Fashion Jewelry vs. Jewelry Collection: “Why” the WAY you design sets the tone for your brand

Blog Post Template (4)

Author: Tracy Matthews

Have you ever thought about the way you design your jewelry collection?

While there is no Right or Wrong method, the way you design sets the tone for your entire brand. During a coaching session with one of my designers the other day, something interesting came up. We are working on her collection and expanding it. She is an amazing designer and like many of us (myself included) has a gagillion design ideas that she is just ready to roll with. It’s not even just in the jewelry industry. If you have ever watched Project Runway or Fashion Star you have watched a different kind of designer implement their ideas with a vision that is aligned with their overall brand image. You have also probably observed the reverse, something poorly executed that leaves the audience wondering: Where the EFF did that come from?

Fenton Collection

As a designer just starting out, I approached designing my collection as a fashion designer would. Designing mini-collections around a bigger central look. My collection was cohesive but as a trained metal-smith, continuing on with my collection of “beaded” jewelry started to become boring and limiting. I decided to branch out. I had always considered myself to be a designer of a jewelry collection. I designed pieces that merchandised well together, had a signature look, and were more personal in nature rather than trend-driven.

During my transition, I made a huge mistake.

In a moment of Tourettes, I forgot what type of designer I was and started to allow what was popular in “trend” to dictate what I was doing as a Jewelry Collection Designer. I was trying to be a Fashion Jewelry Designer.

What happened next kind of sucked.

It was about year 4 in my business and my sales hit a little bump. My new collection wasn’t received well. I was super bummed because my business had been booming and growing up until that point. I was forced to take a mini-step back and ask myself “WHY?” The Why in this case was completely related to the fact that I had stepped away from who I knew I was as a designer.

Cathy Waterman Collection

When you look at a really identifiable jewelry collection like Cathy Waterman, you immediately know the piece is hers. She has a signature look and her pieces are merchandised in an overall collection. The “look” has stayed consistent over the years even though she has introduced so many other styles into her brand. My good friend, Melissa Joy Manning, is another great example of a designer who designed beautiful jewelry collections.

Dannijo Collection

So what is the difference between what I call Fashion Jewelry and a Jewelry Collection? Take a look at the up-and-coming designer, Dannijo. The pieces in the collection are amazing! They are a statement, fashion, and trend-driven. Over the season, while there is a bit of a signature look, the collection will most likely continue changing with the mood. Fenton and Fallon is another great representation of a Fashion Jeweler who stays on-trend in a cohesive way. Then there are companies like nOir who continue to change their look every season.

nOir Collection

So, ask yourself, what type of designer are you? Remember that each time you go to create, you should have a purpose and all the rest will fall into place.

Action Step:

1. Curate a list of the top 5 jewelry brands you would like to emulate (this does not mean copy). 2. Note what they do really well and why you love it. 3. Look for similarities in why you are attracted to those brands. 4. Now take a look at how you are designing and create in alignment with who you want to be,

Tweet this:

Jewelry Collection or Fashion Accessories why you need to choose your path: via @Flourish_Thrive

Share Your Experience:

Have you ever struggled with your identity as a jewelry designer? Leave us a comment to tell us what path you chose and why. Or, if you are still in the identity crisis stage, share in the comments which path you are leaning towards.