Talking about pearl jewellery inpired by the Netflix series The Crown, the excitement of visiting UK’s jewellers, and the topic on everyone’s minds, Brexit. This month, we were privileged hear expert views and jewellery trend predictions in our interview with Stacey Hailes, Editor of Professional Jeweller Magazine.
Hi Stacey, thanks so much for talking time for our interview. How long have you been Editor at Professional Jeweller Magazine?
“It’s coming up to my second year anniversary at Professional Jeweller. I started as the assistant editor in April 2015, and was then promoted to editor in July 2016.”
What is your background and what attracted you to the jewellery industry?
“Previously I studied Magazine Journalism at university and worked for SWAG Jewellers, so when I saw the job at Professional Jeweller I jumped at the chance to put my two passions together and work for a jewellery publication.”
What are your day to day responsibilities?
“Day to day at Professional Jeweller I write stories for the website and send out a daily news alert, and I write, sub and proof everything that goes into our monthly print magazine. I’m often out and about meeting industry professionals, attending trade events and going on press trips.”
What aspect of your work do you enjoy most?
“One of my favourite activities is visiting a new city each month to meet jewellery retailers and write a feature on the jewellery industry in that particular area. It’s fascinating to hear about business in different cities and I love meeting our readers and spending some time at their stores.”
One of the big topics for jewellers this year is the use of social media when connecting with customers… How do you think social media is shaping consumers’ perception and understanding of our industry?
“Social media allows consumers to interact with businesses in a way they never have been able to before. Consumers can now get a feel for your store or brand, without even moving from their couch. And they analyse everything they see online. It means every business needs to think about social media and spend time building an online profile which goes beyond their website.
While it can take some time to send a Tweet, reply to Facebook comments or find the perfect Instagram filter, it’s time worth spending if it’s going to provide a platform for millions of people to view your products.
If done right, consumers will then help do the marketing for you as they share posts with friends. If done wrong, it can give a customer the wrong impression of you before they’ve had a chance to really get to know what you are offering.”
What do you think will be the biggest challenges and positives for the jewellery industry this year?
“I think the jewellery industry has a few challenges ahead of them this year. First of all, we are still waiting to see the full impact of what Brexit means for jewellery businesses in the UK.
“As Article 50 will soon be triggered, new challenges will soon arise, but the biggest challenge is for the industry to not panic, think before reacting, and work together to keep the jewellery trade thriving. A positive to this is that this is the perfect time to shout about ‘British Made’ and showcase to consumers the fantastic pieces made by British talents in the jewellery industry.
“Another challenge will be continuing to create interesting and innovative customer experiences – whether you are an online or bricks and mortar business. Customers want businesses to go the extra mile to catch their attention, and this is something we will see more of over the next 12 months as the jewellery industry plays around with new ideas and figures out what works for them.”
What do think might be some of the most important consumer news topics regarding jewellery this year?
“Trend wise, consumers should be following what comes out of Basel this year. Baselworld is the show many brands choose to unveil their collections for the year ahead, and many trends seen in between Basel’s walls will feed into the entire industry by the end of the year. In terms of bridal, consumers should be looking at how personalised jewellery can be used within the bridal market beyond engraving.”
We wanted to get your opinion on some specific trends… Pearl jewellery is seeing a considerable revival following the popularity of the Netflix series The Crown.
“First of all, I have to say I love The Crown and I love that pearls are having a revival at the moment. There are some excellent modern pearl brands making some incredible pieces and showing the next generation of pearl purchasers that the classic stone can create some amazing contemporary pieces.”
What changes are you seeing from classic pearl styles, as worn by Queen Elizabeth II when she was young, to the new trends available right now?
“I’m seeing pearls being used in ear jackets and ear climbers, and modern twists on classic styles – for example ombre colours and charm adornments. Pearl jewellery has come a long way from Queen Elizabeth’s childhood, but, they still remain just as elegant and feminine.”
Another big topic right now is the fast-approaching wedding season. What do you think are the most exciting trends for brides to watch out for this year?
“Coloured gemstones in bridal jewellery is definitely having its come back this year, most notably sapphires as the Queen celebrates her Sapphire Jubilee. For me, the most exciting trends are in men’s wedding bands actually. I’m seeing more designs for men coming out which allows them to have masculine pieces which still reflect their personality. For women, I’ve seen lots of exciting new twists on the popular halo design, and new ways of personalising engagement rings and wedding bands.”
Finally, if you had to pick one key bridal item from our website, what would it be?
“An item I love from The Diamond Store is the halo ring designs with white diamonds in the centre and yellow diamonds for the halo! The vintage Vivara collection is also stunning!”