour, but not necessarily in the way he expected. “Some purchases have been for lower weight pieces; however, a shift towards heavier pieces was equally as present, especially for men.”

Bolton Gems
Bolton Gems
RJ Scanlan marketing manager Chris Scanlan has also noted an increase in spending for its men’s wedding ring brand Dora.

“There has been an increase in spending on men’s wedding rings and this has mostly been because of the rise in the cost of gold,” he says.
According to TWM Co. marketing manager Maria Ulas, men are looking for simple wedding ring designs – a marked difference from the intricate bands that were popular two to three years ago.

“Men do seem to be getting a little more adventurous with increased sales in titanium, diamonds and modern styles.”

With no signs of slowing down, the wedding market is a prime sales opportunity – just don’t forget that everyone from a bridesmaid to a mother-in-law will need jewellery for the big day.

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Thursday, 12 December, 2019 03:05am
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