Journey with Zee Jewelry “Test Drives”

I had this idea to get real feedback on the jewelry I make. I had both my daughters dress in black. I picked out two of my most beautiful necklaces and sent the girls to a high end department store. The idea was to walk around the Jewelry department and see if the necklaces got noticed.

I wasn’t there myself so I can only say what was told to me. No one noticed my daughters wearing the necklaces in the jewelry department. Knowing them, they were probably bent over the display cases looking at designer jewelry for themselves, totally forgetting why they were there in the first place.

The girls decided to look at shoes. One would think shoe sales people would be looking at your feet, finding your size shoe. The necklaces were noticed instead (it can only happen to me).

The girls explained that these were handmade, one of a kind pieces. The shoe sales person called the jewelry department manager. She loved the necklaces. Next thing that happened, we had an appointment to show more. That went pretty well but that’s as far as it got. To reach that stage was very flattering. I never looked at it as a failure.

We also tried what is called an “Open Call” at another store. I made a presentation board displaying 25 pairs of earrings. Once called inside, you meet with a buyer for the store. We were lucky, the buyer liked the earrings. Now we were asked if we could do a trunk show (a trunk show is a special event). Wow. The buyer wanted more color combinations. I invested in more stones. Tried colors together I never would have combined before. After I had 50 pairs, we photographed and made what’s called a Line sheet.

Line sheets give the detailed descriptions plus photo’s and price on every earring. This was emailed to the buyer. We waited and waited, excited to hear. We had been told the line sheets will be shown at a meeting. The buyer never contacted us.

We emailed the buyer a few times and never received any response. We don’t know to this day what went wrong. At the time this was disappointing.

We had no feedback and I spent extra money.

Looking back now, this was still a positive experience for us. Since then, Zee Jewelry has been in quite a few stores. I know if I could afford PR it would have helped tremendously. This is all a learning experience.

The new venture is to have our own e-commerce store.

I want to be selfish and use the materials I want to use. Something you can not do if you plan on selling to stores. Their mark-up must be taken into consideration. With an e-commerce store, I can price much more affordable with great value for the consumer. I get to have card blanche on the stones I wish to use.

I guess this is the artist in me. I truly love to make jewelry in my style.

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