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Selling Design : Tara Mikolay




Selling Design : Tara Mikolay


Published in the March-April2012 issue

As a retailer, as much as I love carrying designer jewelry, it’s not always easy because it often has to be “sold” to the customer. Why? What makes designer jewelry harder to sell than more traditional jewelry? My husband and I recently launched our own designer line, so I thought about these questions long and hard.

I believe that the two most important things a jewelry line needs in order to be successful are a story and the marketing materials to go along with it.

The story is crucial because it is the primary ingredient in “romancing the sale.” When my husband and I designed our line, we wanted to go back to a time when a piece of jewelry was worked on for months, when quality was never compromised and the end result was a work of art.


We were inspired by the English Renaissance and decided to design separate collections based on each of the wives of King Henry VIII, all of whom were fascinating icons with a distinct sense of style. This makes selling the line very easy as a retailer. We often have customers try on a ring and comment how it looks like an estate piece. This gives the salesperson a natural introduction into what the designer was inspired by, how the piece was designed, and why certain materials were used. All of this dialogue instills the value in the piece, leaving the customer with a full understanding of the asking price.

Secondly, as a retailer, it’s incredibly important for brand awareness and sales longevity that each designer provide you with top-notch marketing materials. You have to build interest in the line by brand promotion using high quality images, catalogs, training materials for staff, and customer handouts. Having these items at your staff’s disposal will allow them to reach out to customers with images of items that will complement their most recent purchases.

Tara Mikolay, Owner, Desires By Mikolay and Scott Mikolay Jewelry Design (Chappaqua, NY)




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