Many jewelers reject it as not worth their time. Others believe customers would not be interested. But if you haven’t considered beads, you may be missing out on a hotbed for greater profits, increased store traffic, and enhanced customer relationships.
If you don’t think consumers of all ages like beads, listen to retailers who successfully sell the category. Artisan galleries to fine jewelers say their customers are hooked on the concept of creating their own jewelry to express who they are. And it takes more than a handful of beads to satisfy their appetite.
To see what real consumers say about their obsession visit the web site of Rogers Gallery, Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, and enter a special consumer forum for collectors of Trollbeads. Some describe bead collecting as their “guilty pleasure,” one of their “few vices.” Several admit to possessing more than 500 beads obtained as gifts and self purchases. Louise Rogers, store owner, chats with bloggers daily.
“The people I hear from on our forum confirm to me that this is not just a passing fad,” Rogers says. Rogers also started a Facebook page for Trollbead devotees that acquired 800 members in less than a month. “There’s true enthusiasm for this product. It’s artistic, has meaning, can be customized to change looks, and allows consumers to express themselves.”
Beads are the current take on a phenomenon that’s actually centuries old: charms. The appeal of charms has always been to create a unique piece of jewelry that expresses the wearer’s lifestyle.
There are two times in a woman’s life when she traditionally gets a charm bracelet, as a young girl and for her marriage, says Laryssa Johnson, marketing director for Rembrandt Charms. “Charm bracelets are given from mother to daughter, either as a new gift or passing it on as a family heirloom. The daughter then adds her own charms to the bracelet. When a woman marries, she gets a new charm bracelet to celebrate her future life moments. This bracelet is frequently referred to as her lifetime bracelet, growing over the years to one day be passed on.”
This Buffalo, New York-based leading charm manufacturer boasts a large collection of handcrafted charms—over 10,000 styles in sterling silver, gold plate, 10k yellow gold, and 14k yellow and white gold. A Rembrandt retailer for the past decade, Joel Kaber of Mount-n-Repair Silver Jewelry, Birmingham, Michigan, has seen his charm sales grow annually by about 25 percent. “People who buy charms tend to collect and come back. It’s a great breeding ground for customer loyalty.”