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Jewelers Find That Art Draws a Crowd

Exhibitions add a layer of customer experience.

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INTEGRATING ART INTO the decor, selling it as part of the inventory mix, and hosting exhibitions are all ways that retail jewelers can not only attract a crowd, but also add a layer of interest that keeps shoppers lingering and looking longer.

Focus on Local

Fox Fine Jewelry, a full-service jewelry store in Ventura, CA, has doubled as an art gallery for 20 years, with shows scheduled every two months. Owner Debbie Fox maintains a separate email list for the art receptions, most of which feature two artists and host 75 to 100 visitors. “Focusing on local artists brings in their friends, family and collectors, while strengthening our position in the community,” Fox says. “We do little business during receptions, but it’s paid off over the long term!”

Built for Art

BVW Jewelers in Reno, NV, was designed with art in mind and built from the ground up, with uniquely shaped walls outfitted with gallery lighting. Owner Britten Wolf features a local artist every three months to engage customers in different artistic styles. While visual art is a large part of the experience at BVW Jewelers, it is also what is created in the store. “Jewelry is art because it shows a process from imagination to material,” he says. “Being surrounded by visual art adds to the creative process used in custom design jewelry and the experience of clients and jewelers alike.”

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Imagination Takes Flight

At Lindy’s in Fernandina Beach, FL, owner Lindy Kavanaugh commissioned Los Angeles street artist Punkmetender to install an eye-catching butterfly mural on the side of the building. “It’s been almost a year, and we absolutely love it!!” Kavanaugh says. She also displays paintings on loan from Casey Matthews, an artist and friend, which are available for sale. She loves the contrast of the colorful abstract paintings paired with the old brick of her interior walls.

It’s a Win-Win

Since Jacob and Liz Wosinski opened Jacob Raymond Custom Jewelry in 2017, they’ve experimented with a variety of marketing on a limited budget. As part of that marketing plan, they allow artists to hang their work in the Greensboro, NC, store and hold their own art receptions, which encourages visits by people who may not have known about the store before. “It’s a win-win: I get to have beautiful art in the store while supporting a local artist,” Jacob says.

Passion on Display

Jewelry designer John Atencio displays his original paintings and sells prints of the paintings in each of his six John Atencio stores in Colorado. The artwork serves as a backdrop to the jewelry he creates while showcasing his artistic range. “The passion of what I do comes through because of the art on the wall and the way the cases are laid out and the way the jewelry is displayed,” Atencio says. “It feels more like an artist’s gallery than a jewelry store.”

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It’s Second Nature

Viviana Langhoff, owner of Adornment & Theory, has a bachelor’s degree in fine art and she finds it second nature to host quarterly contemporary art shows, particularly since her jewelry brand is focused on artists and makers as well. “To be honest these events do not produce sales, but it gives us a chance to activate the space, draw people who would not normally come to a jewelry store, and have important discussions over the work,” she says. The most important show of 2019 the photography exhibit “Underexposed,” was curated by Adia Sykes and focused on the lack of diversity in the American jewelry and art jewelry fields. The works were created, modeled and photographed by artists of color.

Art on a Mission

Balefire Goods is an artisan jewelry gallery in Arvada, CO. “While we focus on wearable art, as a gallery, we also want to showcase other forms of modern craft and fine art,” says owner Jamie Hollier. As a part of that mission, she and her team highlight a different artist or art show on their walls each month.”We have showcased a diversity of artists and media, such as gemstone illustrations, an art show focused on tactile art from blind artists, and an annual show featuring artwork from local junior high and high school students.” A show in April will put the spotlight on brooches that offer social commentary. Hosting art shows allows Hollier to bolster the perception of the jewelry she carries as artworks in their own right while creating an important space for the creative people in the community to showcase their talents.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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