EP 360: The Future of Jewelry 10 Year Anniversary Episode with Tracy Matthews and Robin Kramer
10:22PM Jun 28, 2022
Welcome to the thrive by design podcast episode 340. It's Tracy Matthews here, the chief visionary officer of flourish and thrive Academy. I'm here with my guest today, Robin Kramer, she is the co founder of flourish and thrive Robin. Welcome.
Thanks, Tracy and psyched to be here and celebrating 10 years.
I am so excited to be celebrating 10 years as well. So 10 years ago today, we turned on the website for flourish and thrive Academy, we started building our email list, and we did a presale for our first program, which was called laying the foundation. And that program is still around 10 years later, we've updated it probably like, I don't know, at least six times at least five or six times, maybe 10 times I don't know, since that time, and it's just such a joy to be here with you on our 10 year anniversary celebrating and talking about the future of the jewelry industry.
I'm thrilled to be here and there's so much going on right now.
I am too. So before we dive in to today's episode, I'm just gonna pause here for a moment. We have a bunch of workshops coming up this summer, and a free workshop series. So let's dive in to our next workshop right now.
Okay, that was a pause for to insert what we're talking about for the workshop series. And now we'll go back in. So, Robin, I am really curious, what have you been up to over, you know, the last couple months, years? And all the things? I mean, I know but why don't you tell everyone?
Well, in 2018, I started red boot intensive, because you know how I love wholesale and the buyer vendor relationship. And we have been doing the red boot intensive since then. And it's grown. And we've added and I say we because it's the group really feels at its maximum 12 designers. It's really intense and kind of like a mastermind. And we everybody, we focus on everyone's business individually, but with a extra focus on wholesale. So really helping designers move forward in their wholesale business.
Awesome, Robin, where can people find you if they want to apply for the red boot intensive?
Well, they can find me at Red boot gal and DM me on Instagram or you can go to Red boot consulting.com and find me they're
amazing. Okay, awesome. So if you're interested in really diving deep into wholesale Robin is one of the best in the industry. She is a master knows all the things and is amazing. So you should definitely learn from her if that's something you're interested in and be part of this group because I don't know. I feel like it's the best group for wholesale out there.
Thank you. Thank you. Thanks for the plug. We actually met at a tradeshow which is just the best and you know, I remember vividly 2006
Yeah, 2006 I had a booth right across the hall from dogear jewelry we were always across from the bathroom, which was a good location because people always had to go to the bathroom. So you're right there when people were going in and out. dogeared had the busiest booth and I knew the owners, in particular Merlin who was the male part, the Husband, husband of the husband and wife team of dog eared ad. He's like I'm hiring a new sales director. Her name is Robin Do you know Robin Kramer. I was like, No, I don't. And we became fast friends. Immediately. She was giving me merchandising advice, which was super fun.
Yeah, you do get I mean, that's a great thing. And I think it's such a it's it's so great. When people give you feedback that you're you listen and and you know, it's it's helped it is helpful hearing from others. So if you aren't in some sort of group or getting some sort of direction, I encourage everybody to do jump on to flourish and thrive and get some extra love.
I know for sure. Okay, so I want to really talk about the future of the jewelry industry. So when I asked Robin to be on the show, we always talk on our anniversary week and then a couple of other times during the year. And I'm like What do you want to talk about for this episode, you know, 10 years, who woulda thunk? You know, we'd be here for so long and doing all the things and even though we're kind of doing our own thing right now. We do collaborate a lot on different things and you're always speaking to our community, like once a month and stuff like that. So let's talk about the future of the jewelry industry. Where do you think it's going and I know you're pulled a stat so why don't we start there?
Well, I think that it, the future looks bright. It say the future looks bright, you gotta wear shades, right? So, the stat I pulled is that the jewelry industry is it's bright with an unexpected market value of 292 billion by 2025. And that's up from about 228 billion right now. And that is, you know, I don't know about you, but I have definitely seen a trend. And even especially in the last couple of years, that gold is stronger than ever. Fine Jewelry is really in the spotlight. And I in fact, I had one client who grew in 2020 grew 25, new wholesale accounts. So I think, in times of challenge, that, that the people rise to the occasion, and those stores and those brands, and you know, who are taking challenges and moving forward? Really, they're prepared for everything now, which is is exciting and wonderful.
What do you mean prepared for everything?
Well, you know, they they have, if anything taught us the last couple of years is that you should be prepared, you should look at your make sure your finances, make sure your your material costs, make sure you're staying in touch with your customer, all those things are putting into place. So you're in diversify your income streams. So it's not all your eggs aren't in one basket. So you're really trying to we'll have a brand that's well rounded. And so if one side, you know, something drops on one, yeah, but that you you're not totally drowning. You know,
I do agree. I think that that's very important. And we've I've been speaking about this for many, many years, I knew something was going to shift I didn't know is going to be a global pandemic. But I was like, guys gotta get online, you can't just rely on the shows and all these things. Because, you know, sideways rain, the whole thing Who knew that the world was going to shut down. But the people who were really dialed in with their direct to consumer online, businesses crushed it, and most of them didn't actually lose revenue. And many of them, including many of our students, alike ended up either flat or up from previous years. And what I mean by flat is like half their revenue was coming from either wholesale and or these in person shows, but they were able to recoup the lost sales via direct to consumer modalities, which I think is really important. So we know that online direct to consumer sales on your website are really important. If you're still struggling with it reach out to us because we can help you with that. There are it's not easy, I'm not gonna say it's easy, but it's just takes the right kind of combination of strategy and items to get that going. And I'm saying items, I don't know what I mean by that, but just the right strategy to get things going and to build that momentum. And now with things that are changing in the digital space, which we're actually going to talk about a little bit later. I think it's even more important now to make sure that you understand how to digitally market your brand because and be a constant student on what is happening and what's changing. And I'm going to add that as an action item at the end. But first Robin let's talk about why jewelry is important right now.
I think jewelry, it's it is a go to for every gift. You know if you ask any man that's what they do first is go to jewelry. But I think jewelry is it's it is an easy way for somebody to change up their outfit, if you will, you can wear you know something very simple. And by changing your jewelry, it can be completely different. I think it's something that's been certainly fun in you know, seeing much more elaborate and different types of things that are coming up. I always think that in the in the even the big shows like The Met Gala that just happened it's not only the dresses that are highlighted, or the outfits but the jewelry is really focused on the tears, the headpieces that the necklaces, all of that so there's always such a focus on it. I also think with everyone watching so much TV over the last few years too. There's a lot of wonderful you and I were talking about this a little bit before because these wonderful shows like Downton Abbey and the Gilded Age and wear jewelry plays such a big part in the costumes as well. So it feels like I feel like we're seeing a lot and I feel the the gold is having It's such still such a heyday. gold and pearls.
Right? Yeah, pearls are really popular. That's funny because my aunt was like, What should I get my cousin? Like? She was asking me like, do you know anyone who makes pearl? So I sent her a couple designers that I really like. Little H and Mizuki. Because I like different things. So they're not as traditional but I thought it was funny like pearls are making like a serious comeback. People are into it. Oh, there's a baseball totally my thing that maybe I'll you know,
Donna, every everyone needs a set of pearls. Right? And do you know that baseball player that is where he wears a pearl necklace? And now boys are doing it? Yeah. Oh, I can't, I'll have to get his name. I'm totally blanking on
stuff and you can't come for it. You can just hit me up right now. Okay, Periscope on mute and Google it while I'm writing this out. Okay, so I think this is an important topic that we pulled up as a business is now more consumer centric. And we're going to explain a little bit more about what we mean by this. And I did a podcast on my birthday week, which is episode 353. Let me just double check that that's okay. Yeah, Episode 353. And, shoot, we need to make an editing note here because I said the wrong episode number.
So Episode 353, I recorded a whole pot Alella. Let me start over. Joseph, we're gonna cut that whole section. On Episode 353, I recorded a whole podcast all about consumer trends. And so if you haven't listened to that, yet, there are three types of consumers, the overwhelmed consumer, the influence consumer and the values driven consumer, this is all based on a data driven report. And one of the key takeaways was that a lot of consumers are less brand loyal. And what that means is not that you're going to just like sell to someone once or whatever, it just requires more of a focus on the customers. And Robin, you want to talk a little bit about that, that customer service and delivering a great experience.
I think, you know, customer service, just the nurturing of your existing customers is so key, I think a lot of a lot of designers feel like they have to have a ton of customers when and actually if they have a small amount that really service them well by following up with them by you know, surprising, I always say surprise and delight, sending them a personal note, recognizing them on their birthday, finding out what they like that you're doing, do they you know, are they interested in some of the designs, maybe some somehow involved in your process? And just asking their opinion. So what's really exciting is that there are more than enough customer relationship management systems, which you can do in Shopify, most people are in Shopify, if they're selling online, also gives you a lot of great stats. So you can follow up. And I think it's it should be on a designer's radar at all times. How can they stay connected to their customer? How can they, as I say, surprise, and delight them, do things where they stand out in their mind, and they stay top of mind with their customer as well.
Awesome, awesome. And so I want to talk a little bit about something that we were speaking about in the pre show to your like, you know, my niece is like, really adamant about only buying from brands who have certain values and care about the environment. And this kind of takes us back to what I was talking about in the consumer trends. So do you want to talk a little bit about what she said to you or what she said about her purchases?
Yet she is not interested in fast fashion. She's interested in supporting us made brands, she really wants to know where things are coming from how they're she doesn't want to wear something and habit break and you know, it's just she really wants to invest in what she's buying. And so it's not only the materials used, but the process and how it's used to how it's made. And so I was really kind of surprised because she's a little edgy, she loves fashion, and I couldn't believe I was, you know, hearing this out of her being so conscious of not only what she's buying, but the whole what the company stands for. Are is really important to her.
Yeah. Which is interesting. Which brings us back to that consumer trends that episode that I did. It's all based on this consumer report by Philip strats, who I originally heard interviewed on Amy Porterfield podcast, which I think is amazing. And they talked about the three types of consumers that we need to be thinking about overwhelmed the consumer, the influence consumer and the values driven consumer. And even though Robin's niece is a little bit younger than the values driven consumer demographic, I do think that there's this shift towards, and we talk about it a lot around here at flourish and thrive, about buying from people whose values you align with. And I think that's really important. And I've heard over and over again, about people talking about how they basically are repulsed by fast fashion anymore, which is great for handmade artists, any sort of jewelry artists that is doing things in a slow batch way, primarily because you're, you're intentionally creating products for people like that. So the more that you can dive into the values of what you stand for, and what your brand stands for, and align those with what matters to your ideal customers, the more successful you're going to be, and the more you're going to be able to create brand loyalty sense, brand loyalty isn't as much of a thing as anymore. So if you haven't listened to that episode, I don't want to go down a rabbit hole talking all about these different segments of the audience, make sure that you listen to episode 353, it will definitely be super helpful. So this is this one's my favorite strategy, digital shopping is here to stay. Robin, this was one of the things that we were talking about, we used to talk about a lot. You're like, wholesale, and I'm like digital, wholesale digital. They're both yours say that. Let's talk a little bit about that. What's your take on that? Well,
and I think what also has been shown over the last couple of years is that whether you're you know, a brand, and this is something that's happened, I've worked with designers who have their own store now, and you probably have seen this a lot too, where designers are like, You know what, I want to have a retail on the front, and then my studio in the back. So it's your, we're seeing more of that. But as well as incorporating How can the digital aspect, like virtual appointments is here to stay, you know, the ordering online and picking up curbside is not just for restaurants, it's for stores as well, you know, doing having an iPad, when you come into a store or when you're meeting with somebody at a market that be even if it's an in person retail show that they're that you have an you know, taking the orders and giving emailing them the receipt of that. So there's so many things that have happened digitally, and, and also to showing up and being on social media and emailing your customers on a regular basis. I think there was a big fear, there's still a little bit of fear of emailing, having an email list and emailing your customer directly on a regular basis, not just once in a while, but regularly to keep them in the loop of what's happening with your brand.
Of course, yeah, for sure. And so, so digital shopping and using digital aspects. So obviously, we're talking about e commerce and direct to consumer, but Robins also bringing in some of the other ways that we can bring our businesses online and sort of use offline strategies to support the online strategies to create that cohesive experience across the board. And I do think that that's a really powerful way to continue
to continue serving your people. You know, from my perspective, digital strategy means like a 360, like, how are you weaving in all the digital aspects of your business and making them work together? Obviously, everyone needs a website, that website needs to be optimized for conversions. Most people do not have their websites optimized for conversions, because they don't know what that means. And then they also set up a website by themselves, they don't hire a designer, at least startup rounds, like people who are just starting out who don't have a big budget to pay a designer, I highly recommend it to get a designer, designing or fixing your website at some point because the the number of websites that we give feedback to and I'm just so surprised that people can't see this to themselves because they're just using some random template that they find on Shopify, and they don't know how to resize images in a way so that things are above the fold. And so that the call to actions right there, they don't have a strong way of collecting email addresses on that. And, or getting SMS messages because we know which I'm gonna talk about a little bit because Digital's changing, and finding that that 360 way to keep people involved in a loop especially if they're not ready to buy now. I was on you No on Instagram, I get served ads, I always am curious about what they're doing on their strategy. And today, I almost bought a travel tripod set for solo travelers because I wanted something that was going to like balance my phone and also make it so it didn't shake when it was on the like being handheld for a variety of reasons. Long story short, anyway, I clicked on it, and their pop up came up, get 10% now, so I entered my name and email address, and then like to enter and then immediately they asked for my SMS, I gave it to them, because I'm like obsessed with SMS strategy right now give them an SMS. And then they deliver the discount in SMS message. So I mentioned that because there's so many things that are happening as far as updates go, especially after the iOS changes last year with email marketing, and what we're able to track and read, it is much harder to track how the success of email marketing campaigns, that does not mean that you are you should stop doing them. You definitely should not. But it just means now more than ever, you need to be thinking about a 360 strategy. Like when your business is at the right phase. How are you collecting information from your customer database or prospects, right? How are you then reaching out to them? Like how often? How are you continually connecting with them on social media? How are you using a retargeting strategy with your ads to be everywhere. So Facebook ads are kind of dying in a way, we're still using them at flourish and thrive, but they're becoming more and more. I don't know if competitive is the word but less the conversions are going down. And so we're seeing a huge shift towards Pinterest ads and tick tock ads, and maybe not YouTube ads necessarily for jewelry. But all these different and then also Google ads in different way. Go Google AdWords for local search. Google AdWords for keywords, Google ad display network for different types of jewelry for retargeting when someone lands on your website. And I don't want to make your head spin, especially if you're brand new, because I don't recommend advertising until you're doing at least a couple of $100,000 in revenue a year. If you're a startup start the organic way you can't afford advertising because it takes a long way to get that paid off. But it's not just running Facebook or Instagram ads anymore. It's all these other things. And so you need to be thinking about how how your audience is consuming these different platforms so that when you're targeting them, you can find them. In fact, Jason, who is my partner, he just did huge analytics deep dive for us over here at flourish and thrive to find out like where our customers are coming from and what other interests do they have besides just jewelry, and we found some fascinating things. Apparently, a lot of you are 30 minutes, chefs, a lot of you are value shoppers, and a lot of you are looking for stuff on Pinterest for shopping. And so we found like a bunch of cool data. There's some other interesting data points. So if you're a 30 minute chef, I want you to reach out to me on Instagram right now. And tell me that you're a 30 minute chef, because that really like blew my mind. And I found it really fascinating. And we're gonna dial back a little bit, I don't want to let anyone's head spin. That's just kind of like a future of the industry. It's not if you're not there yet, you're not there yet. But at the end of the day, what I want you to be thinking about is like where is all this digital strategy going and if you're not on Tik Tok yet, jewelry is a great place. Tick tock is a great place for jewelry. If you're not actively on Pinterest, jewelry is a great place for you to be because Pinterest is a great SEO and traffic driving source. Get on the organic methods first. And then once you have that dialed in and it working, then start thinking about investing money in advertising. So
the future of digital strategy right there, I hope everyone's had is not exploding yet. So Robin, we briefly mentioned this in the previous section about how businesses more consumer sections centric, excuse me, and you talked a little bit about nurturing customer relationships. So in retaining customers, I want to hear a little bit more about some of your best strategies for following up. And we can keep it on direct to consumer or a broad range of direct to consumer and wholesale. And some of the extra things that people can do to really go the extra mile to deliver a great experience for people. I'm not sure if you touched on everything if you feel like you already did, we can end it there. But if not, then we can dive into it. Well, I
think, you know, I definitely think that you need to keep track of your customers. So you need to get to know them a little bit more instead of just just that they bought from you and you have their order information, but get to know them a little bit like do they have a dog do they have kids do they have did they come to you and buy an engagement ring and so you can follow up and and let them know like you're there for anniversary presents, like, keep there, I always like to think of them as friends. You know. So if you treat your customers like your friends, where you get to know them, and and, and I can't remember everything. So that's why I think a CRM system is really great that customer relationship management system. So if you have a system, if you're you know, and there are a lot of them out there, so you can test them out. I think that's really important. I also think with your customers make it easy for them to shop with you. And I say that by you were talking about digitally, as we mentioned a little earlier, like, give them the option to do a virtual shopping experience. Or if you want to meet them in person, can you come to them, and give them a shopping experience too. So not everything is going to be digital. I also think, you know, customers are great way to find new customers too. So keep that in mind, too, when you're, you're talking with your customers, they are some of the best ways to get referrals, and to grow your business. So even though there's so much digital happening, there is such a great, the connection that you have with your customers can actually move your business forward. And sometimes even faster than what you're going to experience digitally. Because if you have if you have a customer who has had a great experience, and you ask for a referral, or you you know, you know, give them the information to you can even easily say I would love any referrals you have and send them some information, maybe it's just some copy that they can then send to their friends. Make again, it's all about making them it easier for them. And do reach out to them because people are busy. And they will forget. So you know, the person who's in front of them is in consistently being consistent with that is really probably consistent across the board on everything that you do is really important. And you are going to say something,
I'm gonna say that I think it's really important to think through, like, what can you how can you use like more analog customer service tactics to nurture your direct to consumer website customers, because there are a lot of people just like, don't, they don't want to talk to people. And I get that. But like, if you actually like picked up the phone and did a manual text to your customers, like, once a month, you picked all the customers from the previous month, you just sent them a text and said, Hey, this is Tracy, from Tracy Matthews jewelry. And I just want to check in and make sure that you're still happy with your piece like, just keep me in mind if there's anything else that you want to buy or gift giving season or if you want any other pieces for your collection, or whatever it might be. But if you're checking in to see how their purchases and how much they're enjoying it, you'd be surprised, you might get some people complaining here and there. But hopefully not. But also all of that information that you get. Number one shows them that you care, it shows them that you are not just trying to like hit them up for more sales, but that you actually are like, considering their experience. And it also gives an opportunity to chat with you. So it's kind of like getting in front of them. And I noticed certain point, it might be too too busy. We just did something as a company because we really want to develop those lasting connections with our students. And we have someone on our team literally calling all the students who purchased one of our programs over the last two years to see how they're implementing it. And then if they for some reason they fell off somewhere, or they haven't finished the program, we're we're actually like trying to help them get back on track, because we want people to consume our content. And we want them to get the results and the amazingness that our programs give. So like, there's so much that you can do with this. And also, it will keep you Top of Mind with them in the future. So this is something that you can always do. And I get it sometimes, like if you're too busy, it might not always work. But at the end of the day, this is something that I think if you can pull out of your back pocket on an ongoing basis will really grow. Now, Robin, our final topic is all about design. So let's talk a little bit about that. Where do you see the future of the jewelry industry going?
Well, we were talking a little bit. Before we jumped on here we're talking kind of about different categories and where we see some growth. I definitely think the whole wedding and bridal is it's not going anywhere, that business, if anything is growing and being celebrated even more, I think you're gonna see more alternatives engagement rings. That's kind of been a thing and it will continue to be and also the men's industry. I feel like you even mentioned that Your partner's wearing a bracelet. My dad wore jewelry and and he was kind of a odd man out in that. But he loved you know, great looking bracelets and watches and things like that.
Jason's wearing a necklace and bracelets on both hands I'm like who are you? Like up like conservative dude but now that he's done a lot of like healing work and is a little bit more spiritually connected he's wearing he got me one of these brace intuition bracelets or whatever from intuition, love and something else in Costa Rica when he was just there. And he's wearing like a couple himself. He's buying them for his clients. I'm like, it's so hard. It's awesome. Isn't anything just because I think a lot of guys who traditionally would have never worn it or wearing jewelry now.
Absolutely. And I only say that category growing. Because yeah, let's face it, men, their clothing is a big focus. Also, its trade been becoming more and more trendy, and they don't have a lot to work with. As far as you know, if you're gonna wear a suit, or a pair of pants and a shirt, it's nice to jazz it up with some jewelry.
Yeah, while Jason wears the same thing all the time. The same kind of shirts, and the same kind of pants he like, find something he likes and buys 10 of them. So I feel like a lot of guys are like that. It's like T shirts or, you know, they find a style of like a button down that they like and they just buy like different colors.
Totally. But I love the fact that you said like he's he's connected to the pieces that he's giving to people. And that's, that's that that's very special.
Yep. For sure. So we mentioned this earlier, like, gold's not going away, you're saying that there's a high focus on design. So what do you mean by that?
I feel that, at least from what I'm seeing is that luxury, has even grown even more in the last few years. And I don't know if it's because people were not being able to travel. So they were focusing on purchasing more jewelry, and paying more attention to the higher end pieces. But it's definitely definitely still a big category, the fine jewelry arena is growing. And, and gold is still trending higher than silver. That from, from what I'm seeing and reading. But it's yeah, I just I feel like there's there's just a lot of also kind of pushing the envelope with design of, you know, how, how are things working too. So what I mean by that is I've seen a lot more product where it's not just a necklace, it's a bracelet, you know, or it's a necklace that is adjustable in many different links. So you're getting multiple styles out of it, which also is really cool. So just seeing the enhanced growth in that arena. What are you seeing? I'm curious what you're saying to you?
Well, you know, I think that obviously, like alternative bridal is super popular. I think that there are these like segments of different audiences. You know, the types of people that I'm working with, who are selling direct to consumer are probably a little bit different than some of the wholesalers but, and like the people that traditionally at trade shows because these a lot of our our brands don't always fit there. Some of them do, but not all of them. And I think I really want to cut that part out
so why don't you say that again? Tracy, what are you saying?
Tracy, what are you seeing?
Yeah, so the same as you. I agree that gold is here to stay, I think that there is a shift on alternative bridal. You mentioned in our pre interview that there's a big shift towards tech jewelry, but that's been around for a while. I mean, I'm even wearing my aura ring like things that have dual purpose that are like functional jewelry. And so I think the more that you can kind of lean into some of the trends that are happening and more that you can lean into the innovation and up leveling your brand and stuff like that, the more successful you are going to be. And staying relevant.
staying relevant. Yes.
Robin, what a fun episode that we've had today. Thank you so much for being here.
Oh, thank you. I can't believe it's been 10 years congratulations and you can't I don't know if you can see me but I've got a little glass of champagne here and cheers to you tracing champagne. Exactly.
Robert and I plan to take a sip No. Robin and I plan to bring champagne I forgot. So I've actually been drinking champagne and Haven't doesn't really drink so she has her fresca
will celebrate when we see each other, which hopefully will be this year.
I know. I hope so more sure, Robin where can everyone find you? They want to stalk you out for red boot gal.
You can find me online at Red boot gal or on my website at Red boot consulting.com. And if you have questions about wholesale don't hesitate to ask.
Alright, awesome. Thank you everyone for listening to the show today. If you've enjoyed this episode, make sure that you take a screenshot and tag us on Instagram we would love to see and thanks for listening as always, have an awesome day.