As another New Year fast approaches it is time to consider what the jewellery industry has in store for 2018.
The last 12 months have been tumultuous for retail, with businesses facing the impact of Brexit, unstable hallmarking figures and business rate woes. But, as we all know, the jewellery industry is infused with long-standing family traditions, fantastic people and creative skills that sparkle from the High Street and via the World Wide Web. It is this passion for a vibrant industry that guides the IJL team as we step into 2018.
Every year at IJL, countless brands, businesses and suppliers unveil their latest products and innovations. Drawing on this limitless source of inspiration and insight from the wider IJL community, we have developed five core predictions about what will shape the trade in 2018.
Take a look at our ideas below, and let us know your predictions on Twitter @jewellerylondon.
Jewellery Industry Trends 2018: Brand Power
It was clear that leading suppliers couldn’t steer clear of the branded boom for too long. As a result, many have now stepped into the branded space, turning their long history and heritage into a brand story in its own right.
Fantastic examples include bridal jewellery and wedding band specialist, Brown & Newirth, that has masterfully created shop-in-shop boutiques, brand advertising and collections that put its name, rather than its retail partners, at the centre. Despite this shift, its relationships with retailers are arguably stronger than ever, proving that becoming a brand need not ruin hard-won partnerships.
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Charles Green, Hockley Mint, Domino and Curteis are also continuing with branded efforts (with some fantastic look-books and marketing materials on display at IJL 2017), and we expect this to flourish in 2018. Finally, expect to see more brands and suppliers considering own-brand boutiques in strategically-important locations. Clogau has benefited from its portfolio, while Henryka and Deakin & Francis (see below) are inviting customers into their worlds in Hereford and London respectively.
Jewellery Industry Trends 2018: Bespoke Brides
In recent years, brides have become more aware of the bespoke options available to them. They are more willing than ever before to push for something unique. But with the advent of personalisation and customisation in fashion jewellery, brides are beginning to expect more than just a design tweaked to their personal style… they want one-of-a-kind engravings, hidden messages, fingerprints and the complete experience that encapsulates this level of detail.
IJL 2017 Exhibitor of the Year Insignety is leading the way in this area, offering brides the chance to have their heartbeat, fingerprints, signature or unique messages inscribed onto wedding bands.
For retailers, this means carefully communicating the presence of a bespoke service, whether creating a dedicated area in store, online or by allowing customers to browse beautiful portfolios of past designs in store. Take customers on a journey that is luxurious and unique to them to reap the rewards. UK Jewellery Award 2017 double winner, Allum & Sidaway is a great example of this in action.
Jewellery Trends 2018: Savvy Shoppers
It is safe to say that customers aren’t afraid to ask questions. A continuing interest in Fairtrade and ethical sourcing will combine with the urgency of environmental concerns in 2018, focusing millennial attention on not only where your jewellery comes from, but its impact on the planet itself.
Over the next 12 months, sales training will need to adapt to help employees answer questions in the right way, without leaving the customer confused or in doubt as to your authenticity. A clear communication strategy will also be required to show how your jewellery is a force for good.
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What does this mean for emerging designer brands? Start as you mean to go on in 2018 by including a FAQ section on your website, spelling-out your ethical intentions or sharing behind-the-scenes pictures of the making process. The more authentic and transparent you can be, the better.
Jewellery Trends 2018: Employee Experience
2016 and 2017 were all about the customer experience and how a retail store can offer the ‘wow-factor’. 2018 will focus more on the Employee Experience. Why? Because fantastic, dedicated and well-trained staff are needed to drive these customer experiences forward. As retail evolves, retail employees will need to evolve too. Outdated training manuals and clunky videos will be replaced with contemporary, mentor-led training initiatives, designed to support Millennial and Gen-Z staff members with easily-digestible video clips via their mobile phones.
This new generation of employees also needs to see how their hard work can benefit their career prospects, so create a clear path from junior to manager from the get-go. The emphasis must be on showing how retail jewellery is not just a Saturday job, but a thriving and varied career.
Jewellery Trends 2018: Rock, Roll and Royalty
We already know that Pantone has declared ‘Ultra Violet’ the colour of 2018, but what else is in store for jewellery design in the next 12 months? The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May is likely to step away from ‘traditional’ royal weddings, adding a slightly more contemporary edge to proceedings.
For this reason, expect to see classically elegant designs and meticulous vintage-inspired pieces mixed with more rock-and-roll touches. As Miss Markle’s engagement ring is a trilogy diamond ring, perhaps an array of diamond and precious gemstone set versions is a good place to start!
— ProfessionalJeweller (@PJeweller) December 4, 2017
Royalty aside, 2018 looks set to be the year of pearls, quirky charms and oversized earrings. Single strands of pearls will be set aside for rock-chick layering, featuring spikes, inky-black crystal accents and pops of colour. Elsewhere charm bracelets will emerge renewed in 2018 with quirkier, eccentric charms that tell a story beyond the traditional ‘mother’, ‘daughter’ or ’21st birthday’ tropes.
Finally, oversized earrings by the likes of Becca will continue to storm ahead (although IP issues in this area are sadly a concern for many talented designers), alongside quirky cameos and a resurgence of inlay and enamelling to create miniaturised paintings for a new generation.
IJL is #withyou exploring the biggest jewellery trends and future-proofing your business with ideas and inspiration. Discover all of the biggest jewellery trends for SS18 here.
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