When I walk trade shows I look for more than new products. As a business strategist and teacher, I want to see evidence of terrific business practice and innovation. Every show I go to, whether it’s jewelry, electronics, software, accessories, or apparel, I try to find at least two examples of terrific entrepreneurship. Though Jewelry Week 2014 isn’t quite over yet, I have two exciting lessons to share!
The Fairy Fastener
I have a Gucci chain bracelet that I never take off. Yes, it has sentimental value, but that’s not why I never take it off. I never take it off because it’s so hard to put on again. I have tried several of the bracelet holders I’ve seen in the past – and once even made one for myself – but nothing ever worked quickly and without ticking me off.
So yesterday at the JCK Las Vegas Show I bumped into a charming woman wearing fairy wings (I’m clumsy that way) and I find out (how did we get started talking anyway? ) that she sells a bracelet assistance device. That works. The design is shaped so the palm of your hand keeps it from rolling, and the bracelet clip end is large and easy to set. Plus, it is very attractive and comes in a velvet sleeve so it makes sense as part of a jewelry store offering. They also have a magnetic add-on clasp for neck chains, which helps people with dexterity problems fasten a necklace. It attaches to the clasp ends and becomes the new clasp. It is a combination of magnets and metal pins, so the magnets do the grabbing and the pins do the holding. And because it is pretty, it looks like a sweet jewelry detail at the back of the neck.
I had found my non-jewelry fun-find of Jewelry Week! Usually my heart is won by technology or a machine, but Fairy Fastener is a great example of both smart product design and very smart business women.
There’s a lot to love here. Jewelry retailers need to maximize opportunities for add-on, impulse, and gift sales, so the product designers of Fairy Fastener are meeting a poorly met need. The packaging and product design were clearly developed with a jewelry store in mind, so the sisters that own the company (triplets, by the way) are clear about their target customers. And they are really working the show for leads, so they know how to make the most of their trade show investment.
Here’s a big shout out to Fairy Fasteners for coming out with a great product and being savvy business people. This is topping my list of non-jewelry fun finds at the show!! Go check them out, at Booth #B2887 to see for yourself. Or check them out here: http://www.fairyfastener.com/product/necklace-fairy/
Vintage, Jules Style
Julie Romanenko (AKA Just Jules) is well-known for finding the best vintage lockets in antique markets around the country, then remaking them into modern designer jewelry. These lovely lockets are one of her two signatures, and they tie her passion for finding and restoring treasures to her passion for designing jewelry. Her second (equal) signature is her jewelry line, which brings vintage design elements to a deliciously classic, modern look.
Julie knew she needed to draw these two signatures into a tighter package, and she has scored with her new bridal line. The line continues with her use of filigree elements, colored diamonds, and the most delicious bezels you’ll see anywhere, but she brought her antique elements into the line – and tied her lockets and designer line closer together – by using antique pins for the bands.
This is a clear score from a merchandising standpoint, because it makes the line more cohesive and strengthens her identity as a designer. It’s also a score from a marketing standpoint. The demand for personalized and unique items is higher than ever, so by using antique pins for the bands, Just Jules’ bridal rings are truly one-of-a-kinds. Her play on the concept of “something old” for the bride is also delightfully creative.
When products are successful it’s always due to more than the product itself. Business and market savvy are essential elements of success. Go see this terrific example of beautiful design and smart business sense at the Couture Show, in the Next Wave salon.