By Ashley Davis
Jewelry industry experts led an insightful discussion on trends at the Vicenzaoro September show. From left to right: Lauren Kulchinsky Levison, vice president of retailer Mayfair Rocks; Jamie Freed, Farfetch’s global vice president, private clients; Paola De Luca, creative director and founder of Trendvision; Marco Carniello, Italian Exhibition Group’s jewelry and fashion division director; Alessia Crivelli, marketing manager at Crivelli Gioielli; and designer Alessio Boschi of AB Jewels.
Vicenza, Italy—At the September edition of Vicenzaoro, a panel of experts weighed in on what role trends should play in a retailer’s buy, and the answer was surprising.

Moderator Lauren Kulchinsky Levison, vice president of East Hampton, New York store Mayfair Rocks, led the discussion with Marco Carniello, Italian Exhibition Group’s jewelry and fashion division director; Paola De Luca, creative director and founder of forecasting company Trendvision; Jamie Freed, Farfetch’s global vice president, private clients; designer Alessio Boschi of AB Jewels; and Alessia Crivelli, marketing manager at Crivelli Gioielli, participating.

Here are four interesting points gleaned from the panel, which veered far and wide from the trend subject matter.

1. Omnichannel Has No Limits.
Freed, who joined the panel right after news broke of Farfetch’s initial public offering, in which the company was valued at $885 million, said that online shopping isn’t limited to low price points for fine jewelry.

Farfetch presents consumers with a uniform shopping platform that aggregates items from boutiques around the world, and the high-touch shopping experience has garnered consumer trust.

There are different levels of jewelry buys, with some consumers shopping in the $500 to $2,000 range and others in the up to $20,000 category. But, to Freed’s surprise, over the years another customer has emerged—one who is willing to spend upwards of $20,000 on fine jewelry online. The highest fine jewelry purchase at Farfetch to date is about $100,000, she shared.  

Retailers should continue to invest their resources in omnichannel, to make the shopping experience the best it can be on every platform because customers are willing to evolve and meet them there.

2. Know Your Customer.
De Luca, who shares specific trend insights during her popular presentation each edition of Vicenzaoro, said that ultimately, knowing your customer is more important than following trends.

Don’t buy based on what’s hot now; buy based on what has historically proven to be a good investment in your store, the panel concluded.

For a store like Mayfair Rocks, that might be a one-of-a-kind elaborate pair of earrings by Lydia Courteille. For most stores in America, that will likely mean solitaire diamond stud earrings. Regardless, it’s important to buy based on the clients you’re already serving.

3. Everything Should Be Unique.
Rather than chasing trends, stores and brands should embrace their heritage and what makes them special, the panel said.

For designer Boschi, that means sticking to the innovation that drives him as a designer. His work incorporates literal interpretations of Italian history—think a ring that’s a mini-sculpture of the Roman Colosseum—with elements of surprise, like movement and multifunctionality.

There’s nothing trendy about Boschi’s work, but judging by his buzzing booth in The Design Room section of the show, it resonates with a specific section of the market.

4. Find Your Own Way to Tell Stories.
Italian Exhibition Group’s Carniello said that more than just connecting retailers with brands, Vicenzaoro is designed to provide inspiration for stores to figure out how to provide a  unique experience.

Consumers can find any information they want online, he elaborated, so they no longer have to consult a store for jewelry expertise. If they enjoy shopping somewhere, however, that will keep them coming back.

Stores should create their own trends and tell their own story so that they have value as a brand unto themselves.

“Every corner (of your store) should be an inspiration,” Carniello concluded.

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