Little layers are offering big opportunities as multiples drive sales at all price points.
Bigger isn’t always better. Lately, oversized statement necklaces have taken a back seat to clean, delicate jewelry of miniscule proportions. This has shown up across the board in earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings, not to mention alternative body jewelry that is increasingly mainstream.
With such similar looks running across fashion, bridge and even fine, are there too many redundancies across all price points? Retailers say no, noting that delicate jewelry’s massive popularity across all “borders” helps everyone.
Erica Russo, Operating Vice President, Fashion Director Accessories at Bloomingdale’s says the delicate trend offers opportunities at all different prices, allowing the consumer to seek it out in various departments. “It all depends on what she’s looking for, her lifestyle habits and how she intends to wear it. Branding can be a factor too, as the jewelry category in totality has exciting new designers at various price points.”
Ali Galgano, founder and CEO of jewelry e-tailer Charm & Chain, notes that look-of-real costume jewelry opens up a new category for self purchase. “Now, women who might have only expected to receive this type of jewelry as a gift can get in on these trends and purchase the styles for themselves.”
Indeed, women are using their own styling expertise to personalize these items on the body. But while dainty, layerable jewelry allows women to style pieces to suit her personality, not all women have the creative confidence to do so. Luckily there’s Instagram, where bloggers, brands and retailers regularly post images of layered jewelry (at press time there were almost 12,000 photos tagged #layerednecklaces on Instagram).
Retailers and e-tailers are also taking helpful steps at the point of sale, and most have added a pull-down category for Layering Necklaces. This subliminally prompts consumers to buy more than one piece, and also lets retailers reap a higher ticket sale from multiple lower-ticket items.
Charming Charlie makes it super easy for customers to assemble layered looks both online and in store, encouraging them to “Go to Every Length.” A three-tiered layering wall shows necklaces of three lengths in increasing order. Customers are encouraged to start at the top then grab one from each successive level to assemble a layered look at an affordable price.
“It can be intimidating for those trying the layering trend for the first time,” says Dawn Harris, Charming Charlie’s Vice President and DMM, Fashion Jewelry. “So we’ve provided guidance online and in-stores, merchandising the assortment by length and making it easier for achieving the perfect pairings. “Necklace layering allows you to add instant impact to any look by simply selecting various lengths, stones and even mixing metals.“
Jewelry retailer and e-tailer BaubleBar has a “Build Your Own Bauble” section on its website, which offers consumers four BYOB (Build Your Own Bauble) options: Build A Charm Necklace ($76+), Build A Bracelet Stack (3 for $58), Build A Layered Necklace (3 for $68) and Play By Ear (3 for $48).
“Our customers love the layering trend, and the Build A Charm Necklace is one of our most popular options,” says co-owner Amy Jain. Interestingly, while consumers are building their own jewelry on the website, a You Might Also Like pop up features layered-in-one necklaces that require no assembly. The site also encourages its customers to post selfies of themselves wearing layered looks.
Charm & Chain also takes a “how to” approach with its customers. “We are a huge proponent of the ‘more is more’ sensibility and love to use our marketing platforms to show our customers how to style together multiple pieces, whether it’s layering delicate necklaces or curating a bracelet stack,” says Galgano. “We’ve found that our customers like to layer what they have and add a new item or two to make the look modern, which makes getting in on the trend a little less daunting. We love to see women styling together the beloved pieces that they already own and adding a trend item like a sleek collar, hand piece, ear cuff or body chain.”
While consumers can always layer additional charms onto a single chain, it can be tougher to layer necklaces that aren’t necessarily made in different lengths. Jewelry company La Soula came up with a solution for its dainty cord and diamond necklaces, as well as its bar necklaces engraved with anything from kid’s names to sentimental messages. The chains have various clasp notches in the back so each can be hooked at a different length, resulting in artfully stepped pendants or bars.
Delicate never has to be dull. There are lots of new ideas happening that are expanding consumer’s minds—just look at the body chains on the Alexander McQueen Spring 2016 runway.
“We’re loving dainty lariats and longer-length pendants that are in line with what’s happening in fashion,” says Bloomingdale’s Erica Russo. “Delicate earrings like ear crawlers and mix and match continue to be important.”
Kathy Thomas, VP/DMM at Belk notes that at the delicate level, semiprecious stones continue to do well in all categories; fine jewelry and modern. “In our more modern categories, it is more about the stone: druzy stones with the glittering effect or pink quartz for example. Crystal is a good way to drive the trend of look of real, as is CZ.”
The trend for goldtone fashion jewelry in look-of-real styling has impacted bridge’s vermeil as well. “24-karat gold over sterling has experienced major growth during the past few seasons,” says Bob Soltys, President of jewelry company Danecraft. “The look of real and high quality are the keys to success here. While there was a major uptick last fall, many retailers attributed it to the fact that this product always performs better in fall. However, that theory was proven wrong during this past spring, where many sold 24-karat gold over sterling at the same pace as in Fall 2014 and have since intensified stock for Fall 2015. To this point, all are very happy they made that decision.”
The key is for retailers to differentiate departments to not show the exact items at different pricepoints. Those who don’t risk not taking advantage of what’s available in the market. “The best retailers show similar styling in two, three or four different metals,” says Soltys. “However, size, weight and manipulations will increase as the price of the metal decreases.”
The price of sterling silver has fallen significantly (at press time it was only $12.87/ounce), so many bridge departments are scaling up the size of the jewelry, leaving the delicate to the fine jewelers and the fashion designers.