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Articles from STERLING SILVER JEWELLERY (853 Articles), RINGS - GENERAL (836 Articles), RINGS - WEDDING (204 Articles)










Cracking the code: how to sell jewellery to men

Selling to men is thought to be easier than selling to women … until it comes to jewellery. EMILY MOBBS speaks with a ring of jewellers who think they may have cracked the code.

Popular culture would have everyone believe that men have been trying to understand the ‘complexities’ of women since the dawn of humanity. Marketers especially have spent generations in search of defining what women want. Selling to men on the other hand is considered less of a puzzle.

Perhaps this is true when marketing consumer electronics, automobiles and any other male-dominated categories but selling to men is no easy challenge amongst jewellery circles in Australia and New Zealand where females rule the sales.

Men’s jewellery typically takes a backseat to other categories in retail stores, often because it forms a smaller portion of business; however, there are jewellers who are adamant that this category deserves some much-needed attention.

“Men now like to accessorise more than ever, so we would be missing out on an ever-growing market if we weren’t to stock men’s jewellery,” Rachael Hogan of Goldsmith Jewellers says.

Pastiche
Pastiche

Hogan is stock control manager of Goldsmith Jewellers, which has three stores in Darwin. She states the business has always offered basic men’s jewellery in the way of wedding bands and rings but that sales in fashion-based pieces have achieved a huge increase in the last three to five years.

A long way south in regional Victoria, Stephens Jewellers operations manager Frank Sagoleo notes that his male customers are more fashion-focused than ever before.

“We have been selling men’s jewellery since the opening of the store in 1994; however, this [offering] has evolved from a small selection of traditional gold tie bars, cufflinks and pens to now stocking a large selection of sterling silver, stainless steel, titanium and tungsten gent’s product,” he explains.

“Our business model has moved away from traditional men’s giftware and we now concentrate on new trends in men’s jewellery, be they branded or just new styles,” Sagoleo says of the retailer’s three stores, one being in Echuca and two in Shepparton.

What men want

Interestingly, the group of jewellers contacted for this story believe that branding, which is thought to be a significant driver of a female’s purchasing decisions, has less currency with men.

Sagoleo does state that the number of branded men’s jewellery purchases is definitely increasing but adds that style of product remains important.

Melia Borg, owner of Sunkissed Creations Jewellery in Perth, says it’s difficult to judge if men shop by brand. Rather, she believes that “the male customers have shopped by the style that takes their fancy”.

‘Style’ is a word used by several retailers when asked what it is that attracts a male to a piece of jewellery. Sharon Bell is a buyer for Hosking’s Jewellers, which has 13 stores in Victoria.

“We look for on-trend pieces that combine leather and stainless steel or ceramic,” she explains. “Men are less concerned with the metal types; they are searching for ‘a look’ at a price.”

For Vivienne Cann of Indigo’s in Western Australia, hardwearing pieces with strong clasps are key components in a successful men’s range, while Judy Cameron of Cameron’s Fine Jewellers comments that custom-made items are popular at her store in Swan Hill, Victoria.

A selection from Display Plus Imports
A selection from Display Plus Imports

“We do a lot of custom makes for men and I think a lot of other stores don’t see this as a growing trend but men want individual as well,” Cameron says, adding that bespoke isn’t limited to wedding rings. “I do right-hand rings for men as well, usually for special gifts, significant birthdays or anniversaries.”

It appears that Aussie males like to be kept on their toes and are often attracted to the unexpected and pieces out of left field.

Lindy du Moulin is the owner of women’s and men’s jewellery and leather retail store Teddy Sinclair in the Blue Mountains, NSW. In 2013, the business expanded to cover the existing retail space as well as the one next door, which is when the Teddy Sinclair Man Cave was born.

As the name suggests, the Teddy Sinclair Man Cave provides a dedicated space for males where they can browse a range of giftware and jewellery, including ‘funky’ silver pieces designed in-house, leather bracelets from the likes of Antonio Ben Chimol and Display Plus Imports (DPI), and plenty of other items from local designers – think cufflinks made from watch parts and a ‘serious’ collection of skulls in various forms.

Display Plus Imports
Display Plus Imports

“Finding something that the guys haven’t seen everywhere is important, as is displaying it in a way that men find interesting so it’s not all about the products being sold but the experience of discovering something they like amongst the things they see,” du Moulin says.

Coveting fresh ideas

According to DPI general manager Justin Meath, a desire to know ‘what’s new’ best summarises the current attitude from the supplier’s stockists, which he says is in line with requests from the end-consumer.

“We’ve seen the drop in development from overseas factories so we are not surprised by this. By introducing our own new developments/ideas, it has given our sales a real kick,” he explains, adding, “Yes they [men’s tastes] have been quite conservative but that theory can also be contributing to the industry’s current lull. The next generation of young men don’t want the look of yesterday and our sales are showing this.”

Pastiche
Pastiche

Disney Couture is another supplier hoping to entice with the ‘new’ factor. Managing director Michael Tran says the Star Wars Disney Couture range marks the supplier’s first foray into the men’s market.

“When we began exploring the concept of a Star Wars collection, our natural instinct was to enter into the men’s arena,” he says. “There is definitely a gap in the market for smart, sleek, well-priced, understated men’s accessories.”Tran explains that the range has been carefully curated for the contemporary man and Star Wars fans alike and includes smart watches, leather wrist bands, slimline necklaces featuring popular Star Wars characters, cufflinks and money clips – all incorporating hidden tech-hardware.

With Disney Couture adding yet another contender to the men’s jewellery sector, it would appear that jewellers have plenty of options to satisfy customers. This news should please retailers, given that many believe one of the keys to success is having a broad offering.

Cudworth Enterprises
Cudworth Enterprises
Cudworth Enterprises
Cudworth Enterprises

“Even though men’s jewellery is a smaller part of our business it is still necessary to carry a good range. It’s exactly like baby jewellery, if you do not have a range you cannot make a sale,” Cameron says, emphasising the importance of “having a core offering of fashion items and also a core offering of fine men’s jewellery”.

Similarly, Hogan states, “We would have the largest range in our area of men’s jewellery, so a huge variety definitely helps to increase sales as it caters for all tastes.”

Cudworth Enterprises director Darren Roberts says the Australian and New Zealand markets are generally conservative; however, the supplier, which has been distributing men’s jewellery to the local industry since 1918, has experienced an increase in demand for leather and stainless steel collections.

Display Plus Imports
Display Plus Imports

It seems local male consumers are favouring a cross-section of products, with jewellers recording strong sales in not only traditional cufflinks, tie bars, stainless steel and sterling silver jewellery but also plaited leather bracelets and items made from alternative metals such as tungsten.

On show

Turning the focus to presentation, Carol Schefe of Coomber Bros Jewellers in Queensland says she schedules a front window display once a year, usually for Father’s Day, and has a permanent cupboard containing men’s jewellery.

“This [cupboard] does get moved around all the time as does all our jewellery to make people look at different things,” Schefe says. “A lot [of customers] think we have heaps of new jewellery but it’s more that we have changed cupboards and reorganised it.”

Cann takes a different approach: “We tend not to move our men’s jewellery display too much because the customer kind of knows where to look for it. We have an open stand and then we have a closed cabinet with the more expensive pieces. We have them both just as you walk in, not too far into the store because they [men] don’t like to get too far in.”

Feedback from retailers about current demand in the category as a whole is a mixed bag – some report that sales are increasing, others say the market has been steady for years, while others still have noticed a drop.

Regardless of this, all were adamant that it was important to have a men’s jewellery offering. To raise Cameron’s point again: “If you do not have a range you cannot make a sale.”

That’s probably a good place to start when it comes to understanding what a man wants.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emily Mobbs • Former Editor

Emily Mobbs is editor of Jeweller. She has more than 8 years' experience in trade publishing and reports on various aspects of the jewellery industry.

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