K&M has been a leader in the fashion jewelry business since its founding by Arthur Maier in 1959. The modern day organization was formed when in 1995 K&M became a division of American Biltrite, Inc. and then in 2001 established the Vendôme Division when K&M bought the women’s costume jewelry division of Swank. K&M has developed into a multi-divisional supplier of fashion accessories focusing on all channels of retail. The company prides itself on “its reputation, dedicated team of employees, quality of goods, attention to detail and customer support and service. Our biggest assets are our associates.”
Accessories caught up with Todd Marcus, President, Vendôme, to discuss K&M’s past, present and future.
How long have you been with the company?
Exhilarating! Each day in the jewelry business is an adventure that permits precious little time to sit still. After about 1-hour of catching up on emails and phone calls each morning, I run from meeting-to-meeting collaborating on sales presentations, operations improvement opportunities and product development reviews.
What is your favorite part of this industry?
The creativity. Creativity is truly at the heart of everything we do, whether it is the product or the process we are constantly innovating…
What have been some of the biggest challenges in the market lately?
Downward price pressure and compliance issues related to Prop 65 testing and customer requirements. Thankfully, the entire K&M organization is constructed to handle these challenges with a robust overseas office and excellent operation processes and efficiencies that make us a leader in the industry.
What are the newest and exciting changes in the marketplace lately?
The continued growth of online opportunities remains an area of excitement. Established jewelry wholesalers are still scratching the surface of what can be achieved in luring the impulse shopper to our product category. Also, the need for additional consolidation within the vendor community keeps me continually engaged.
As a licensee of brands and a private label supplier, the social media activity we participate in is managed by our retail and licensor partners. We support their initiatives by providing content and feedback.
Does your company have any important milestones coming up?
K&M parent company American Biltrite recently turned 105 years old!
Are you launching anything new for Fall/Holiday 2014?
Yes! We will be launching a new brand license later this year that will be a huge success! But, I cannot announce the name of the brand until closer to the launch date – stay tuned! Additionally, we have just signed an agreement to acquire the assets of Scorpio Accessories and are looking forward to synergies provided by this partnership.
In terms of styling, what are you focusing on for the Fall/Holiday season? What’s the newest, exciting trends??
There are so many trends that it is hard to name just one! Our design and merchant teams are focused ion hitting the right trend, for the right customer. For some accounts that means the latest in body jewelry, slave bracelets, midi rings and edgier new looks and for others it is the timeless classic hoop earring that is making a comeback.
Clearly for us it is the GUESS and Elie Tahari inspiration that drives our branded business…
Are there any celebrities, bloggers, movies, TV, music festivals, etc., that are driving trends for you lately?
Definitely the Coachella music festival has had an influence on many of our product lines. Additionally, we will be working with numerous celebrity trends as we supply goods to shows like HSN’s Hot-in-Hollywood with the latest trending products. Pop culture moves at lightning speeds and we are always looking out for who may be next to capture their 15 minutes of fame!
K & M was featured in Accessories magazine’s June issue: A look at 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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