Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jewelry on Sale

 Unless you don’t have a television or haven’t read a newspaper in the past week or so, you probably won’t know about the new pricing structure at JC Penney. JC Penney has decided to forgo constant sales in order to offer its customers lower everyday pricing. They will also promote a monthly sale and clearance sales designed to clear out merchandise that either isn’t moving or to clear space for new merchandise. I applaud JC Penney’s attitude, but not the annoying TV advertisement. It is about time that stores stop their phony bologna sales structure. This is when a store buys a product, marks it up to a phenomenal price and calls it retail, then promptly slashes it in half and declares the product as now 50% off. It’s almost seems illegal.

It has been standard practice for stores to put merchandise on sale in order to move stock. If a price of an item is seen as low or as a value, it is more likely to be purchased. My husband and I had this conversation just the other day. We had to ask ourselves when a bargain is a bargain. If you buy something you don’t need even at 50% off have you really saved any money or are you just fooling yourself? Someone who knows the regular price of an item, they will not be fooled by a sticker that says it’s on sale. Savvy shoppers know when something is a good deal. Unfortunately, not everyone is a savvy shopper and let’s face it, some items are not purchased on a daily or weekly basis. When you are shopping for a new car how do you know you are getting the best deal? Jewelry is another item that is frequently on sale and also purchased infrequently.

I sometimes stroll through mall stores and am constantly amazed at all the sales. When I check out their prices I wonder if the price is actually a sale or creative accounting. It pays to see how others market their ware in any retail store. Knowing what the product actually sells for is always invaluable information. Sales signs today are standard advertising because they have become ubiquitous and maybe people are becoming desensitized. Unless a store is going out of business, why do they have so many sales? My theory is, if someone really likes the product, is in the market for the product, they will take your price on face value, IF that price is reasonable. Having a sale constantly reduces the value of the product and potentially your credibility as a retailer. Can you really trust them when they say it’s a good price?

The barrage of sales over the past couple of years has been mind boggling. Retailers have felt a need to constantly try and undercut their competitors and give the appearance of having the best prices in town, this is all beyond me. I look for a good price but I’m reasonable in my expectations. I don’t think I’ll be able to buy a Rolex for a dollar and if I could it wouldn’t be a Rolex. Everyone wants to get as much “bang for their buck” as possible and people should do a little research before making a major purchase. Our current economic situation has shown that impulse purchasing is not a good idea. So maybe after years of buying for no reason other than because they want it, people are returning to sensible shopping behavior. They are purchasing what they need, what they can afford and doing their research to get the best value, fantastic sale price not needed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I Went to Macworld

These guys had a case you could drop, and a cool van

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, what does Macworld have to do with a jewelry and fashion blog? My love for everything bling brought me to Macworld in an attempt to find some new iPhone and iPad cases that were jewel like but not over the top. I did find a company that makes cases with Swarovski elements and their product is very attractive and not overly done up. The most amazing part was how bland most cases really were and how many companies seem to be marketing a variation of the same item.

 Pardon the blurry photo but people wouldn't hold still

My husband is an Apple fan. He has been trying for years to get me on the same page and when an opportunity to freely browse the Macworld floor presented itself, my husband couldn’t resist. He was intent on finding and questioning the software developers. Most of the discussions he had with these guys went completely over my head. I stuck to things I understood, pretty shiny things. Every vendor who sold a case got a view from me. I looked through every booth hoping to find something shiny. I was pretty disappointed. Many of the retailers carried cases that were plastic or rubber and simply came in a multitude of colors. They were not anymore special then the cases you would find at the local mall, maybe even less so. Some of the cases had pictures and you could customize the case with a picture of your kids or a sunset from your vacation in Mexico. Wasn’t there a kiosk at the mall that did this with t-shirts?

 White Diamond cases

The next category of cases was gadget cases. These cases represented people who obviously take their iPhones and iPads to places they probably shouldn’t go. They had many vendors selling cases to keep your electronics dry, even underwater in the ocean. There were cases that kept your electronics from breaking if you dropped it off the top of a ladder. There were also cases that opened beer bottles, apps to keep track and a multitude of wallet cases. These are cases that you slide your iPhone or iPad into that also holds your license, credit cards and money. People carry around their smart phones but not always their wallets, go figure. There were cases that attached your iPhone to a pole, turned it into a steady cam and hung it around your neck. Truly amazing and truly odd.

 Kind of like this case by White Diamond

While I may not have found the perfect case I did see a lot of over the top cases. There was one case company that had so much bling it probably could be seen from outer space. Another company had cartoonish bling cases. While I love a teddy bear made of real fur and a diamond collar, I’m not sure it would be a look that would work for me. I did find one company that has cases that are pretty and a little different, in a good way. I still haven’t made a decision on which case I would like to own. They have a snazzy brochure so I’m sure I will eventually make a decision and if you ever want to see the weirdest gadgets along with some pretty cool stuff, go to Macworld where creativity is the name of the game.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Need Jewelry Pictures

Natural stone necklace, iPhone photograph

Those of you who have been reading my blog know that I have a small operation. I am not a large corporation with lots of minions running around doing my bidding; I have one, my husband. He works on all the video stuff, computer programming and picture taking for the website. While actual work is keeping him very busy I still need my pictures. I have jewelry that I would love to put up on the website but no photographs. I’ve spoken to him about this and he is usually working on something else so it gets perpetually put on a back burner. It’s not easy to photograph jewelry, unlike coins, so once he is in a coin photography mood it’s hard to persuade him to do something else.

 This carnelian necklace would look way better if my husband took the picture

Photography for jewelry is hard. The lighting has to be right, the environment has to be clean and dust free and the jewelry has to be staged correctly. Each piece of jewelry has its own characteristics and must be adjusted accordingly. You can’t just put it on a board, focus the camera and click. Unlike coins, jewelry’s depth must be captured in the photograph or it looks dull and lifeless, and who would want to purchase a piece of lifeless jewelry. The set up is hard and can be frustrating. When my husband photographs coins he has precise equipment that is designed to capture the coin and lighting that requires very little adjustment. His rig is also connected to a computer so once a coin is in place and focused, he snaps away using his mouse. The picture appears right on his computer screen so he can make adjustments without starting over. When he takes pictures of jewelry it’s not so easy.

We have a separate area for jewelry photograph away from computers that are used for editing. So he must take numerous photographs of the jewelry with only the view screen on the camera as reference. Once he has taken a number of photos he must download them to his computer and begin viewing. This is when you find out if the lighting was slightly off or the picture just didn’t turn out the way you had envisioned, it can be frustrating. This is probably why he has been avoiding me.

 An awful picture of really beautiful freshwater pearls

So eventually he will have to move out of the comfort of his office/studio where he is busy photographing coins. He has to come out sometimes because I know there isn’t any food or water in there. So hopefully I will get some decent pictures of my jewelry and it will be placed on the website in the near future. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Can You Own a Color?

YSL Trib Too on the left and Louboutin Bambou on the right
Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

Recently lawyers for Christian Louboutin were in the United States 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to try and reverse a decision that has disallowed the famous shoe maker exclusive rights to the color red on the soles of shoes. Louboutin’s lawyers argue that the “China Red” that is used on the soles of their shoes is a trademark of their brand. The court argues that the use of red, as a color, is critical in fashion and banning other designers from placing this color on the soles of shoes gives Louboutin a monopoly on a single color. This case stems from the use of red on the soles of a shoe designed by the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent.

While I agree that Louboutin has made the sole of a shoe their own personal fashion statement. Many associate the red sole with Louboutin; it is hard to deny that allowing only Louboutin the right to coat a sole with red as unfair. Fashion is creativity and anything that stifles creativity is wrong. In comparison, Louboutin’s lawyers have argued that UPS uses the color brown, Owen’s Corning used pink for its insulation and Tiffany’s has Robin’s Egg Blue for their iconic boxes. But unlike these companies, the use of the color in the fashion world is important. If another company used brown panel truck, you may not immediately think of UPS unless there was also the gold logo on the side. Additionally, insulation has typically been yellow so deviation from the norm makes it stand out. Other companies do not manufacture insulation in rainbow colors.

The Robin’s Blue symbolizing Tiffany’s is used on their awnings and packaging. The color is not given to Tiffany’s for their exclusive use in jewelry manufacturing. If so, they would be the only ones to market gemstones with this shade. While it is a shame that Louboutin is denied this exclusive right, something the fashion house made famous, it is hard to side with their argument that they are the only ones who should use red. I think it would be different if the sole of the shoe was red and there was some type of defining mark or logo.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of this case as it will shape the fashion world forever. I do not see Louboutin winning their argument simply because it would open the door for other fashion houses to exclusive rights to color which would severely impact fashion for the worse. Since this is a creative field, I think Louboutin should get really creative and find a way to mark their shoes so everyone knows it is a Louboutin and no I don’t mean with just a color.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Luxury Goods and the Masses

Personalized beads can be a little bit of luxury

I saw an interesting blip on a book called “Let them Eat Cake: Marketing luxury to the masses as well as the classes” by Pamela N. Danzinger. The book is meant as a marketing information tool and I am sometimes drawn to these types of books because luxury and the concept behind luxury fascinate me. One of the blurbs in this book explains how luxury goods are first purchased by the higher income classes and then eventually filters down to the masses and becomes everyday living necessities. Apparently some of the things that were once considered luxury items are now in everyone’s pockets and homes. A prime example is the cell phone. Once considered an expensive luxury, phone rates were outrageous and phones were bulky, now they are sleek and do everything a computer can do. Plus everyone has one, I saw a homeless guy holding a sign directing people to “donate” to his PayPal account while talking on a cell phone.

Another example is the wine refrigerator, once considered an expensive non-necessity, now they are featured in most homes. This addition to our lives could come from the increase in wine drinkers and the need to preserve the product. Even if you buy inexpensive wine you can’t drink it all right away and need to preserve it. Not everyone can afford an expensive wine cave to store their wine and the smaller wine refrigerator is perfect. This concept of luxury speaks to value. How much value does a particular luxury item add to your life or how much money can having this item eventually save you in spoiled wine? While some things are symbols of luxury, some are just practical.

But luxury should also be fun. If you don’t like to be massaged, spending hours in a spa having this procedure is more torture than luxury. If you are not enjoying something why bother? No matter how prestigious the caviar I still cannot seem to enjoy it and forget about pate, not my cup of tea. This is why I love jewelry. It is something I can enjoy and collect. In particular, I love the charm bracelet right now. It’s versatile and not that expensive. While it may take awhile to collect a bracelet full of beads and they can add up, it’s fun, functional and adds panache to my outfits. I’m working on my first bracelet and it’s about half done. I’m thinking that a couple of beads would be nice for Valentine’s Day, and while I love the heart beads and romance beads, I probably will stick to what matches my bracelet. I’m going for a purely esthetic look.

 I love Italian Murano Glass beads

I’m sure once the bracelet is filled I will start another one. This is the idea of luxury. Taking an everyday piece and adding to it. I have to admit it feels great as the weight of this bracelet increases with each new bead. It’s fun to collect and it gives me the opportunity to have something that I consider a luxury. My luxury is something that I want but don’t actually need. So go out and find out what your little luxury is it could be something as simple as a cup of expensive blended coffee or maybe a new cell phone. No matter what it is it should be fun and best of all, something that makes you feel special.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hearts are Symbolic

Valentine’s Day has been labeled by some as a holiday invented by florists and greeting card companies. This statement is usually made by some hapless male who is stuck once again on what to get his significant other. I like to think of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to be romantic. In our everyday lives we can forget to have a little romance. The everyday mundane tasks of getting the kids to school, picking up the dry cleaning, running to the bank and store, then having to cook dinner can make us forget why we got married in the first place, we fell in love.

 Give her flowers

My husband’s cousin married his wife on Valentine’s Day and I’m sure many couples have become engaged on this day each year. It’s a day to remind ourselves that we are a couple for a reason and while not everyone will like this, women do want cards, candy and/or flowers. Hearts are symbolic for Valentine’s Day and the ubiquitous card and flowers may seem silly to some men, women look to this offering as symbolic of their love. They took the time to go out of their way in their very busy schedules to stop and get something for their girlfriend, wife, etc. Nowadays it’s not so hard to appear thoughtful, we have the internet.

 Maybe some candy

The internet is awash with various stores that sell everything you could want, including flowers, greeting cards, candy and jewelry. You can pick out what you want and have it sent without leaving your office or if you have an app, you can take care of everything from your smart phone and everyone has a smart phone! It has never been easier to make sure that that special day is in fact, special. The same goes for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. I’ve sent some wonderful jewelry to unsuspecting women whose husbands are quite thoughtful. I’ve also worked as a personal shopper for busy men who still want to get that perfect gift for their wives. The wonderful thing about my shopping for others, other than shopping, is I do all the legwork and they get all the glory.

 or the book of love

So for all those guys out there looking to get something special for their wives don’t forget the on-line jewelry store. If you don’t see exactly what you are looking for give us a call and I might be able to help you out. I can shop for that special piece of jewelry and even find a lovely card. I’m also very good at the covert operation. So don't worry, the on-line jewelry store is your friend and remember consultations are free.