H1912 branding blends history with a modern-chic vibe.
1912, an offspring of Hamilton Jewelers, has set out to create a whole new brand experience by concentrating on vintage jewelry and collectible watches artfully displayed in a cool industrial-chic setting.
H1912 is on the same street in the same small town as one of its parent locations of Hamilton Jewelers, but since its 2015 inception, it has carved out a niche for itself that it backs up with a cutting-edge website, charity partnerships and a digital-first marketing plan. The 1912 in its name references the year Hamilton was founded and also plays up the vintage angle.
H1912 offers a unique selection of estate pieces, luxury brands — Cartier, Chanel, Tiffany & Co. — and a large selection of pre-owned timepieces, including Rolex and Patek Philippe.
“Hamilton has been in business for 104 years and we felt this was a good extension of our family of brands,” says VP Anne Russell. “It appeals to a younger client looking for something unique, a one-of-a-kind piece, art deco or even a contemporary piece that we’ve refurbished that makes it a little bit different.”
It’s worked. Younger customers respond to the design of the store and the merchandising concept, as well as the signature music, which is smooth electronic style.
H1912 is also distinctive with its reliance on digital advertising. Although they worked with an agency to develop their e-commerce-enabled website, the rest of their marketing endeavors have been accomplished in-house. “Instagram is the most important vehicle for us,” Russell says.
Design and Display
Interior design makes a branding statement. “I lived in New York for 15 years and I wanted to have something that reminded me of New York, with an industrial chic vibe that isn’t intimidating,” Russell says. The jewelry on display is distinctive, too. They opened up the ceiling to reveal the original beadboard and employed pieces of vintage furniture to add to the vibe. “The thing with vintage jewelry is it can look cool and edited, or it can look like a bunch of stuff. We want to curate an interesting collection that speaks to a found object and a sense of discovery.”
Vintage-jewelry stores can be cluttered. Presenting pieces in a curated presentation makes each jewel special and enhances the feeling of discovering a one-of-a-kind precious object.
The store’s industrial-chic design appeals to millennial shoppers.
Hamilton has a long history of supporting charities in its communities; in fact, it contributes to 100 charities in the communities of Palm Beach, FL and Princeton, NJ. At H1912, they pick one charity every month that needs help and donate a portion of proceeds to that charity. For example, Send Hunger Packing Princeton provides meals to children who are food insecure. “It offers a special opportunity to meet members of the community and to deliver these checks,” Russell says. Another example? The Bag Project provides kids in crisis with emergency and comfort items when they enter a shelter or the foster care system.
They've Got the Juice
H1912 partnered with a local juice store in Princeton, Tico’s, to create their own cold-pressed juice blend they serve to clients. “We wanted to provide something different that sets us apart from other retailers that would also tie in to our upbeat and fun shopping experience,” Russell says. The juice is organic and made of ginger, pear, lemon and mango packaged in 8 ounce glass bottles with H1912’s logo on the front. Clients may keep the bottle and bring it to Tico’s for a discount on their next juice. They’ve also partnered with a local bakery for branded cupcakes.
Weekly email blasts and quarterly mailings are sent to their full client list. Assistant Store Director Lea D’Onofrio posts to social media twice a day, managing all aspects of organic social media. Russell oversees paid social media campaigns. They’ve garnered 1,500 followers on Instagram.
Branding in the Bag
H1912 packaging reflects the modern, industrial-chic look of the concept store.
H1912 reached out to jewelry blogger Danielle Miele of Gem Gossip, after she connected via social media with the store. Miele did an Instagram takeover of the store in 2017, concentrating on vintage jewelry. They plan to connect with other influencers who concentrate on watches and the bridal business. It’s a modern, high-profile form of online advertising.
Although print advertising is next to nil, H1912 is featured on the cover of local Princeton Magazine as well as inside. The editorial staff used H1912 as an inspiration for a vintage gifting special for the holidays in 2017.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 edition of INSTORE.
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