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The evolution of branded jewellery in 2018

Branded jewellery continues to enjoy the spotlight, but has the market changed? Are consumers shifting away from branded products? 

It’s been a few years since retailers and suppliers began grappling with the mega-trend that is branded jewellery. The complex nature of the category can often prove to be an uphill battle, as retailers, suppliers and consumers alike continue to navigate a sometimes-crowded category.

These days, continual shifts in consumer’s buying habits – online only purchases – mean that retailers have had to change their branded jewellery strategies in order to stay competitive.


Not only do retailers need to ensure they’re stocking brands that will offer them a slice of the market but they also must ensure the branded product stays true to their unique store identities.

With this in mind, how can retailers best select the most appropriate collections and make the most of branded jewellery sales?

Embracing the digital era

Today it’s widely accepted that digital marketing is an integral component of a brand’s strategy. Many brands use Facebook and Instagram to increase recognition, draw consumers into their nearest retailer and foster brand loyalty.

Because of this, retailers who stock brands with an established social media presence are already ahead. There’s no need to put in the original heavy marketing groundwork as these brands have already promoted themselves, Guild Jewellery Design managing director Andrew Ioannou says, whose company has the rights to produce jewellery from the Harry Potter and DC Comics universes.

Daniel Bentley
Daniel Bentley

“As any good jewellery store has some kind of online presence, people are recognising brands a lot more than they did five years ago,” Ioannou explains.

“It is not uncommon now for consumers to see one piece of jewellery from a brand and then do a Google search online to see what other products they might like. From there, they can find out which retailers stock the brand and they can visit your store.”

Various suppliers have shared similar sentiments, with West End Collection general manager John Rose stating social media and brands’ online presence can often help retailers nab sales before the customer steps foot in the store.

“Branded jewellery often creates the sale before the customer even walks into the store. Consumers will seek out a brand and then go to stores that they know stock those brands,” he says.


“It makes for a far easier sale in many cases than unbranded jewellery does because retailers can capitalise on the marketing, advertising and brand recognition that branded jewellery offers.”

Collective Designs distributes Italian brand Misani across Australia. Owner Heidi Plentinger agrees that brands with social media presence eases the pressure for retailers.

“Social media drives the recognition and promotion of brands while offering new designs.

This ignites a particular emotion with a consumer to want or need to follow a current brand trend,” Plentinger says.

“Branded jewellery has now become the prominent product in most independent stores with a certain price point. With brands supplying marketing material in store and on social media, this expands the consumer audience. The brand recognition and demand has increased.”

Guild Jewellery
Guild Jewellery

Daniel Bentley, owner of namesake Daniel Bentley Jewellery, agrees that consumers will be drawn to brands they have seen online.

“People like things that they have seen in the media or on personalities they identify with – it’s always been this way,” he notes. “A brand with a distinct style is something people can follow for years if they feel connected to it.”

“I think that when people see our jewellery and hear the stories, they become attached to them in a deep way,” Bentley continues. “This is why our collections have such a strong following with our clients.”

Consumers’ awareness and desire to purchase ethically-sourced products has had some impact on the market, according to Ellendale Diamonds Australia general manager Chris Soklich.

Les Georgettes
Les Georgettes

“We have noticed a growing trend towards origin [provenance]. We are hearing more and more clients searching for Australian origin diamonds. Whether this has been spurred on by the public awareness of the foreclosure of the Argyle diamond mine and the closure of the Ellendale mine, who knows,” he says.

He goes on to explain this increasing consumer trend is not exclusive to the jewellery business.

“It is a trend that all retailers should be aware of; even Coles and Woolworths have to mention where their apples and oranges are grown.”

Getting customers to buy branded
Here, suppliers and retailers offer their tips on how to sell branded jewellery with ease.
“By stocking the brands that suit your image, you are more likely to find success.”
- Judy Cameron, Cameron’s Fine Jewellers
“We talk with other jewellery retailers to find out how brands perform for them. We are all in this together so we are constantly talking to other retailers, sharing our experience.”
- Clyde Vellacott, Jamies Jewellers
“Having a close relationship with our stockists is paramount to us as they represent our brand to their clients.”
- Daniel Bentley, Daniel Bentley Jewellery
“Consumers can go online, do a quick Google search and find out which retailers stock particular brands. It is very important for retailers stocking brands to have an online presence so that consumers make this link and head in-store.”
- Andrew Ioannou, Guild Jewellery Design
“It’s all about presentation. Whenever we are putting any of our brands into any store, the first thing we look at is presentation at the point of sales.”
- John Rose, West End Collection
“If a company doesn’t invest in marketing its products to the general public and solely focuses on marketing within the jewellery industry, we will be less inclined to stock it. A product will do well when its company invests in marketing to the general public and it makes selling the product easier.”
- Bevan Hill, Jewellery By Design
“Know your market and what is going to sell in your outlet and stand firm to your shop brand. Selling pink diamonds set in platinum side by side with Costume jewellery will not work.”
- Chris Soklich, Ellendale Diamonds Australia
Support the team

For retailers looking for advice on which brands to stock, buying groups can help simplify the process. Nationwide Jewellers general manager Colin Pocklington says the saturation of the market means retailers have an opportunity to be particular about which brands they stock.

“Branded jewellery means a greater proportion of the overall stock in a jewellery shop is fashion content, more so than there was before. Retailers therefore have to review their stock more frequently,” he says.

“This means that retailers should be looking at the performance of each brand probably every six months and comparing that to other products in the same category.”

Cameron’s Fine Jewellers general manager Judy Cameron says reviewing a brand’s performance on a biannual basis has been effective for her store in Swan Hill, Victoria.

Guild Jewellery
Guild Jewellery

“Every six months our brands get annualised; if it’s not performing, the brand is deleted and we’re left with space,” Cameron says.

Jamies Jewellers owner, Clyde Vellacott concedes that analysing how brands perform over a six month period is the key to deciding who can stay and who must go.

“The branded jewellery category has become a very crowded space with consumers having more choice than ever before,” Vellacott says. “What is on trend one day is out of fashion the next.”

“As such, we don’t jump into new, untested brands anymore. We watch them for six to 12 months to see how they develop. We embrace brands but we closely monitor their performance – if a brand stalls or drops off, we clear it and introduce something new.”


It really is a matter of survival of the fittest, Pocklington declares.

“Retailers need to identify a brand or a range that isn’t performing well and move out of that first,” he says. “Instead of adding a new brand on top, they should be replacing a weaker brand with a new brand or product range that they’re hoping will do better.”

Fashion and fads

Les Georgettes was conceived in France but the company has since successfully established its presence in Australia with Renaissance Luxury Group.

In order for retailers to stay on top of the game, the company’s vice president, Frederic Brunel-Acquaviva recommends retailers avoid stocking brands that may be but a fleeting trend. A longevity and commitment to the local market is paramount.

Fabuleux Vous
Fabuleux Vous

“The main risk for suppliers and retailers alike in purchasing products is buying into fads,” he says.

“We believe that retailers shouldn’t simply buy into products because they are the trend of the moment. Instead, they should consider the product themselves, as they need to be passionate about selling these items.”

Jewellery by Design business manager Bevan Hill echoes similar sentiments. He recommends retailers to only stock products that meet the desires of their consumer base, as done in his Townsville store.

“You only have so much ‘real estate’ in the shop so when a new brand comes along, and my staff are asking me if I plan to stock it, I have to see that it meets our demographic,” Hill explains.

“If I have 10 or 20 customers asking if we stock it in the space of a week, I know it is in high demand and then I’ll look further into it. Then it is a matter of deciding which brand we currently stock has to go.”

Daniel Bentley
Daniel Bentley

Elray Jewellers manager, Elray Brew looks to a brand’s past in order to predict the success of its future ahead of stocking it in his Kingaroy store.

“Whenever I look to stock new brands, I first consider the brand’s reputation. I check to see if they have won any awards or reached any significant milestones,” he says.

“If a brand has reached a big milestone, like it has been around for a long time, then we will be inclined to stock it because it is a trusted brand.”

Upholding retailer identity

As well as avoiding fads, retailers should also bear in mind that they have their own brands to build and defend. Therefore, stocking brands that interact harmoniously with a store’s own set of values is paramount.

Daniel Bentley
Daniel Bentley

Timesupply managing director Ken Abbott believes retailers should promote reputation and performance as part of a store’s core brand identity.

“If you’ve got strong service then you can build your brand identity around that.

“A person will buy from a retail jeweller that has a strong reputation for service rather than buying online where there’s no interaction or warmth,” Abbott explains.

In some cases retailers make poor buying decisions based on their own personal preferences rather than what their customers prefer.

“Retailers choose brands because they like them, but they may not be successful. Sometimes retailers that have an opportunity to stock a successful brand don’t because they don’t like it.”

Bentley agrees, adding that retailers should strive to stock brands that don’t forfeit their own identity along the way.

Dansk Smykkekunst
Dansk Smykkekunst

“If a retailer considers their store to be inspirational, they should stock brands that reflect that ethos and not follow too much,” he says.

“Inspiring clients with fresh and original designs should be front of mind with retailers and finding brands that match their ideals and identity is super important.”

Plentinger shares the sentiment that retailers must first establish their own distinctive characteristics before settling on brands.

“The retailer needs to put their own identity first and choose brands that reflect themselves. Branding is a visual impact that ignites a connection with an individual that relates to an image or an emotion,” she says.

“Choosing the right brand means believing in what your own story is first and complementing it with a jewellery brand that reflects and fits nicely within your store.”

Looking ahead

The demand for branded jewellery continues to increase and Brunel-Acquaviva believes consumers have the ultimate power in deciding a brand’s fate.

“Over the last few years, we’ve noticed that consumer preferences have shifted away from buying branded jewellery simply because of the brand name. Instead, they are turning to brands that put more emphasis on producing quality products that reflect the consumer’s personal sense of style,” he says.

“In this atmosphere, it’s important for brands to create their own identity with innovative products and merchandising offers that help them stand out from the crowd.”

Abbott agrees that consumers continue to be driven to purchase products with strong design, rather than purchasing on name alone.

Thomas Sabo
Thomas Sabo

“Strong designs will always win because you can’t melt down product in the fashion jewellery market and get it back like you can with a diamond ring. You can’t do that with fashion jewellery,” he says.

“In the end if the product isn’t well designed and the customer doesn’t like it, it isn’t going to succeed. Any consumer really is the biggest contributor to building a brand because there is no brand without them. Our retailers need to remember that.”

Retailers would do well to ensure they are meeting their customers’ wants while balancing their own store’s story against the values of brands they stock. In mastering this balance, retailers can build on the strength of the branded jewellery category while welcoming a wider consumer audience.

Store-ready brands

Here are some key things to remember when stocking new and existing brands in bricks-and-mortar:

Visual merchandising: branded jewellery suppliers invest heavily in providing retailers with clear signage and visual merchandising in order to sell their product. This takes the hassle out of purchasing marketing materials for retailers and helps to catch consumers’ attention.

Don’t spread thin: carrying too many brands can muddy the waters for retailers and that is when they can fall into the trap of losing their store identity. Focus on supplying a few stable brands and expand over time, depending on the floor space required.

Stock and re-stock: ensure bestsellers are frequently reordered. Keeping in contact with suppliers eases this process as they can advise on top-selling products and help to achieve great results.

Conscious uncoupling: ensure brands are distinctly within their own areas on the shop floor. Do not let them mingle with stock made in the workshop as it does little to sell the products as separate entities within their own right.

Less is more: if it feels as though the brands are starting to mingle with other brands and products outside of their allocated area, then the shop floor is probably overstocked. A cluttered display looks cheap and will not result in sales, so cull if necessary.


Ellendale Diamonds Australia

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