How Monica Vinader Conquered Demi-Fine Jewellery

The ‘accessible luxury’ brand has its sights set on revenues of £200 million a year in the growing space between fine and fashion jewellery. 

So-called “demi-fine" jewellery is a growing category in the industry; so much so that Net-a-Porter launched a subsection devoted to it in October 2016. While many jewellers use 14- or 10-karat gold and pavé diamonds, Monica Vinader jewellery is forged in sterling silver coated with 18-karat gold vermeil, using primarily semi-precious stones. Prices start at £35 ($45) for a mini sterling-silver pendant, and most pieces are priced between £65 and £495 ($83 to $631): a sweet spot for both gifting and self-purchasing.

“We are the ultimate accessible luxury brand. It’s the constant driver of everything we do,” Vinader says. Expanding into fine, solid-gold jewellery and larger diamonds is not on the cards. “We’ve helped people understand what a quality product vermeil can be and that’s what we want to focus on.”

That said, her upper price point has gradually increased, to £3,495 ($4,458) for a pair of cocktail earrings with 966 pavé-set diamonds totalling 2.62 carats. The use of vermeil means it offers customers far more bling for their buck than other demi-fine brands, which at Net-a-Porter range from plain 14-karat gold pieces at £40 ($51), to a choker dotted with four tiny stones by New York-based brand Wwake at £3,815 ($4866).

“Demi-fine jewellery sales are performing incredibly well — we’re constantly reordering as so many styles sell out,” says Elizabeth von der Goltz, Net-a-Porter’s global buying director. “We still see a lot of opportunity within our demi-fine business and we are growing our investment in this sector.”

The popularity of accessibly priced jewellery is in part due to a loosening of formality in the industry, Vinader believes. “Across all categories, luxury is more approachable and instant. People no longer think about keeping jewellery in the safe or saving it for a special occasion. They want something that fits with their everyday life, and our lives nowadays are quite informal,” she says.

Self-gifting has been a huge driver of growth; women now buy jewellery as an accessory, in the same way as shoes or bags. Vinader capitalises on what she calls this “millennial mindset” by regularly introducing new, fashion-forward designs and engaging with customers via social media. The brand’s Instagram feed became shoppable this spring (it says sales driven through this channel are difficult to trace), and it works with influencers to raise brand awareness. Its customers also act as authentic advocates, tagging the brand in their own social-media posts.

Vinader isn’t the only jeweller to target millennials. Under new creative director Reed Krakoff, Tiffany has directed its attention towards a younger audience by enlisting 20-year-old actress Elle Fanning to advertise its dainty new Paper Flowers collection (starting at £2,325, or $2,966), and De Beers has launched a range of “starter" diamonds, priced from £700 ($893) for a single 0.07 ct diamond on a white gold bracelet. New diamond brand Vashi, meanwhile, has positioned itself as the engagement ring supplier of choice for millennials, thanks to its casual-seeming stores (walls are covered with graffiti from happy couples who #saidyes) and focus on easy customisation: customers can select a diamond and design their own ring from a set menu of options.

 

(22-08-2018, Source: the Business of Fashion)