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LAUNCHING OUT OF LOCKDOWN

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As businesses reopen after the forced retreat of lockdown in time for Christmas, many jewellery businesses are merging stronger than ever, having used the time to reassess and streamline their business practices. – By Kirsten Ehrlich Davies

Lockdown has been a productive time for many jewellery businesses, and now they are emerging with stronger more
streamlined practices, ready to launch into Christmas both in-store and online. The relatively quiet period of lockdown was an opportunity to reassess their practices, plan future collections and refine new selling platforms.

Focusing on new strategies

Lockdown gave jewellery businesses the opportunity to streamline and expand, while exploring new marketplaces.
Melinda Carey, Creative Director of Georgini says that lockdown was an opportunity to achieve “dive deep into the statistical analysis of our products and sales.”

“The balance between creative and control is a tricky one to achieve and lockdown gave us the opportunity to get this right,” said Melinda. “We worked hard on creating product balance for each collection to ensure efficient stock carry within a collection – for example, the right balance between rings, earrings and pendants, without overstocking our retailers.”

Cheryle Roberts of Stones & Silver says the company previously relied heavily on trade fairs, and needed to find some new platforms due to COVID restrictions and lockdown. “The absence of trade fairs has definitely forced us to change the way we do business, and this has proved beneficial,” said Cheryle.

“We needed to come up with a strategy to get our product out to our customers, and source new customers. We have increased our sales rep team across Australia and New Zealand, and are now spending more quality time face to face with our customers.”

Creating new approaches

As COVID has limited in-store browsing for customers, jewellery brands need to find new innovative ways to promote
their collections. Melinda from Georgini says that lockdown was an opportunity to upgrade their digital assets for the benefit of their customers. “With every collection since mid-2020 we have provided a fashion shoot, on-model imagery
and high-res product images as well as style guides and looks books,” said Melinda.“This has really helped our customers with their online sales, as consumers want to see how the product looks on, how to style it and the story about it. This is a huge investment in not only resources but time and creativity for our team. But it has been exceptionally beneficial in not only the branding growth of Georgini but increasing the digital sales for our customers.”


Georgini also implemented a new approach of sending samples to customers, to provide the tactile connection with the new collections. “One of the challenges we faced was the tactility of the product to be able to touch and feel,” said Melinda. “We couriered samples to customers and we even put on new staff members in New Zealand so when the windows were open we could see our customers as quickly as possible.”

Stones and Silver


Georgini also implemented a new approach of sending samples to customers, to provide the tactile connection with the new collections. “One of the challenges we faced was the tactility of the product to be able to touch and feel,” said Melinda. “We couriered samples to customers and we even put on new staff members in New Zealand so when the windows were open we could see our customers as quickly as possible.”

Cheryle Roberts from Stones & Silver said that planning new collections was a high priority during the quiet phase of lockdown. “Even with no trade shows, it is still so important to continue to develop your brand and bring in new collections,” said Cheryle.

“Customers still want to see the latest trends and be ready for when things open up.” Ron Loccisano of Searay said that the repeated lockdowns in Melbourne forced the company to brainstorm new, innovative ways to assist their trusted
retailers with stock supply. “Searay introduced seamless virtual appointments, which proved to be very efficient for busy retailers and helpful for those who preferred to speak and ‘see’ us rather than place an order via the website,”
said Ron.


It was as simple as a ‘click a link’ and let Searay take over from there. Ironically, meeting virtually was most beneficial for retailers who preferred an offline rather than online experience. The change-up has proven so beneficial, that Searay is convinced virtual appointments are here to stay!

Relying on strong relationships

Georgini

The jewellery business has a symbiotic structure, with designers, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers all supporting and relying on each other. These strong relationships were essential during COVID. Melinda said that the Georgini’s strong longterm relationship with their manufacturers really paid off during COVID. “We never experienced shortages of stock and are very well stocked for Christmas,” said Melinda. “Even during lockdown, our efficient stock monitoring meant that we always stayed ahead.”

She says that communication is the key to weathering tough times. “Our sales managers and our retailers have the kind of relationship where they can keep up honest communication and they have a real desire to work together to achieve great outcomes. Having great people in our team certainly helped keep our sales moving. And retailers are a resilient bunch of people! They ride the ups and downs pretty well.”


Cheryle said that COVID has taught everyone that patience is required in all aspects of business now! “That includes allowing for longer than normal delivery times from our overseas suppliers. However, lockdowns have made us more organised and we have adjusted our strategy in getting our orders in much quicker so as to allow for some slightly longer delivery times,” Cheryle said. Cheryle says that staying ahead of schedule was an important strategy to counteract any delays.

“We used lockdown to get our orders in early and delivered to us in plenty of time,” she said.“We are now fully stocked with loads of new lines, core basics and one-off pieces.” “We have very long-standing relationships with our suppliers
so we used the lockdowns to communicate and liaise with the to develop new ranges, including our beautiful Oro Bella Matte Gold range, just in time for Christmas.”