When I heard over the summer that another auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s possessions was taking place in December I was elated! I remembered her last sale and the fun I have had since see her jewelry reappear on the auction block.
This sale was a little different. It was suppose to show the star’s fun side. So when the catalog appeared on Julien’s Auction website I combed through looking at the history and for the jewelry. There were a few pieces but not to the level of her last sale.
The Piece That Didn’t Sell
I did think that most if not all pieces would sell. So I wasn’t surprised to see a few unsold items but did wonder why a particular item went unsold. The item I am referring to was the first item up for auction. The Cartier belt engraved as a gift to Elizabeth’s mother. The estimate was $10,000-$20,000.
The engraving was written in Elizabeth’s own hand. The inscription reads: “To My ‘Hippy’ / Mom / All my love / Elizabeth” . A sentimental piece that was the first item to be passed over at the auction.
Is the Marketing Wrong?
If you are in the retail business or follow marketing articles, retailers are always being told that a compelling story can set your product and business above the rest. A way to differentiate your self is to have a unique story. You probably have read other articles with the same advice.
Over the next year I am going to look deeper into this auction and the other Elizabeth Taylor auction that was over 8 years ago at Christie’s. I will also be looking at other auction data and seeing if there would have been a better way to have presented this item so it might have sold or is this an indication of something else.
Thank you for reading. I plan to get back to a regular blogging schedule for 2020! Happy Elizabeth Taylor Tuesday!
As people plan vacations, I look at what interesting books are out that I can read over my summer. I periodically check Amazon to see what books are coming out. I have 5 picks for summer jewelry books that are coming out this summer or came out less than a month ago.
History is something I have always enjoyed learning about whether it is about a person, place or time period. I have read several books on Faberge and what I love about how people write about the master jeweler is all the techniques and details.
This offers explanations of jewelry terms. The book is geared toward
jewelry makers, students, scholars but for anyone interested in a more in depth
look at the methods and materials this is one to check out.
As a fan of tiaras and royal history (mostly British) this is a great introduction to one of the finest jewelry collections at a museum. This book looks at examples from the Victoria and Albert Museum. The contents are divided into three parts: materials, chronology of style, manufacturing and distribution. That last section is of interest to me, I love learning about the supply chain of an industry.
This is a topic I don’t know as much about. I admire the
designs of David Webb and Suzanne Belperron who were inspired by ancient gold
techniques. A background and history of the area that these treasures come from
would be a new world for me to explore.
Not everyone likes reference books all the time. This looked
like a fun summer read the first line of the description caught my eye, “Twelve-year-old
Aaron Broom is protecting his father’s car from repossession when he witnesses
a jewelry store robbery gone wrong.” It turns out the father of the boy is accused.
Aaron must seek out the real criminal by coming in contact with gangsters,
diamond deals and more to clear his dad’s name. The story is set in St. Louis
which is near my hometown so another bonus for that!
This book is put out in partnership with the Lecole des Arts Joailliers, place Vendôme in Paris. I blogged about my experience with the Lecole of Van Cleef & Arpels when they came to New York. The book looks at major design houses like Cartier, Boucheron, etc and the craftsmen behind this beautiful art. It is also under $20!
I saw this book at Christie’s for an event held around the time of the Spring auctions. The jewelry of Michelle Ong a Chinese designer was breath taking! To have Joel Rosenthal the creator of the famous JAR jewels is a good indication this is a designer to watch.
What did you think of my list? Are any of these summer jewelry books on your reading list? I know I can’t own them all, but I think I will start with the Art of the Jeweler! If you have suggestions, please comment below! If you are an author or distributing of any of these titles and would like to send me a copy email at email@example.com ! Thank you and happy reading!
One of my favorite activities in NYC is looking at the jewelry store
windows. There are so many beautiful objects from different time periods and
places that it feels like you are taking a trip to many exotic locations. On
one of my trips I came across a window with a beautiful diamond Cartier Tiara.
The tiara was stunning with perfect details in platinum and diamonds. What
really made this piece special was a note accompanying the tiara. A
representative of Cartier had reached out to the store owners asking to borrow
the tiara for an exhibit May-July in Beijing.
This exhibit is a follow up to the 2009 ‘Cartier Treasure’ exhibit, the second Cartier exhibit held at the Forbidden City. I read the note and some of the history and thought how fortunate this store (L’etoile Royale) is to get to share a piece they bought in this exhibit. For this post I will look a little at the history of this Cartier Tiara and then talk about partnerships and marketing.
History of Cartier Tiara
The tiara was made in 1908 for Miss Ada Ismay for her wedding to Henry Anthony Chandos Pole in October of that year. Miss Ismay’s father, Thomas Henry Ismay was founder of the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company (also known as the White Star Line), one of their most famous ships was the RMS Titanic. Ada’s brother Joseph was on the maiden voyage but survived. Both of Ada’s parents had passed before her wedding. She had two children. Her husband was a Brigadier-General that passed away in 1934.
The Cartier Tiara was made by Georges Harnichard in the London workshop. A perfect piece from the Belle Epoque era. It was auctioned at Christie’s London Important Jewelry Auction in November 2003. The estimate was 50,000-70,000 Great British Pounds (GBP) and sold for 103,810 GBP (with buyer’s premium).
The tiara also made an appearance at the ‘Diamond Divas’ exhibit in
Antwerp in 2008. It has made it into the care of L’etoile Royale on Madison
Street and will again be seen by thousands of people in Bejing for the summer!
The Cartier Tiara can be taken apart to have a piece be made into a stomacher. And
comes in its original box!
Marketing and Partnerships
This is a great opportunity for the store. The publicity is one plus
and forming relationships with people who can see you as a credible source in
the future is important in any business. For those that are not as fortunate to
buy a tiara that a major jewelry house wants for its exhibit here are a few ideas
to find your own opportunities:
Partner with another business to create an event
that would serve your customers better than if you were to do it alone.
See about loaning you space to a group that
would be your ideal client (women entrepreneur’s, bloggers etc.)
Offer to customize an item just for that store
(look at my post on how Weitzman worked with a boutique to create a shoe that
he hoped Jennifer Aniston would buy)
If you are still looking for more ways contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we
will put or thinking caps ( or tiaras) on and come up with ways to grow your
business. Thank you for following and please return soon for more Data in the
What would you think if you saw a pair of shoes designed with one million dollars’ worth of diamonds walk across a stage? You might be clapping or oohing and awing, but if you were me, you’d thought what a great way to market to a younger group! Stuart Weitzman visited the Massachusetts College of Art & Design yesterday to give a talk about himself and his company. I want to look at a few topics dealing with Stuart Weitzman’s marketing strategy that can apply to all industries!
Weitzman talked about taking a more traditional path with plans to go to school and heading to Wall Street afterwards. A friend whose father owned a shoe manufacturing company saw Weitzman’s drawing skills (a hobby at the time) and encouraged him to draw some shoe designs to sell to his father. Weitzman was honest and detailed about his process, the designs he came up with were from researching the company he was trying to design for and thinking of what would appeal to the customer. The day arrived and Weitzman laid out his drawings for the friend’s father to judge. The father picked up one drawing and said, ‘Did you trace this?’. Weitzman could honestly say none of the drawings were copies and traced from another designer, these were all his. The man looked at the picture again tore it up, crumpled it and tossed it to the ground. He then took another drawing, turned it to its blank side and told Weitzman to draw that shoe again. Weitzman did and he was paid for 19 of the 20 drawings. The importance of originality was brought up after this, Weitzman estimated in his career, he had interviewed 15-20 designers and of those only 6 or 7 could replicate a design they had just presented to Weitzman from scratch.
Weitzman was an apprentice for several years and learned the ins and outs of the industry before starting his own business. This is when his true genius comes out, not in his designs but in Weitzman’s marketing strategy. He started by making custom shoes for celebrities. Weitzman had looked at department stores and saw how hard it would be to get his shoes some shelf space. Weitzman saw a need in the market for custom shoes for celebrities because most stylists focused on jewelry and dresses, celebrities at the time bought their shoes from department stores so it was not uncommon to see several celebrities with the same shoe. That all changed with Aretha Franklin the night she won the American Music Award in 1983. You can read more on it here. Look at that marketing! After that Weitzman was getting plenty of orders.
Marketing to Celebrities
Then came 2005 and the hottest actress at the time was left for Angelina Jolie. For those that can remember the beginning of the Jen-Brad-Angelina drama. The divorce was not finalized until 2008 and Weitzman wanted his shoes on Jennifer Aniston. However, Aniston never shopped Weitzman’s store, so Weitzman found out the store she did shop at and collaborated with them to create a shoe for Jen. Jen liked it and the wedge espadrille was worn throughout the summer of 2009. Weitzman even got a two-page spread in People Magazine with Aniston’s many looks with the shoe in the early stages of the recession. This was all free advertising due to Weitzman’s marketing strategy.
He did a similar strategy to get Kate Moss to model his shoes by
working with Mario Testino to create an ad campaign.
Weitzman also noted how you can not overlook the marketing of smaller
stars. Weitzman mentioned how a few years back his marketing team wanted him to
stop making custom shoes for TV stars, but Weitzman did not see the harm in it.
They may not have the star power of Kate Moss, but they did bring some visibility
and you don’t know they could be a famous movie star one day. His belief paid
off; the TV show that his company was working with was Suits, filmed in Canada
and once had Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s current wife. Markle frequently
wears Weitzman’s shoes along with her sister-in-law Kate Middleton.
Creating buzz with an original idea
Stuart Weitzman wasn’t done winning over the crowd in the auditorium he then talked about creating a pair of million-dollar shoes for the Oscars in 2002, worn by Laura Harring. He could have got a bigger name at that time to wear his shoes, but he knew a less popular star up for an award would want to show off the shoes to get more attention. These shoes were created with one million dollars’ worth of diamonds and gained a lot of attention! The celebrity that helped promote the shoes the most was Joan Rivers! Weitzman recalls watching Rivers interview Angelina Jolie and interrupting their talk to see the diamond shoes on Harring! This was no surprise to me considering how much Joan loved jewelry!
The talk wasn’t over yet, Weitzman brings out a couple of pairs of
shoes one being the diamond pair he just talked about to be modeled by a lady
in the audience.
Weitzman really seemed to enjoy speaking to the group and ran a little over but was happy to take questions. After he finished and I was heading back to my apartment I caught myself going to his online store. I realized how effective his talk was and knew I wasn’t alone. A girl near me asked her friends, “How did they get Stuart Weitzman?” Weitzman may have been doing the school a favor but after his talk I think he had things he could benefit from by giving the talk. Besides the free publicity, his company is probably looking for fresh talent and what a way to recruit than by giving a speech like he did with all the celebrities and glittery events! I imagine many of the students in that auditorium will be dreaming of employment at Stuart Weitzman. To me Stuart Weitzman is more than a shoe designer, he is a marketing genius!
If you are looking to improve your business and marketing strategy reach out to me, email@example.com. I would love to help you build a better business with my many years of experience as an analyst and consultant. Thank you for reading and I hope you return soon! If you’re in the Boston area check out Boston Design week, this group helped sponsored the talk that I am able to share with you.
Recently I saw an Instagram Ad by the company Invaluable, about looking at some of their auction pieces. They picked a few pieces from the estate of Elvis Presley to display to me. I have looked at some of Presley’s estate pieces on auction before. I looked at the auction in total and saw an interesting article from the past, a restraining order given to Eddie Fisher by Elizabeth Taylor! A little bit of research had me discovering that 55 years ago this month Taylor and Fisher were finally divorced. The exact date is March 6, 1954.
I’m going to look at some of the jewels Eddie Fisher bought for his
second wife, Elizabeth Taylor. The story behind the jewels and the end of the
marriage that lead to the restraining order on auction now.
The story told by Taylor was that she and her new lover Richard Burton agreed to take a break from their affair about the time that Taylor was celebrating her 30th birthday. Burton did not send so much as a flower over to Taylor in recognition of her birthday. Eddie Fisher was aware of the affair his wife was having with her costar and wanted to try and save her marriage by buying some jewelry from Bulgari. The three pieces below consist of colored and white diamonds.
End of the Marriage
These pieces did not change Taylor’s mind about the marriage and soon
she had left Fisher and wanted a divorce. In Taylor’s book, My Love Affair with
Jewelry, Taylor claimed after the separation Fisher sent her the bill for the
pieces. She did pay it. They are beautiful pieces that were seen from time to
time on Taylor.
The Bulgari jewels that were the more iconic pieces of Taylor’s were the emerald pieces bought by Burton. The prices at auction for 5 of the Bulgari emerald pieces ranged from $3 million- $6 million. There was one emerald piece that was Bulgari but only sold for $1.5 million (buyer’s premium included). This emerald and diamond flower brooch. It was purchased by Eddie Fisher, you can read more on it here.
Elizabeth is wearing the brooch with earrings bought by Burton and you can feel the tension as Fisher tries hard to keep Taylor happy. The brooch still did well above its $200,000-$300,000 estimate. For those interested the emerald earrings did 16 times better than the high estimate of $200,000!
The Current Auction
The restraining order has Eddie Fisher as the plaintiff with a signature by Elizabeth Taylor-Burton as the defendant. A restraining order filed after she married Richard Burton, which I found interesting. The end of the relationship with Eddie was frightening for Elizabeth. An article claims that Taylor woke up with a gun to her head by Fisher. Fisher didn’t pull the trigger saying she was too pretty to kill. Taylor left with her children after that. This is not the only restraining order, Heritage auctions sold one from around the time of this one several years ago.
Will be interesting to see if anyone bids on the document and how much
it goes for. What do you think of the jewelry Eddie picked? If you had the
funds would you have paid the bill in the divorce? Thank you for visiting and I
hope you visit Data in the Rough next week!
Paris, New York, London, these are cities you might think of when you think of jewelry being created. The kind of jewelry that withstands the test of time that you see when you look at exhibits in a museum. If you read my 4-part series on the Evolution of the Jewelry Industry in America that covered the Colonial Era through the late 19th Century. I looked at the listing of jewelers and manufacturers in Boston and talked about how this helped fuel the Boston Arts and Crafts movement. And how Boston was a one time know for its jewelry
If you enjoyed those posts then you should visit the Museum of Fine
Arts (MFA) at Boston. The exhibit on view focuses on the Boston jewelers of the
Arts and Crafts era. Since you may not be able to go my post is covering
several of the items and themes that were on display.
The Featured Designer
Coming up to the exhibit the museum wanted you to know that these
pieces are Boston made. The first piece you see is by Frank Gardner Hale that
is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This designer is
named a leader and advocate in the Boston Arts and Crafts movement. His work is
featured throughout the exhibit and one of his pendants is used on the advertising
material and banners for the jewelry exhibit. The necklace is a dramatic piece with
lots of color.
You enter and more of Hale’s work is displayed.
Here is the necklace I mentioned that is seen on the MFA’s promotional
There were different aspects of the jewelry making process that were featured in the exhibit…
The Design Phase
Some drawings of designs by Frank Hale were included. These drawings
are done in graphite, ink and watercolor. Can you spot the opal necklace we
just looked at?
This media is featured through out the Boston Arts and Crafts movement.
In fact, this is a defining style of Boston. Colors were chosen to mimic or
enhance colored gemstones. The display read that enamels are created by heating
powdered glass to a metal substrate.
There are several types of inspirations two mentioned in the Boston Arts and Crafts movement were designers and historic periods. One designer that has inspired many a modern designer was also inspiring his peers at the time, Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany is in New York but this Black Opal necklace from around 1910 was in the exhibit as a great example of how he used color.
Some historical times that inspired Boston Arts and Crafts jewelers included medieval Europe and Colonial America.
One aspect to note from the jewelry above is the use of color and materials. One item of information that I found very interesting is that the use of color distinct to Boston was due to the educational system at the time. Color Theory was part of the public-school education. I don’t think color theory was used much in my high school classes, mentioned in junior high but could have been elaborated on more. As a reader did you have a public-school education that covered color theory well? That training in color theory is what compelled the jewelers to design with less main stream stones so that the colors they wanted could be achieved! Below is one of my favorite pieces from the color display.
One aspect of exhibits that are becoming more common are features on
women in the field. The MFA included that aspect to the Boston Arts and Crafts
exhibit. Works included Elizabeth Copeland, Josephine Hartwell Shaw, and
Margaret Rogers. A few of their works in the gallery below.
There were a few other areas, but this is a good overview of the exhibit going on at the MFA Boston. The exhibit goes through March 2020, find more info with this link. Please let me know if you have seen it or are planning to go. Are there questions you have about Boston Arts and Crafts? I would be happy to answer what I can. Hope you return next week for more Data in the Rough!
Luxury and e-commerce have always been a little tricky. The brand wants to retain some mystery but still be visible to customers and aspirational buyers. Apparel has done better with adapting to social media and online sales, jewelry again has been slow to adopt new ways of doing business. Last month though Marina B updated their website and added e-commerce! If you follow David Webb, they also updated their website increasing their pieces offered that can be bought online. JCK covered it in an article from late January.
In this post I will look at some of the features on Marina B’s website, the product offerings and where they may move towards in the future with e-commerce.
The home page draws you in with Marina B’s bright colors a signature of
the brand’s design. Scrolling through the page you see some of the three
collections that are on the online shop: Trisola, Trisolina, and Luna.
Then you come to the Jewelry for Muses. I like seeing the celebrities that have worn Marina B through the years, but I think that this is one area that the Marina B team may want to reconsider next time. I would like to see those similar pieces when I click on the photo or see a place above devoted to ‘Who Wore It’ or ‘Worn by’. One site to consider is Kenneth Jay Lane (KJL) who has numerous celebrities wear his jewels. An example of how his site incorporates the story and the sale is Elizabeth Taylor and her famous pendant earring bought by Mike Todd. The Adverturine has more on the history, but here is the KJL version.
A photo of the celebrity wearing the jewels and the product for sale on
Marina B could use Elizabeth Taylor as well who was a customer of Marina B. Marina could mention that the Portanova Diamond Ear Pendants brought in $572,500 at the 2011 Christie’s Auction. Then the website can show that variety as well as other variations of this classic showstopping earring.
A feature that I like as you scroll further is some of the Marina B book by Viviane Jutheau de Witt is available online. It is an out of print book that you can look for on Amazon or Ebay. Ebay is where I bought my copy!
You reach the end of the site to see where the Marina B boutique is
located and the hours. Was thrilled to see that they are open to the public
Monday through Friday! The picture is visually appealing and is making me
consider a mini trip to NYC to see the space!
A quick look at the products online for sale. The table below gives the type and range of prices for the collection and types.
Trisolina is the largest collection ranging from price points of
$2,150-$27,500. A few pieces from Trisolina.
The collection ranges from $1,400 to $27,500. The product mix is heavy
on rings and bracelets/bangles. I would look at offering more earrings, they
are so iconic and show off Marina B’s amazing designs and engineering ability.
Future of Marina B e-commerce
Overall, I like the site, major improvements from the last one. I hope
to see more products and more of Marina B’s story come to the site. Also, I
think the site should add a high jewelry section to really show the amazing
creations that this house is capable of. Have you looked at the site? What do
you like or hope to see improved? If you are looking at branching more into
e-commerce or want to redo your online strategy give me an email and I’d love
to work with you! Thank you for reading Data in the Rough!
Lots of excitement surrounded Lady Gaga for wearing the Tiffany Yellow Diamond last worn by Audrey Hepburn. Several articles on seeing this stunning piece were covered by JCK, Independent, and Town & Country . Lady Gaga’s jewelry and performance will be looked backed on for many years but you wonder if it’s worth the cost? Business of Fashion put out an article titled, Does Oscar Fashion Still Matter? (accessible only to BOF Professional subscribers) Drawing attention to some of the numbers a recent poll referenced in the article found 44% of Americans did not watch the awards show red carpet coverage. I was in those numbers. Of the 56% that did only 6% said they watched for the fashion. (This was a sample size of 2,203) So how much does the jewelry matter? And what is the cost to a jewelry house? I can’t get specific numbers of current celebs, but I want to look back at one of the most famous red-carpet jewel and star, Elizabeth Taylor at the 1970 Oscars wearing the famous Taylor-Burton Diamond.
Brief Background on Taylor-Burton Diamond
The Taylor-Burton Diamond has been mentioned by Taylor in books and interviews. The cost of the jewel was disclosed at being $1,050,000 in 1969 bought from Cartier. Taylor wore this 69.42 carat pear with diamond set necklace to the 1970 Oscars accompanied by her husband and actor Richard Burton.
Taylor presented that year so many people got to see this piece on display. The cost of insuring it was $1 million by Lloyd’s of London. Taylor could wear the diamond out 30 days of the year, for all others it was locked in a safe. The diamond was sold in 1979 for between $3-$5 million to New York jeweler, Henry Lambert who sold it that same year to jewelry house Mouawad for close to $5 million.
The Added Cost of High Jewelry
Since the numbers are not available for the Tiffany Diamonds cost to be
out, I will look at what it cost Elizabeth Taylor to wear that gem out.
I mentioned above the numbers from that time period, but I want to adjust them for inflation, so we see the price in today’s dollars. You can check out other prices from the CPI calculator I found online here.
Tiffany Diamond Estimate
The Tiffany Diamond is 128 carats and valued at over $30 million by a CBS report. The diamond has not been out since the Audrey Hepburn stills for Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1962. My guess is that Tiffany bought an insurance policy for this event and if Lady Gaga did not already have jeweler’s insurance she likely signed off that she would be financially responsible if something were to happen. I found an article detailing more about celebrity jewelry policies here. This is one of the main reason stars don’t own their jewelry. The cost would likely be much greater than Taylor’s piece.
Will this really boost Tiffany’s bottom line? The reason for exposure at an award show is to create brand awareness to sell to those watching these shows. Since Tiffany is a publicly traded company, I will take a peak at their first and second quarter financials when they become available. I would be interested in seeing how the Tiffany Diamond is mentioned and displayed in the store with this new celebrity connection. What I wouldn’t give to see the numbers on the foot traffic over the year in the NYC Fifth Avenue store!
So far, the response seems mostly positive following Hepburn is a hard act, but Tiffany is trying to make their industry relevant which benefits more than Tiffany. If you are looking at new ways to market your product and need some guidance on how to measure its effectiveness. Also, if you need help making sure you are accounting for all your costs when launching a campaign or starting a new business venture. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org ! Thank you for reading this post and for all the Elizabeth Taylor fans out there I didn’t forget Dame Taylor’s birthday tomorrow! Return soon for more Data in the Rough!
Do you consider jewelry art? What kind of jewelry? I think of jewelry as art but only certain kinds I really enjoy viewing. The JAR exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City was an art show to me. It was also the first time I went to the Met. I made the trip again earlier in the month to see Jewelry: The Body Transformed before it ends on Sunday February 24th. It opened in November, a short time for viewing, if you had to travel to see it. Jewelry featured in museums is becoming more common. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has their own jewelry focused exhibit that started in November 2018 as well, that exhibit goes into 2020 and I hope to see it soon!
For this post I’ll give some highlights from the exhibit, what I thought of it and look at how this might set the trend for many more shows focusing on jewelry.
The exhibit was across 2 rooms with many different eras and styles covered. Below are only a few of the many pieces that have played a part in human culture.
Modern and Ancient Jewelry
Jewelry from Other Cultures
18th & 19th Century Jewelry
Jewelry of Business
One of my favorite sections was themed Jewelry of Business and included Tiffany & Co, Marcus & Co., Lalique, Cellini, to name a few. These were successful businesses and many are still around. I did feel something was missing from the exhibit.
What did I see missing from Jewelry: The Body Transformed?
One designer missing was my favorite, Faberge. I did not see anything of his work in the exhibit. He should have had items in the Business of Jewelry. The Met has a display of his work so after I was done looking at Jewelry: The Body Transformed, I found my Faberge section. See a photo of some of the Imperial Eggs below.
The Future Exhibits
If Faberge had been included I would say this was a near perfect exhibit. I think that maybe the Met should look into creating a larger exhibit dedicated to the Russian goldsmith. For the future of exhibits I see more jewelry exhibits. Hillwood just finished their Faberge exhibit and I mentioned about the MFA current exhibit. I think that the interest is there museums and curators need to look at the business and workmanship angle to better educate the public on the artistry and craft of jewelry.
Thank you for reading and visit the exhibit at the Met if you are in the area. Please leave me a comment if you went or what pieces you liked from my post. Looking forward to posting more on Data in the Rough!
In my last post I mentioned that the Valentine Displays were a little lite on 5th Avenue. Several jewelry store windows were decorated for the Chinese New Year that started on February 5th. For this post I will look at a few factors of why that is and see if those were good reasons for the stores visual merchandising strategy. The two factors I am focusing on are spending for these holiday’s and the number of stores present in the USA and China.
Valentine’s versus Chinese New Year spending
Valentine’s is a major retail holiday in the us in terms of spending. The National Retail Federation put out some data on Valentine’s spending. Below are some highlights.
Notice the expected percentage celebrating in 2019 dropped to about 51% but total expected spending ($20.7 billion) increased versus last year. So that means spending per person is up. It’s worth noting that when breaking the data down by gender men outspend women on Valentine gifts.
Spending per person for Valentine’s Day is expected to increase 12.8%
versus 2018 which comes to a total of $161.96.
Those are good numbers, but they do not come close to Asian countries celebrating the New Year. An article published this week by CNBC did a survey with several Asian countries to see on average how much they were planning to spend for this year. Below is a table summarizing the findings:
As you can see even the lowest average per person spend (Indonesia) is
almost 5 times a US Valentine spender’s budget. China’s numbers were not available,
but the total spend estimate was. The article is quoted at estimating China’s
total spend at ‘just under $140 billion. in retail and catering services over
the week-long holiday’. Above the National Retail Federation listed the US
Valentine total expected spend at $20.7 billion.
This is no surprise about China’s spending power, they have over a
billion people. But will changing the window displays in the US jewelry stores
really make that big of an impact? What is the brand presence of these high-end
jewelry brands in China?
Number of US stores vs Chinese stores
Walking down 5th Avenue and noting all the new year decorations in many of the jewelry store windows I decided to go online to get a count of the number of stores that these jewelry brands had in the US versus China. Below is the table with my research:
These numbers were found on the respective brands website and only
include salons/boutiques not licensed sellers. Hong Kong (HK) is included with
All but 2 companies have more Chinese stores than US locations. Tiffany
and Harry Winston have more US than Chinese locations. Harry Winston has chosen
to celebrate the Chinese New Year and from my previous post Tiffany went with
Even though both Tiffany and Harry Winston are American-based brands,
Tiffany has a more iconic American brand, so I think it made sense to decorate
the stores for an American holiday. Harry Winston is probably hoping like many
other stores that their New Year decorations will welcome in the estimated 6.15
million Chinese traveling abroad for the holiday. Tourism abroad is up for China,
but the US has felt a decline, a report describing more of that is here. Tiffany
is the only publicly traded company on the list so I won’t be able to compare
sales results, but I will be interested in seeing Tiffany’s quarterly report
for my own curiosity.
The pig in the Chinese Zodiac signifies wealth and prosperity. Hopefully the Jewelry Industry experiences that this year. If you want to restart your new year and revamp your strategy send me an email at: email@example.com . I wish all my readers lots of luck and prosperity in this new year. To end my post, I want to share some of the Chinese New Year displays I have been talking about. Enjoy the pictures below of my NYC window shopping trip last weekend!