The 1928 Jewelry Company was founded in 1968 by Mel Bernie in Burbank, California. Mel’s initial “vision” was pretty, feminine jewelry designed to the opulence and glamour of the ’20s, an aesthetic that is still at the core of the company today. Distinctive castings, rich color and dedication to quality are just a few of the practices that have insured success 46 years later.
Accessories caught up with Mary Auer, 1928’s vice president of sales, to discuss the company’s past and future:
How long have you been with the company? I first came to work for Mel in 1988. After departing to launch Fendi Fashion Jewelry and Liz Claiborne watches, I returned to 1928 in 2008. So in essence – 10 of those 26 years have been with The 1928 Jewelry Company.
What is a typical day like for you? A typical day for me is filled with communication. I still like to connect with “voice” (by phone) but know the value of emails for quick thoughts. We review sales constantly. By style, by price etc. Much of the day is product development and exploring concepts using the analysis provided by the sales team. The days are long but productive.
What is your favorite part of this industry? My favorite part of the industry is the pace. Coming from Cosmetics (at a time when new color was introduced 3 times a year) to an industry with 5 markets was energizing. The spontaneity and opportunity to do exclusive product development adds so much to the “sheer fun” factor.
What have been some of the biggest challenges in the market lately? I believe the end consumer is the biggest challenge in the market today. That may sound simple but she is definitely changing the game. With the proliferation of Designer brands, the national pastime of celebrity worship and a consumer that must be “current” – success requires extreme flexibility and risk taking. Always did, but it seems more extreme now.
What are the newest and exciting changes in the marketplace lately? In fashion jewelry departments there are areas that are growing that truly reflect consumer trends. Open sell footprints are expanding- they reach the customer who wants speed and prefers self selection. Exclusive assortments and brands for retail partners continue to dominate our conversations as limited space means “point of difference”.
Are you launching anything new for Fall/Holiday 2014? We will continue to expand the Downton Abbey assortment with “look of real” designs in colors that reflect the popular jewels of that era. There is great reception for our TRU Collection which is made in LA and captures the “global organic” movement. We presented new Talisman elements at May market. As for “trend”, the statement neck continues to be a dominant classification. We are adding some of our signature “touches” with hematite and copper plating and interesting “washes” to create holiday drama. There is a new silhouette we are working on that we affectionately call the “Deep V” and it has generated positive reviews from retailers. It will be launched in a key item assortment in rich jewel tones with tonal plating. A sexy new style addition to our brand.
Which designers/runway fashion shows have been most influential for you in terms of planning your Fall/Holiday line? For Fall we like Lanvin for Chunky Chain, Valentino had fabulous oversized novelty pendants. Dolce and Gabbana for grand filigree which we shipped earlier in the spring. All are very wearable when interpreted for the mainstream which we did for Fall 2014.
How do you use social media and how has it helped your brand? 1928 Jewelry actively engages our customer through Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. We are working on a design scholarship and hope to see that come to fruition for the 2014/2015 academic calendar, rewarding creativity for design and content. We are working on some very exciting interactive elements on our site that will be for exposure to design students only.
Are there any celebrities, bloggers, movies, TV, music festivals, etc., that are driving trends for you lately? Celebrities are very aware of their “brand.” With social media, celebrity branding has immediate “reach” to their fan base and ultimate customer. With our proximity to the studios and our ability to design and manufacture limited quantities, Christina Lovejoy, our Design Director has been able to capture this growing segment of the business. It’s fun and exciting – and she is a master at “pampering.”
1928 Jewelry Company was featured in Accessories magazine’s June issue: A look a who and what is hot now–in product, brands, stores, pop culture, business, social media, e-commerce, apps, runway trends, technology, startups, museum exhibits and much, much more!
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