Customer Types: Special Couture Preview
BY CINDY EDELSTEIN AND TRACE SHELTON
Published in the May 2012 issue
hen a customer first walks into your store, you can’t help but size her up, right? You check out her shoes, her jewels and notice her status purse or lack thereof. According to Malcolm Gladwell in his bestselling book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking: “Snap judgments are enormously quick. They rely on the thinnest slices of experience ... they are also unconscious.” In fact, Gladwell says a judgment is usually made in less than three seconds.
While you never want to pre-judge a customer’s buying power, it’s important to figure out your customer’s style — and recognize that they could be a hybrid of more than one type. After all, it’s your job to help her find the jewelry that makes her heart skip a beat. So while her expensive, flowing maxi dress might scream “haute hippie,” you have to look deeper and ask some questions to make sure she’s not looking for jewelry that speaks to her new legal career. Or her sister’s modern wedding.
You can put her at ease by starting off each conversation with jewelry that best matches her current look while you ask the right questions to find out what she’s really searching for. With any luck, your first guess at “edgy,” “frilly,” “sophisticated” or “minimalist” will be right on the money!
For this story, we’ve asked five Couture retailers to choose jewelry from a selection of Couture designers for some of our most popular and relevant “customer types” from the past. We hope you enjoy this special Couture preview, and that it may help you find the next jewelry line that your type of customer will covet in 2012.
Presented by Amie Guarino Yadouga, Louis Anthony Jewelers, Pittsburgh, PA
Personally, I have more of an eclectic style. There’s a lot of diversity in Pittsburgh, but if a customer is more artistic or fashion-forward, I definitely identify with that. I always encourage women that there are no rules in jewelry: the only rule is that you feel amazing when you put it on. When you put together your own look through various colors of metals and stones, you can really have a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.
These earrings are inspired by the weightless movement of the ocean, and yellow gold always reminds me of the sun. They feel like breathing open air, brightness and warmth, and the scattered diamonds give them an easy feel.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 14K yellow gold earrings with diamonds from the Narissa collection by Alex Woo
RING: Setting stones in unusual ways is definitely a hippie idea — more counter-culture, more rebellious. What better way to buck tradition than to wear a statement cocktail ring with the diamonds set upside down and a beautiful center stone?
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 18K yellow gold cocktail ring with peach moonstone and cognac diamonds set upside down by Ana Stein for Anahita
CUFF: The Haute Hippie is in touch with nature. This cuff features stones shown in their natural state, and their raw beauty really shines through.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Cuff in 18K rose gold and silver featuring rose cut white diamond (0.18 TCW), rose-cut brown diamond (0.88 TCW), Mexican boulder opal, white Zebu horn and gun barrel stainless steel by Federica Rettore
NECKLACE: This necklace is easy, beautiful, and simple. Orange is so big right now, and this palette is neutral enough to wear year-round and with many different wardrobe options.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Ice Cube necklace in 18K gold featuring Madera citrine, citrine and smoky quartz by Allia
Presented by Ellen Hertz, Max's, St. Louis Park, MN
For the full-figured woman, our goal is to draw attention to her face and try to steer her away from things that are too small or too dainty, things that will get lost. The spirit of jewelry is self-adornment and should help express your personality, and we want to make sure we’re doing that with her. Like any customer, we want to get a feel for her personal style, understand why she’s buying, and then find out what works best for her.
RING: There’s a lot of detail going on in the ring, so it’s interesting without being super-huge. It won’t get lost on her hand, but it won’t be overwhelming.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 18K and diamond Circle Set ring with Mandarin garnet center stone and 14 diamonds (0.46 TCW) by Alex Sepkus
EARRINGS: The teardrop shape will be elongating and has some movement at the top. That movement is always flattering, but especially on someone a little fuller. It’s a nice use of color, incorporating the orange that is popular this summer, and the tribal influence will bring a lot of interest from her friends.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Handmade earrings featuring Silver 925, black onyx, gray and white water pearls, pyrite, and Murano glass by Ziio Italy
NECKLACE: She’ll go for a bolder necklace that has some mass to it. It will be somewhat oval or V-shaped on her neck, which should be slimming. The fashionista doesn’t want something dainty compared to a big neck — it would not look right proportionally.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 18K yellow and rose gold Avantgarde necklace with black and white mother of pearl by Chimento
BANGLES: Her face should be the focal point, so as we move down her body, we want less mass in her jewelry. Bangles aren’t too heavy but they won’t get lost. When she gestures with her hands, the bangles will separate, creating a lighter presence.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Old World Collection midnight and yellow gold bangles with white diamonds and white sapphires by Armenta
Presented by Janice Blumberg and Matina Saltsman, Be On Park, Winter Park, FL
We would tell the Modern Bride that these pieces are terrific for your wedding day all together, but thereafter, they each stand on their own. You buy a piece not just for the day, but for you, something that says something about you and that you will wear forever. There are so many pieces of jewelry out there that you could pull together, but they might not be pieces you’ll save in your jewelry box. Jewelry is meant to be worn.
EARRINGS: Because the dress is long and flowing, we wanted everything to be loose and comfortable. These earrings could also be paired up nicely with a fresh white shirt and jeans.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 18K and diamond Sticks and Stones earrings with two diamonds (0.11 TCW) and labradorite drops by Alex Sepkus
RING: The size gives it a punch while the blue just sits there — this look won’t take away from her left hand. I visualize her wearing this on her index finger to give it even more of a modern look.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 18K gold ring from the Reina collection with blackened silver dome top with sapphires and diamonds by John Apel
NECKLACE: Here’s something old, something new, something bold, something blue. It’s romantic yet timeless. The bride with the sweeping dress, all eyes are on her, and they’ll start with her eyes and follow the dress down. The first piece they’ll see is the necklace.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Blue sapphires cross necklace in 22K gold, oxidized silver and diamonds by Arman Sarkisyan
BANGLE: Nothing is more beautiful than a classic white gold diamond bangle, and the accents of the moonstone will pick up the blue hues from the sapphires. We feel that moonstone is the new pearl!
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Moondance collection 18K white gold and diamond leaf moonstone bangle (1.40 TCW) by Penny Preville
The Bold Minimalist
Presented by Adam Gorman, I. Gorman, Washington, DC
The bold minimalist customer usually thinks of herself as understated in her taste, yet wants her jewelry to make a statement. I would ask her questions about her lifestyle. Is she casually dressed most of the time or does she regularly dress up for evenings out? Is she professionally dressed during the week or a stay-at-home mom? During the sales presentation, I would focus on bolder, single items that can stand alone, rather than recommending two complementary items that can be worn together.
EARRINGS: This earring is the perfect dichotomy between a rock-n-roll and an elegant vibe. The black diamonds and bold red jade make them ideal for a monochromatic, simple outfit.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Phoenix earrings in 18K black gold, black diamonds and red jade nephrite by Carla Amorim
RING: It doesn’t get any more playful. The brightly colored plastic bands combined with rich pearls make the rings great for a day at the pool or the beach. I would pair these with colorful gemstone stud earrings and a muted pastel outfit.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Ring 750 in rose or white with South Sea or Tahitian cultured pearl, lemon quartz, smoky quartz, amethyst or blue topaz by Gellner
MSRP: Price on request
NECKLACE: Munsteiner cut gemstones are the epitome of strong, artistic simplicity. The natural inclusions allow the piece to feel like it is in its original form, yet the faceting adds creativity.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Necklace featuring tourmalated quartz (111.85 carats) in 18K gold and platinum by Atelier Munsteiner
MSRP: Price on request
CUFF: This wide cuff bracelet evokes a sense of true drama without the fuss. The pear shaped organic diamonds have a whimsical attitude, yet there is a serious personality. The width makes it the perfect piece to wear solo.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 18K gold and sterling silver with patina featuring cascading natural colored pear shaped fancy cut diamonds (19.14 TCW) by Todd Reed
The Chief Executive
Presented by Olivia Cornell, Cornell's Jewelers, Rochester, NY
For the Chief Executive — or any client — I want to know what she’s trying to achieve. For example, one of my customers lives on the phone, so she never takes off her diamond studs, but she loves changing her necklaces. Another customer, one of the top financial advisors in the country, may go inexpensive with Alexis Bittar, and then she’ll buy a gorgeous one-of-a-kind necklace. It all depends on the impression that the customer needs to make and the meaning she wants to impart.
BRACELET: This bracelet doesn’t pull the eye, but it says that you do pay attention to detail by adding just a touch of jewelry to your wrist. The black onyx goes well with a classic suit, and if you’re going from the office to a dinner in the evening, you’ve got a nice detail to go with your dress.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 18K gold hand-engraved and onyx link bracelet by Nanis
RING: The Naga represents prosperity and love, so it’s a very spiritual piece. If you have the dragon facing out, you’re in attack mode. If you’re taking time to reflect, you might face it in. This item doesn’t go with anything else I chose, but I love it with a simple pair of diamond studs and a long silver chain.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Naga Silver Lava Dragon Head ring with ruby and black sapphire by John Hardy
NECKLACE: There’s nothing more powerful than having a beautiful dark suit and a white blouse, and adding a little something at your neck that shows you’re in charge is important. The open gridwork shows that you’re an open-minded person. It’s crisp, it’s young, and it’s powerful.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: 16-inch midnight and yellow gold seven-strand necklace with midnight and yellow gold large open cross by Armenta
EARRINGS: If you’re going into an important meeting, it’s nice to have a touch of color on your ears to add some pizzazz to your suit or dress. If you really want to make it interesting and you’re wearing, say, a black and white suit, you could wear a black earring on one ear and white on the other.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Puzzle collection rose gold and brown diamond earrings with three options in mother-of-pearl, by Mattioli