Over the years I have noticed the highly promoted and publicized jewelry brands sold in stores across the country look absolutely perfect in the advertisements. However, when I see the actual items, they don’t come close to what was advertised. Hamburger commercials come to mind first. I’ve been talking to customers about this for years. They are paying for what was in the picture, but getting an item of far less quality.
Recently I was invited to “The American Jewelers Round Table” in New York and the term “Milking the Brand” came up in our discussions. To be honest I had never heard the term before this meeting, but it explained what I have been seeing and telling my customers.
There are two very distinct levels of quality sold to the public. The very well made items that the advertising depicts. These items are not mass produced, sold to the wealthy, well informed consumer that is willing to pay for the quality. The rest of the items are mass produced to look like the high end pieces in the ads, but just enough is done to them to get the brand name on them.
For example: If you are in Italy and go to a famous shoe maker and purchase a pair of Italian loafers made on site, you’re probably going to get quality. If you see the same loafers here in for sale, from the same company at same price you paid in Italy, chances are you’re not getting the same level of craftsmanship, or quality of materials.
Nowhere could this be truer than in the jewelry industry. We have a lot of great craftsmen in America that make some very nice jewelry from using high quality materials. In most cases you can purchase a unique, high quality item for the same cost as the over hyped, mass produced items. End of story, I hope you take the time to do a little searching, find a craftsman you trust and give them the opportunity to make you something that has value and character.