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!

The Pinky Ring Campaign: Analyzing a Potential Trend

Which is more important the product or the marketing? A combination of both is best for getting sustainable results for your business but if you needed to choose one area to improve what would you choose? For the company, Fred and Far, they are focusing their marketing campaign on a common item in the jewelry industry a diamond ring. The marketing gimmick is that the diamond ring is for your pinky. The meaning is to represent self-love. This is not to be confused with a signet ring, that can also be worn on your pinky finger.  I heard about this pinky ring from an article from JCK (Jewelers Circular Keystone), that publishes a jewelry insider magazine and has online articles about topics facing the industry. The article is, New Pinky Ring Means I Love Myself , a link is included.

I had to learn more about this company and product. This campaign felt similar to the Right Hand Ring Campaign De Beers launched in 2003 and ended in 2005. Ads were in magazines and mainstream media showing strong women with a diamond ring on their right hand. Do you remember any of the advertisements below?

DeBeers Right Hand Ring Ads

The campaign stopped after two years because De Beers research saw the focus moving from ‘me’ to ‘we’. It looks like Fred and Far are feeling that there is a need for self-love jewelry. I went to their site and saw the campaign front and center on the landing page.

Women holding hands to campaign for self-love pinky ring

The product is defiantly geared towards women. There are two founders, both women, who started this business in 2015. The company’s Instagram posts started about 5 weeks ago and has just under 9,000 followers. The focus of their media is choosing yourself. Has the thought shifted from ‘we’ to ‘me’? I think that Fred and Far should just expect a niche revolution not a mass revolution. The rings range in price of $150 for a sterling setting and $325 for 14K in the three metal choices, rose, white or yellow gold. At those prices you know that the stone is not a real diamond but a lab grown white sapphire. Pictures of the ring and description from the Fred and Far website below.

screen shot of Fred and Far Pinky ring page

At the lower price point I think the campaign will start a mini trend among millennials. I don’t see too many women 40+ buying into the self-love hype. I personally was not moved by the De Beers right hand ring campaign. I wear a ring on my right ring finger but not due to advertising. I also do not need an excuse to buy a diamond ring. If I like it and can afford it I’ll buy it, no encouragement necessary.

Pinky ring in yellow, white, rose gold
(L) Pinky ring shown in rose, white and yellow gold. (R) Side view of rose gold ring. Photos from Fred and Far website.

To conclude my thoughts on the pinky ring, I would advise Fred and Far to look at other products to sustain their business long term. This pinky ring is the only item sold on the website for now. That’s one issue I see with the company it is hoping to spark a trend but trends will fade and that pinky ring will be dated. De Beers was smart in that respect it used what it had already to market to a different group and when the trend with that segment ended those rings went on to a new campaign. De Beers right hand rings will not be dated because it was pure marketing not inventing a new product. For those reading did the De Beers campaign convince you to buy a right hand ring? What do you think of this potential pinky ring trend? Do you own a pinky ring that you wear? Have you seen anyone wear a pinky ring like the one above? Thank you for reading and return soon for more Data in the Rough!

pinky ring worn on hand
Views from Fred and Far Instagram of pinky ring being worn.