Jew­ellery busi­ness shows how to cre­ate a brand from scratch

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

AS the econ­omy re­turns to growth, the jew­ellery in­dus­try in par­tic­u­lar is a sec­tor that has emerged changed im­mensely. When global mar­kets and cur­ren­cies fluc­tu­ate, in­vestors di­vert their in­vest­ment and seek safe havens such as gold and other me­tals. As a re­sult, spot gold has dou­bled in price in the last 10 years.

This has se­ri­ous im­pli­ca­tions for the fine jew­ellery in­dus­try, where the cost of their raw ma­te­rial plays such a siz­able part of the price mix. There­fore the chains, bracelets and ring styles of old are less af­ford­able for most.

As a re­sult, the jew­ellery in­dus­try has re­acted by some­times de­sign­ing pieces that have less pre­cious me­tal con­tent.

TJH Ltd is an Ir­ish fam­ily-run busi­ness based in Dublin for more than 65 years. One of Ire­land’s long­est es­tab­lished man­u­fac­tur­ers and whole­salers, its cus­tomer base is mainly the in­de­pen­dent Ir­ish re­tailer. For over 30 years, it has also been dis­tribut­ing in the UK and US, ser­vic­ing the Ir­ish di­as­pora.

It has had lots of suc­cess over the years with gold and sil­ver Celtic de­sign and con­tem­po­rary col­lec­tions. In re­cent times and key to its suc­cess, the com­pany has also in­no­vated with more mod­ern de­signs to ap­peal to a wider au­di­ence. RE­CENT CHAL­LENGES Even be­fore the fi­nan­cial crash, the mar­ket was chang­ing. In my early days as a re­tailer of jew­ellery, watches were the only prod­ucts where brand­ing was es­sen­tial. Jew­ellery has since moved on from be­ing an heir­loom pur­chase to a fash­ion item in its own right. Now al­most 90pc of the fine jew­ellery mar­ket is driven by brands. Cus­tomers want af­ford­able lux­ury.

With changes in fash­ion trends and in­creases in pre­cious me­tal prices, the ‘take-away’ jew­ellery mar­ket ex­ploded. Fast fash­ion re­tail­ers idea, a well-con­sid­ered plan and a bud­get. TJH cre­ated an amaz­ing USP (unique sell­ing point) by se­cur­ing an ex­clu­sive li­cence from Galan­tas Gold Corp, which op­er­ates the only com­mer­cial gold mine in Ire­land. Imag­ine the po­ten­tial in that — where the di­as­pora can lit­er­ally buy a piece of the ‘old sod’ to cher­ish and pass through the fam­ily for gen­er­a­tions?

TJH fol­lowed th­ese steps in building House of Lor. lots of com­pet­i­tive re­search to es­tab­lish a target mar­ket, with de­sign ideas and solid routes to mar­ket. This doesn’t have to cost money. Go and book time with sev­eral cus­tomers and seek their in­put. your mar­ket po­si­tion­ing (TJH de­vel­oped an ex­clu­sive range of con­tem­po­rary Ir­ish and fash­ion-led pieces to fit with that. The team also in­tro­duced pieces made from a com­bi­na­tion of rare Ir­ish gold and ster­ling sil­ver to cre­ate af­ford­able lux­ury). Where do you see your pric­ing com­pared to the com­pe­ti­tion? What level of qual­ity and de­sign will make you dif­fer­ent enough? a rel­e­vant brand name, logo and tag line (pos­si­bly seek­ing ex­ter­nal help from a de­sign agency for ob­jec­tive in­put). This should be con­sis­tent across all col­lat­eral. a con­tent mar­ket­ing plan and en­sure a con­sis­tent mes­sage across all com­mu­ni­ca­tions and chan­nels. So­cial me­dia is an in­ex­pen­sive way to build brand aware­ness. (House of Lor is a col­lectibles range, and there­fore clev­erly prompts re­peat pur­chases.) in part­ner­ship with all stake­hold­ers to get your brand out there, both through the trade and on-line if you can. your trade part­ners to sell the prod­uct out of their stores. This will in­volve great mar­ket­ing col­lat­eral and train­ing for the re­tail sales­peo­ple. It’s easy to mo­ti­vate them to sell your prod­uct when you en­gage with them and share your story. When they know the heritage, the fea­tures and ben­e­fits of your prod­uct, they will sell more. your plan and track all progress and feed­back care­fully. Then take cor­rec­tive ac­tion as you go. SUM­MARY Make no mis­take — it takes years to build a brand. The steps here are not in­tended to be the de­fin­i­tive list but they’ll il­lus­trate that there is a science to it. The steps are it­er­a­tive, as you may find your­self ‘imag­i­neer­ing’ a brand name and logo for ex­am­ple, be­fore you fi­nalise prod­uct de­signs. Each step is crit­i­cal though and can­not be over­looked.

TJH is now five years into building House of Lor. Al­ready the com­pany has made changes to prod­uct de­sign as the team mon­i­tors what pieces sell bet­ter than oth­ers. The com­pany is now well placed as it heads in to the peak Christ­mas trad­ing sea­son and pre­pares to ex­hibit at Show­case, Ire­land’s cre­ative expo.

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