"Seeing red," "feeling blue." Emotions are wrapped in color. Colors enliven these feelings. Hot reds, oranges and yellows electrify, stimulate, energize. Cool blues and greens soothe, calm, refresh. Beiges and grays along with black and white are tone neutral, a perfect background foil for more vibrant targeted pops of color. The neutrals' classic appeal project timeless elegance rather than trendiness.
The lure of designer jewelry continues to grow amidst a field of mass-produced "generic" jewelry. Reflecting cutting-edge style and a sharply branded image, projecting a uniquely inspired vision, designer jewelry adds the personal touch your customers crave. It ignites and captures their imagination.
Spring is in the air - finally! It's our reminder that nature moves in cycles. From every downturn, an upswing emerges. On the other side of winter's frozen impasse is spring's promise of renewed growth. By nature, spring is a time of hope.
Hope has consequences. Just watch the hair-trigger response of the stock market to daily - even hourly - trends in the news. Depression is a self-perpetuating cycle. Our attitudes affect reality. By focusing on the positive, you help create the reality you desire.
What's there to be hopeful about? What positive trends can the retailer focus on in the current climate?
Less Market Glut
In a market glutted for years with abundant inventory and competition, a winnowing is taking place. For years, we've seen a proliferation of the retail market from brick-and-mortars to the Internet and cable television shopping networks. Now large and small players - from the Fortunoffs to the small independents - are dropping out, leaving a smaller playing field. Redundant, stale inventories are being slashed. The upside for the resilient nimble survivors is a clearer playing field. Consumers, rather than being bombarded with overwhelming offerings, can be exposed to the best options, presented in a more enticing manner. Sometimes less is more. Capture your clients' attention. With less market overload, they will be more accessible to stimulate and excite.
Back to Basics
Business and the economy are returning to a sounder, more stable footing. Rather than business plans and projections based on inflated credit and economic bubbles, common sense is now returning to the fore. Solid, secure growth based on realistic predictions is better in the long run. Slow and steady saves the day.
Now is a great time to restructure. Clean house, getting rid of stale inventory and non-productive lines. Reorganize your store, eliminating old displays and offering fresh arrangements. How about updating your store's image? Have you toyed with innovative options? Consult with your staff. Introduce new lines. You'll attract your loyal clients' attention and capture a new customer base. Investing in yourself breeds confidence. It shows you're here to stay.
Return to Real Value
In times of uncertainty, people are drawn to lasting, durable value. Gold reigns. Now's the time to market jewelry of heirloom value, emphasizing that gold, platinum, diamonds and precious gems are heirloom investments. Bridal traditionally does well, even in lean times. Real, lasting quality has heightened appeal in a fluctuating world.
New, Positive Trends
Change is in the air. The world is going green. Ride the wave by greening your business. Offer environmentally conscious jewelry, packaging and displays, including ethically sourced metals and gems, such as recycled gold. Offer jewelry with inspiring messages. There's a new social consciousness. People are pulling for one another. Offer collections with some of the proceeds donated to charity. Host your own charity events. Get involved. People will notice. You'll inspire others in your community. Positivity breeds success.
Just flip on the news. We're bombarded daily with reports of major banks and businesses reorganizing and filing for Chapter 11. The new administration unfurls a continuous repertory of stimulus bills, TARP and mortgage restructuring plans. Not only is the road ahead changing, so is the very map, the landscape it's embedded in. We're in a brave new world and we're not done yet.
Four men - three disguised as long blond-haired women with sunglasses - requested entry last December 4 to Harry Winston's Jewelers on super-posh Avenue Montaigne in Paris. As they were buzzed in, they pulled out a hand grenade and a .357 Magnum and started smashing the glass display cases. Fifteen minutes later they made a clean getaway in a waiting car with sacks of huge diamonds, emeralds and rubies worth a cool $115 million.
In a bizarre life-imitating-art scenario, Interpol has dubbed the suspected thieves the "Pink Panthers," referencing the phantom bandit of movie fame pursued by the comically jinxed Inspector Clouseau. The Pink Panthers are believed to be an international group, about 200 strong, of highly professional, meticulous and daring thieves. Hailing from Serbia, they are said to be responsible for high-profile heists worth more than $132 million at luxury "soft" targets in Dubai, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Spain and Monaco since 2003. Dusko Poznan and Goran Drazic, purported members of the group, were arrested before the Dec. 4 robbery. Lloyds of London, Winston's insurers, have issued a $1 million reward for information leading to the recovery of the jewels.
This was not the Pink Panthers' first heist. In Dubai last year, members of the group allegedly rammed through Graff's in two Audis, grasping $3.4 million in diamonds and exiting in the same cars. The event, captured on video, became a YouTube favorite with over 200,000 hits. In Graff's Tokyo, the Pink Panthers hit previously in 2004. In three minutes, they made off with $38 million in rare yellow diamonds, including a 125 carat necklace, the Comtesse de Vendome, worth $31.5 million, also captured on video.
The modus operandi of the Pink Panthers is "brazen, very fast, very well-organized," according to police sources. They characteristically case the targeted venues for a week or more, even learning the salespersons' names.
The bane of jewelers, the jewel thief, at times may achieve a colorful notoriety, earning a "treasured" spot in the pantheon of scoundrels. Movies glorify their cunning, daring and high-profile glamorous targets. Combining danger, fabulous jewels and meticulous execution, their heists are the stuff of legend. In a Bonnie and Clyde scenario, the thieves may become celebrated, even glorified. Boban Stojkovic, a member of the Pink Panthers cadre sentenced before the December 4 robbery, is described by his attorney as a "gentleman bandit... extremely polite and nice."
"Because that's where the money is," Willy Sutton, the thief, famously replied to the query "Why do you rob banks?" Jewelry stores are similarly natural targets. Jewelers take note. You can never be too careful. Although the Pink Panthers target the highest echelon of international targets, stores profiling coveted luxury items are always at risk. Closer to home, in Palm Beach this January Lee Havens Fine Jewelry on Worth Avenue was victimized - the robber reportedly escaping with $4 million in merchandise.
The December Harry Winston theft was the second burglary at the Paris store in a year. The previous year's heist netted over $13 million in jewels. The beleaguered jeweler seems to have adopted a note of caution. Immediately after the current robbery, passers-by the celebrated shop, now closed with shutters, viewed in its famed display case, rather than jewels, a large photograph of the missing pieces.