Why is the Jewelry Industry obsessed with one ring?

The wedding season maybe over for some but as you read this someone is looking for a ring for their significant other to propose marriage. A one time event that the jewelry industry focuses on. A little strange so many jewelers chase after one type of customer when there are other segments of consumers that may be a better fit to pursue. I talk about why there is this focus on the wedding industry and see what may need to come and shake up this long standing tradition for the jewelry industry.

It sounds strange coming from a jewelry blogger but here it goes, I don’t like looking at engagement rings. Solitaire, round, halo, or whatever, if it’s in the bridal section I tend to pass by without a second glance. It’s not that I lack an appreciation for the institution or romance. I love a good rom-com as much as the next person. I’ve even caught myself referencing scenes from iconic movies in my posts. I also love to see the rings of friends and read about celebrities’ engagements, but I don’t browse the bridal section on my own.

Could not pass up some Lord of the Rings references!

Recently I attended a wedding of a close friend. The ceremony was beautiful, the couple was happy, and the food was phenomenal, and it got me thinking why is it that so much emphasis is put on one ring? The ring my friend has is a gorgeous halo ring in white gold. It is a beautiful and costly ring, but it is only one ring and that is all you should need in theory. Yet everyone that I see in the jewelry industry has a bridal collection hoping to sell that one-time ring to a couple. Why is that? The simple reason I get is ‘most people get married’, ‘it is the bread and butter of the jewelry industry’. Many designers start out creating engagement rings for friends, so I see that argument. For the next few months I am going to be looking at the trends in weddings and engagement rings to see how much of this obsession is justified and if there are ways to look at this industry differently that can help you own business or brand.

Gollum isn’t the only one obsessed with a ring!

Wedding Industry is a Red Ocean

If you have taken a business strategy course or enjoy books on market strategy you may have come across a book titled Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim. If not, then I would recommend it. The core idea of the book is that a business can be faced with times where they enter an industry that is highly competitive or there is no competition but over time the competition enters, and you find your business struggling to differentiate itself from other similar businesses. If either is the case, you are in a red ocean. The opposite is a blue ocean where you have a unique product with little competition because your brand and product are so unique that few can compete with your way of doing business. You want to get to a blue ocean for your business.

What is it about it an engagement ring?

Or Is it?

An article came out today by JCK looking at reports of Amazon entering the fine jewelry industry with a line called For Keeps. It is another interesting read to see how the jewelry industry reacts to an outside company that is not a traditional jewelry company. You get statements about the need to create an experience versus Amazon’s more basic way of shopping. I think the jewelry industry needs this shake up. If Amazon enters the industry I hope more jewelers will start looking at data gathering and analysis more seriously. What does this have to do with the wedding industry? My guess is that by the name Amazon is trying to enter the wedding industry. Where could they find their blue ocean by doing what they do best. As I have been researching the wedding industry on statistic stood out to me in relation to the Amazon issue. The Engagement Ring Bible pulled some statistics from the Knot on 2017 engagement rings stating, ‘Grooms spend an average of 3.5 months looking for the perfect engagement ring and will look at 26 different rings before purchase’. My follow ups are how much of that is online? I know it would be much easier to compare brands, styles, prices etc. in one place. Know a place online like that for other items? I thought so. I’ll be watching to see if Amazon does launch a collection, right now there is nothing official from the company

Found this online and it was too good to pass up! Expect to see this again as I follow up on Amazon’s possible entry into the jewelry industry.

What’s Next

I will not only look at wedding statistics but also trends and topics for discussion such as traditions and the changes affecting this institution. Please send me an email or leave a comment if there is something that you would be interested in learning more about on this subject. Also prepare for a few more Lord of the Rings references! If weddings aren’t your thing, I’ll be posting other analysis pieces as well, looking at rebranding efforts by companies and auctions that happen. Thank you for reading Data in the Rough and I look forward to posting again next week!

Michele della Valle Online Results: How Sotheby’s Fared in this New Venture

Sotheby’s first online auction dedicated to a single designer, Michele della Valle ended last Monday. In this post I will look at the results of the auction and what can be learned.

Non si può mai attraversare l’oceano se non si ha il coraggio di perdere di vista la riva.

The above saying in English is: You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.  That saying feels right when talking about the recent online fine jewelry auction held by Sotheby’s.  I will look at the sold versus unsold items and their statistics as a whole, then break it down by type and finally look at some individual pieces that did well at the auction. Also read my predictions and thoughts before the results here.

Sold vs. Unsold (All)

Out of the 111 items designed by Michele della Valle for this online auction only 66 sold. The percentage was 59% sold, 41% unsold. So over half meet the reserve and were sold. The items bid on meet reserve, but what were some of the basic statistics like average dollars of the sold item or number of bids? Below is a table answering that. Note dollars in Swiss Francs (CHF).

The average item sold for 7,884 and had about 6 bids. The most frequent price that sold was 7,500 and the lot had only 2 bids.

To get more detailed we need to look at the results by type.

Sold vs. Unsold (by type)

Above is a table with the counts of lots by type. Earrings were the biggest category at 44 out of 111 lots, next were brooches, then rings. Rings did very well, all but one lot were sold. A table below looks at it by percentage.

Only 38% of brooches sold, earrings saw 32% of their lots unsold. I’m looking more closely at types with ten or more lots to get a better feel of the category. I also looked at the min/max dollars for the sold lots.

Earrings had the largest range, going for as low as 3,000 CHF up to 27,500 CHF.

So, what were some of these high priced items?

Lot with the highest bid

That was a pair of earrings, lot 22, that sold for 27,500 CHF

Lot with the most bids

Lot 14 that had 24 bids, a blue topaz ring.

Piece highest above estimate

There are pieces that are unexpected in what they go for. In this auction a few types did better than others. A table with the break out below.

The rings did the best overall, being 1.6 times higher than the estimates. Earrings were next at 1.33 times. The piece that did better than estimated was lot 97, a pair of earrings that sold for 8.2 times above what Sotheby’s estimated. The final price sold was 21,500 CHF. The estimate was between 1800-2600.

Final thoughts

Obviously, the sale could have gone better, more pieces sold, bids higher, etc. Sotheby’s did a lot right in promoting this auction; they put the auction in their emails and had a video highlighting some pieces. What do I think they could have done better? Educating people on who Michele della Valle is and why his work is something that should be collected. Town and Country just put out about designers to collect, giving some context to where the market is going.

 

From my quote above, somethings you take those risks and swim out alone. Sometimes those risks work out and other times you need a life guard to steer you to a better path. If you are looking for some guidance in your small business strategy send me an email (data.inthe.rough@gmail.com). Let me know what you’re thinking of trying or challenges you are facing. Until then thank you for reading and I hope you return soon for more Data in the Rough!

Results of Skinner Important Jewelry: Looking at Signed Pieces

Skinner Important Jewelry Auction results are in! There are many ways to look at the data. In the interest of time I am focusing on how signed pieces did versus the unsigned pieces offered. I will look at my previous observations on Evelyn Clothier and Aldo Cipullo, the top 5 items above their estimate, and overall signed versus unsigned.

 

A look back at my highlights

In my previous post, Evelyn Clothier had the most signed pieces at the Skinner Important Jewelry Auction. So how did her pieces do? Below is a table showing how her pieces sold at auction.  Note results do not include buyer’s premium.

Evelyn’s pieces did well 18 out of 19 pieces sold. The piece that did better than its estimate, Lot 220 the gem-set necklace I highlighted in the other post. This necklace was only expected to bring in around $7,000 it brought in $18,450, 2.6 times better than the high estimate.

Gem-set Necklace, Evelyn Clothier

A little over half exceeded the high estimate. The item that didn’t sell was also the only bracelet offered by the designer. I tried it on and thought it was a sweet piece, so that was a little surprising.

The results of the next designer shocked me, Aldo Cipullo. The monkey and unicorn brooches that I was excited to see, were beautiful in person. A few pictures of them below.

 

Neither of these pieces sold. I really thought the unicorn would with an estimate between $5,000-$7,000, seemed reasonable. The monkey I thought was a bit too high, estimated for $15,000-$20,000. Still the unique design I thought would drive some interest.

Included is a table with designers that had more than 1 piece at auction and what percent sold.

 

There are several designers that either sold 100% or they sold less than half. David Webb had 3 pieces but only 1 sold. Are there other designer’s above that you wonder about the results?

 

Top 5 Lots

What were the top 5 items that did better than estimated? The top item was Lot 24, an Art Nouveau Turquoise Necklace.

Below is the table with the details.

If you notice only one designer made this list. One pair of Opal earrings by Andrew Grima. Andrew Grima has done well at past auctions in London and New York. Seeing his name make it in the top 5 did not surprise me. I was intrigued that a few more signed pieces did not do better than the unsigned ones.

18kt Gold and Opal Earrings, Andrew Grima

Signed versus Unsigned

How important is it that a piece is signed? The best answer is it depends. For example, pieces attributed to a designer, especially a well known designer like David Webb, that are not signed would not be as valuable to a collector. For Skinner the unsigned pieces sold better than the signed ones. I broke the numbers into three parts.

Top: The actual numbers, there were more unsigned pieces than signed. There were also more sold than unsold.

Middle: Percent of Sold and Unsold, overall 80% of the items sold, which is where the number is usually at from previous auctions.

Bottom: Percent of Signed/Unsigned lots sold vs unsold, Of the Sold Items 60% were unsigned, for Unsold the percentage is the same at 59% for unsigned pieces.

Platinum and Diamond Pendant/Brooch, set with old European-, full-, and rose-cut diamonds

So are unsigned pieces better? Skinner has lots of lots that are antique from Edwardian to Art Nouveau at their auctions, these pieces are usually unsigned and highly desirable for their design and beauty. The other side is that the signed pieces are not always as flashy as pieces from Christie’s or Sotheby’s, they are a bit more every day.

 

Conclusion

Storytelling is important. The designer pieces, especially Evelyn Clothier’s could have sold much better if there was a bit of context about the designer and pieces. This 19-piece collection was the perfect opportunity to spotlight the designer and make her story known. This collection was also owned by the same person. A talk or interview from the owner on what their relationship was and why so many pieces were bought, would have been one idea I would have tried to get more interest. I feel Skinner dropped the ball on this unique opportunity to focus on an American woman designer that has won several design awards and had her jewelry used on the red carpet. If you struggle to think of ways to differentiate yourself or your product contact me for ways to break out of the same old gimmicks and try something else.

 

Thank you and I look forward to you reading more from Data in the Rough!

 

Sotheby’s holds First Online-Only Auction of Michele della Valle Jewelry

If you follow my Instagram you probably have noticed I skew a little to the Italian designers. When I saw this auction of one of my favorite Italian jewelry designers, Michele della Valle I knew I would need to share it on my blog. I’m going to focus on what is being offered and what this type of auction means for the future of online auctions.

The Designer

Michele della Valle, opened his first shop in 1978 located in Rome. He work some with Bulgari before moving to Geneva in 1987. His work is frequently found in auction houses. I learned about him from seeing his work first hand at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. His work is not only inspired by nature but he likes to feature modern icons and pop culture references, like the Facebook ‘like’ pin below.

Lapis lazuli, enamel and diamond brooch, ‘I Like’

His jewelry is fun and bright. I imagine the designer as fun and not taking himself or his jewelry too seriously. Below are a few pieces from the auction that caught my eye. All photos from Sothebys.

Pair of cultured pearl, tsavorite garnet and ruby ear clips
Pair of tsavorite garnet and ruby ear clips, ‘Frogs’
Ruby and diamond ring
Pair of gem set and diamond pendent ear clips, ‘Fragoline’

The Auction

This is not only the first online-auction of Michele della Valle at Sotheby’s but I can not recall an auction dedicated to one designer. There are auctions of celebrities and personal collections of prominent people but not of a lone designer. Not only is this the first one dedicated to a designer, the auction house collaborated with him to create pieces to sell in this online auction.  I find that interesting. Sotheby’s has really been trying new ideas to get more interest in auctions. They even have had auctions with no buyer’s premium, which I love that idea. I’m not sure what the process was for picking Michele della Valle for this trial run in the online market, but I am excited to see how the auction turns out.

Gem set and diamond pendant, ‘Cat’

I have done a little analysis on what is being offered. I am only looking at lots and estimates, the auction does not close until October 1. Below is a table with the type of jewelry, number of lots, and minimum/maximum estimates. As you see earrings top the number of lots at 44 of 111 offered. I think this makes sense earrings are easier to fit than a ring. The prices range from $630-$21,000.  The currency is actually in Swiss Francs (CHF) but I converted to USD for this post.

 

 

Future Trends for Auctions

This auction I think will be the beginning of more collaborations between designers and auction houses. What does this mean to a designer that wishes to be involved in something like this? One, branding will be more important to a designer and an auction house wanting to entice collectors. Designers will need a strong social media presence and clearer branding to stand out from this saturated industry. Second, a better understanding of the customer in mind. I don’t know what went into creating and designing these pieces for the auction, but I guess that Sotheby’s and Michele della Valle had a sense of who they were designing for. If you do not know who your customer is selling to them will be very difficult and many resources will be wasted.

Opal, tsavorite and diamond brooch, ‘Koala’

If you need a better social media strategy or content to present, then send me an email to talk about ways to improve your business. I will follow up on this auction to see how these pieces fared. Have you heard of this designer? Has anyone read the book that came out in 2014 on his jewelry? If you are interested in bidding or seeing more Lots click here. Until then thank you for reading Data in the Rough!

A Photo Worth 1000 Likes

As I continue to work on improving my social media standing after a brief hiatus, I look back on what worked for me in the past with a photo that got 1000 likes in 24 hours. Repeating my successes is important but for this post I look at what I can learn from my past, understand a little better how Instagram works and of course review some basic metrics.

In a previous post I talked about a post that ‘trended’ on Instagram and got me to 1000 followers. Trended for this post means it made the explore page and was found organically. I have had posts that have resonated well with my followers but do not always make it to a wider online audience. You may have experience that as well.

I few months ago I shared a brooch that caught my eye at a Skinner Auctions preview with my followers. It was a lady carved in chalcedony with a diamond and opal tiara that was adorned in more diamonds and opals. My picture was a bit blurry at the bottom but overall not bad. I loved it but did not expect the reaction I got after posting it. Not only was the picture liked by my followers, Instagram thought it worthy to share with a wider audience and within a day I had over 1000 likes!

What was different about this picture from others I posted? For me a few things come to mind:

 

  • Variety-I post a lot of diamonds, flowers, and big statement pieces (like David Webb). This was the first post in a long time that had a face on it. A face in blue chalcedony which is a little unique.
  • Trends-My lady had a tiara and regal look to her. This summer has been all about the royal wedding of Harry and Megan, so that probably didn’t hurt my chances of getting my photo noticed. Also, as of today #tiara has 1.4 million posts, #tiaras have over 467,000 posts and a favorite hashtag of mine #tiaratuesday has over 9,000 posts. People love a good tiara.
  • Patience (& luck)– I had been a consistent poster and I know Instagram has ways of telling who is resonating well with their followers. For me I have started to see trends for what my followers like. I keep that in mind when taking photos or making captions.

 

How much does the Instagram Algorithm play in my account’s success?

The algorithm is like Facebook, the more your followers like your posts the more likely those posts will show up at the top of your followers’ feeds. The short answer is in my opinion about 85% is determined by the Instagram Algorithm.

How can you influence that other 15%?

Posting consistently so your followers go to your Instagram page and see what you’ve got if it did not show up in their feed. Take some time out to just like your followers’ posts and show some love back. I need to do more with this as well.

What can a trending post do for my account? (basic social media metrics)

Besides growing your following, this picture in about 38 hours gave me 113 new followers. It can increase your engagement for that post and others. I had about a 10% engagement rate (Likes of a post divided by followers) from that post. It varies by industry but typically a 2-3% engagement rate is good, for example if you have 10,000 followers you should be getting around 200-300 likes per post. For me at the time of the post I ranged between 250-350 likes. The next photo I posted got over 700 likes. I kept up with the tiara trend for one more day.

Have you ever had a trending photo? What was it? Would you like to improve your engagement and attract more followers? Reach out to me and we can come up with strategies to test to grow your social media presence and your business. Return next week for more Data in the Rough!

 

Evelyn Clothier heads list for September Important Jewelry at Skinner Auctions

It’s that time again! In a previous post I mention some of auction houses having only online fine jewelry this month. Skinner Auctions in Boston will be having their auction and preview of Important Jewelry this month. Looking through the lots online before going to the preview, I noticed quite a few by Evelyn Clothier. It felt like she was the most listed designer in the 355 lots from this auction. Being an analyst, I had to see if that was right. I did not go through counting all the designers by myself, I used a little help from excel to get a tally. The list below of designers with 2 or more items in the auction:

Looks like this time I was right! Evelyn Clothier has the most pieces at auction in this sale at 19! Next is Cartier at 11. Evelyn Clothier is not the only new name for me I have not recalled much from Arthur King or Barbara Anton. Seeing Evelyn Clothier name so much I had to look again at all her pieces and find out a little more about her.

Evelyn Clothier, Fine Art of Award-Winning Design

That title was not made by me, Evelyn Clothier’s website lists her numerous AGTA Spectrum Awards.  She also had her jewelry sold in Bergdorf Goodman. The website has her pieces listed and a place to contact her. I did not find too much else about her like how long she has been in the business to what inspires her.

I did look to see if she had been sold at Skinner before, she had one piece at the Dec. 2011 auction. A pair of Aquamarine earrings that went unsold. A side note: these earrings were the winners of the 2011 AGTA Spectrum Awards. (All photos courtesy of Skinner Auctions)

A few of Evelyn Clothier’s designed jewels that will be sold on September 25th, that I am excited to see:

18kt Gold and Enamel Brooch, Evelyn Clothier
Gem-set Necklace, Evelyn Clothier
18kt Gold, Plique-a-Jour Enamel, and Diamond Brooch, Evelyn Clothier
18kt Gold and Plique-a-Jour Enamel Dragonfly Brooch, Evelyn Clothier

A few more thoughts on the auction

I’m eager to see how all the pieces do. Two pieces that are on the top of my list to see are both by Aldo Cipullo. They are of a unicorn and monkey made in the 1970s.

18kt Gold, Enamel, and Gem-set Unicorn Brooch, Aldo Cipullo
18kt Gold, Gem-set, and Enamel Brooch, Aldo Cipullo

 

Let me know what you think of the pieces. Have you heard or seen some of Evelyn Clothier’s work? What other designers listed would you like to know more about? Follow my Instagram over the weekend as I go to Skinner Auctions to see these pieces up close! And return to see my analysis of this auction on Data in the Rough!

How to comeback from a Social Media Hiatus

Are you struggling to keep up with your social media? Do you take long breaks between posting or wish you could call it quits? I took a month-long social media hiatus and started back tonight after reflecting on why I am really doing this. I discuss how I got to this point and what helped me refocus.

It’s like anything else you put off, once you find something else to do or a reason to stop; time slips away and you return to the task and see how much work you still have. Sometimes you do need a break. I took one recently from my Instagram and other social channels. It can get overwhelming not only balancing another job, but social media can make you feel like you’re competing over who has more followers, better photos or a more relevant story than you. Time to admit that all happened to me.

As I’ve mentioned some, I am not a full-time blogger, I am an analyst in the Retail Industry. This job is not as sexy as some of the other flashier (or more sparkly) jobs out there. My skill set is one that I feel is needed in this industry, I love numbers and am not afraid to use them. I also understand designers, artists and small business owners who struggle to maintain a social media presence and are unsure how analytics can work for them.

So, what do you do when you stop and need to get back to posting on social media? I have a few tips that have helped me get back my focus and start maintaining my sites again.

  1. Don’t rush back into posting. Sounds counter intuitive but it is ok to take a break. I have maintained the same number of followers since I stopped posting in August. I gain some one day and lose others the next, but it balances out. It’s better to take a moment and reflect than burn out again. Which leads to the next point…
  2. Ask yourself the ‘why’ questions. The first ‘why am I doing this?’ In this case posting on a social media channel. If money is your main answer you will be lost in a sea of accounts that all are wanting quick returns. The real question is ‘why do I think I have a unique viewpoint that others will follow and respond to?’ I have been thinking about that. I don’t have the access to as many big-name jewelry events as I’d like too. I also don’t have the connections to the big jewelry designers and workshops to give me a decent stream of exclusive content. My answer, I am looking at more than just the name or the cost I am looking at the craftsmanship and the story, especially how those translated with data.
  3. Think about your answers above and make a plan for posting. Don’t worry about posting in the evening, afternoon or morning; what will you post is more important right now than when. If you are creating a new piece show the inspiration in one post and walk through the stages to the finished product. Ultimately you want to convey what you are hoping for which is sales but do it by showing who you are and what you offer.

 

I forget that too and can get caught up in all the excitement. It’s also a reason you need someone to help you understand what is working and what is not. My not so subtle way of mentioning my consulting on digital and social media analytics. If you are interested in a more in-depth chat send me an email (data.inthe.rough@gmail.com) and we can talk. Also keep following my blog for more tips and my own journey to discover the data in the rough!

Also, since I can’t go with out a picture of a fabulous jewel. A David Web piece I posted tonight to get back into the social media cycle. Enjoy and good luck!

Christie’s and Sotheby’s increasing September Online Jewelry Auctions

As summer comes to an end Fall auctions are fast approaching. Instead of the auctions taking place around the world more auctions of Fine Jewelry are happening online. Read more to see how Christie’s and Sotheby’s are adapting to the change in technology and what this means for the public.

I don’t go too often to New York in the Summer, it’s hot, crowded and the jewelry industry slows down over this season. What I do look forward to is my treks up to the Big Apple to see some major bling in the Fall.

In 2016 I went to both Christie’s and Sotheby’s for their September Fine Jewelry Auctions. Christie’s had a preview of their online jewels and the Private Collection of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, that was sold in NYC.

A few highlights from Mrs. Reagan’s Collection:

Bulgari Ring

Sotheby’s had plenty to see too. With previews of upcoming auctions happening in London and New York.

A few highlights:

Tiffany moonstone and enamel necklace
Bulgari flower brooch
Yellow and white diamond brooch

Last year neither auction house had previews in NYC. Sotheby’s had two auctions in London, one their Fine Jewelry and the other the collection of actress Vivian Leigh. I took a closer look at that auction in my previous post here.

Christie’s had one jewelry auction, but it was online in September 2017. This year again no September auctions that occur offline for these two auction houses. Sotheby’s has one general fine jewelry auction, one that is selling loose diamonds and the last highlighting one Italian designer. All these auctions occurring online.

Is this a trend that will continue?
Yes, I think more auctions will be having an online presence. Sotheby’s has also tried removing the buyer’s premium to encourage people to try online with out the hidden fees. I am anxious to see how the auctions do with collectors and how smaller auction houses will adapt.

How will this affect the way jewelry is previewed at auctions?
I still think their will be previews and auctions to see the items and handle them. It is very difficult to take size into account when looking online and some gems like opal are hard to get good photos of.

For those that post on social media and blog I think that a time will come that your following and status will play a bigger part in getting to participate in the previews. For now, I have an auction preview in Boston at the end of the month I plan to go to and I’ll be heading to NYC in October not for a preview but for a fun trip that I will share later.
Return for more on the upcoming online auctions and other topics in the jewelry industry dealing with business and marketing. Thank you for reading my article.

Instagram changes since my first 1000 followers and what can be learned

Marketing sites and businesses keep talking about how changes to the Instagram algorithm have hurt engagement. In this post I will look at how I got to my first 1000 followers shortly before the changes took place and how my strategy to grow my following has changed since.

Looking back at all my posts it’s hard to believe I have been on Instagram over 2 ½ years! I started in early September of 2015 to help a designer start and grow her Instagram account. I knew I needed my own account to run my own experiments and see what would be best for my client in the interest of time and resources. I have since ended my working relationship with her, but my account has continued growing. I will start by how I got to my first thousand, strategies that can be helpful as you look to improve your brand.

Getting to 1000:

Once I got to 1000 followers it felt like no time at all, but it took me 4 months from the day I started until I finally got to 1000. The amount of posts was 215. It was in January and I was a bit discourage that I wasn’t growing as quickly as I hoped. I was at a little over 700 followers and decided to post on a rainy Sunday afternoon this Tiffany necklace designed by Paloma Picasso in the 1980s.

Tiffany gemstone necklace posted on my IG that got me to 1000 followers, seen at Christie’s in December 2015

One feature Instagram had was a trending hashtag section. I looked at the page where the trending hashtags were and saw #rainysunday was trending, so I worked that into my caption picking out the most bold and colorful piece to chase away those clouds! Posting around three in the afternoon I knew I’d get some likes, but I never anticipated that over the next couple of days I would get over 500 likes and about 300 followers which got me from 700 to 1000 almost overnight! I realized that my post had made it on the explore page which is why the jump in interest!

Paloma Picasso wearing her design for Tiffany, taken in 1980s. photo from Paris Vogue

Strategies to use now:

Since the changes I can no longer like pictures in real time of when they were posted unless I follow them and get notified when they post. Also, some accounts never make it to the top of my feed. So how do I try and improve my odds:

  1. Follow brands because you like their content not because you hope they follow you. I made the mistake when I first started of following accounts of people or brands that I thought would like me. The problem their feed was not always what I enjoyed seeing so I had to eventually unfollow and look at engaging with account that may never follow me but make my account a pleasant place to go to. Also, to note don’t follow them just because they follow you. They may like your posts, but you may not respond to their content as well, it comes down to engaging with accounts that resonate with you.
  2. Look at what your posting and research hashtags to use that are relevant. Mixing up your hashtags is a better way to grow your following and be in front of new people. Using the same ones can be too predictable especially if you are selling online. Look at what your posting and who maybe interested versus trying to advertise it’s for sale.
  3. Make Instagram friends. Too many small businesses and solopreneurs rely on friends, families or groups they belong to for engagement. The best compliments have been from people I have never meet but find my posts beautiful and interesting. I have even been able to meet with some of my new friends who give me inspiration and different ways to better serve my following.
  4. Experiment with different posts and times. I have read and gone to workshops about growing your following. Everything from running an IG contest to posting more about you as a person. Some ideas are helpful others I tried have failed miserably (I’ll share stories and lessons learned in later posts). For posts use the edits IG has with their photos. I try to make sure my photos are sharp, in focus and the colors vibrant to stand out better to my followers.
  5. Do not get too discouraged with slow growth or followers that leave you in the early stages. When first starting I got a lot of account follows and unfollows in hopes of growing their numbers. Instagram is still a game to many and if you worry too much about winning or losing you’ll miss the important reason for this platform to be social. Again, don’t follow just because they follow you, refer to tip #1.

 

There are plenty of other ways you can improve. Here is an article I read on Hootsuite about ways to improve your account with the changes to the Instagram algorithm. I also read an article by Recode posted early this month, that stated that your Facebook friends can play into what accounts are one top when you log in. I do not follow a lot of my Facebook friends on IG since I want to keep more focused on my business with IG.

Even though it feels harder sometimes, I am still having good success on IG growing my followers and engagement. If you would like a more personal session to find ways to improve your IG please send me an email at Data.inthe.Rough@gmail.com Also feel free to make a comment below about something you’d like to understand or an observation about your experiences with Instagram! Thank you for reading my post, I hope you return soon! Also a bonus the matching earrings to that bold Tiffany necklace, because you can’t have a statement necklace without some statement earrings!!

Matching earrings to Tiffany necklace sold at Christie’s in December 2015!

Faberge at Auction: Lessons to Learn from Two Faberge Flowers hidden in a Shoe Box

Two Faberge flowers fell short of achieving a high estimate by Antique Roadshow when they hit the auction block in June. The article below looks at what key analysis were missed and trends that should have been focused on for future consideration.

Study the past if you would define the future. This quote by Confucius sums up my thoughts about what direction I am going and hope to be going. Digging deeper on issues always have ‘why’ questions that follow, why do I like this, why am I doing this and why do I want to continue this? Some of my whys are answered by looking back at what I love and why I loved it then and now. For the focus of this article I am looking at Faberge in the news, my all time favorite jeweler. A few weeks ago Hanson Auction in the United Kingdom sold two Faberge flowers. Not exactly news worthy at first glance but the story of how the pieces came to auction is worth a mention.

 

The two flowers are of a Dwarf Morning Glory and Barberry, that the owner had wrapped in a tea towel and stored in a shoe box! Pieces that sold for 340,000 British pounds ($451,1111) were tucked away in a small box for 40 years! Why did the owner wait until now to bring these pieces to light? The article in the Daily Mail claimed the man came to have the pieces looked at after seeing an Antiques Road Show episode in March where a similar item was valued at over 1 million British pounds.

Dwarf Morning Glory by Faberge sold at Hanson Auction June 11 for 180,000 pounds (hammer price). photo from Hanson Auctions

 

Barberry by Faberge sold at Hanson Auction June 11 for 160,000 pounds (hammer price). photo from Hanson Auctions

Initially these flowers were predicted to bring in 500,000 pounds by the Antique Roadshow but did not make that estimate. Hanson had a better estimate of 100,000-150,000 pounds for each flower. Why did these flowers fall a little short of the Antique Roadshow estimate? My theory: the Antique Roadshow didn’t look at recent trends in the industry and the seller didn’t take a good look at the market. Examples in an article by ArtNet News cite how auctions at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s either had the bids for the Faberge Flowers fall short of the Antique Roadshow estimate or did not sell at all.

Faberge flower estimated at 1 million pounds ($1.27 million) by Antique Roadshow in 2017. photo from ArtNet News

For the seller, besides the trends in selling Faberge flowers he should have explored the auction houses. Hanson auctioned the flowers off, but those two flowers were the only two Faberge items in the entire June Auction. Was that the right auction house for this sale? Should the seller have gone to Sotheby’s, Christie’s or Bonham’s to try and see if they would be better to sell the flowers? Sotheby’s just had an auction of Russian Works of Art, Faberge and Icons on June 5th.

 

There are other questions to be answered but those are the two main ones for me. I enjoy analyzing the jewelry industry and am growing my business to do more consulting on social media, strategy and business investments. For anyone regardless of industry or where you are in your career one piece of advice from the story above is don’t hide some of those treasures or dreams you are holding on to. I have held onto some of my personal goals for too long and need to start making things happen! You can too!

 

Return later as I pursue more wisdom from Faberge and go back to what inspires me so I can build a strong business and help you find ways to improve yours!   As always thank you for reading my posts on Data in the Rough!