HOW DESIGNER BRANDS OPERATE
The business model of most top designers is to distribute their product through a network of authorized resellers. The top designers have strict requirements for the retailers who are representing them. To qualify to carry a top brand a retailer must meet certain criteria for financial strength, credit worthiness, and normally must place a substantial opening order and maintain a healthy sales volume over time. The retailer must have a strong reputation for customer service and a suitable physical location where customers can see the line. Retailers are also often required to participate in certain advertising campaigns to help drive new business. (Retailers are also usually given allowances in the form of credits for other advertising they might do related specifically to the brand).
Most designers have exclusive territorial agreements with their retail partners. Depending on many demographic factors the geographical territories can be fairly large in more rural areas, or they might be quite small in the case of high density urban areas. Typically there will not be more than one authorized reseller in a given geographical area but with the rise of e-commerce these lines are not quite as distinct today. Until relatively recently, the top designers have heavily favored traditional brick and mortar jewelers for the presentation and customer experience that they are able to bring to the brand. But the rapid growth of e-commerce has created a convergence where companies working primarily in the internet channel are setting up stores and traditional brick and mortar companies are going online.
High-end designer jewelry can be expected to cost a premium over generic. The top designers are rigorous in enforcing pricing discipline among their re-sellers. In order to protect the value of their brand, they seek to prevent discounting. Each brand has different policies and some are more rigorous in enforcing uniform pricing than others. But in general you can expect to pay roughly the same price no matter which authorized reseller you deal with. The consumer is therefore free to choose a reseller based upon which one is more convenient or comfortable to deal with.
Most designers have all of their operations under one roof including production, logistics, and administration. This promotes efficiency and quality control.
Service after the sale (repairs, sizing) is usually conducted at the factory, requiring the piece to be shipped to the designer. This is done to ensure the integrity of the product after servicing and to protect the brand. In some cases the retailer is authorized by the designer to do certain types of work in order to avoid delays and shipping costs.
An advantage of choosing a designer brand is the assurance that no matter where you go, you will be able to get service from jewelers qualified to restore the piece to original condition. This is especially important with jewelry that has intricate design elements or diamond setting techniques such as micro pavé that require a high level of expertise.
Most designers provide warranties that will cover many different contingencies including repairs and resizing. These policies differ among the different designers, but in general they tend to be liberal in applying their policies in order to maintain their brand reputation and to assist their retail partners in maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. Many require a product registration in order to be eligible for benefits, and most have limitations and exclusions.
Some other benefits that might be found with designer brands are trade-up benefits, guarantee of service, and lifetime free sizing. Purchasing a designer brand can also add lasting value to the piece as the designer name becomes part of the provenance of the piece and represents an element of value in addition to the value of the precious metals and gemstones.
Designer Brand or Custom?
If you want something very unique there is sometimes a choice between a designer piece and having something made from scratch. The first thing to consider is warranties and other benefits that might be available on the designer item. In addition, the ability to know exactly what the designer piece will look like takes some of the uncertainty out of the custom process. It should also be pointed out that many of the designers will do customization of their designs and even complete custom build. This is something to explore if you want something very special but do not want to give up the benefits of the designer brand.
Many times customers like everything about a designer piece except the price! And many local jewelers are willing to copy trademarked designer pieces at lower prices, even though it is illegal and unethical to do so. It should be a red flag to any buyer that a jeweler willing to steal copyrighted material may not be trustworthy in other ways. Furthermore, the quality of the materials and workmanship may not be the same, and the benefits of owning the authentic branded piece will be sacrificed.
Turn around Times
Generally speaking if you are lucky and your exact item is in the jeweler’s stock you can expect delivery within a week or two. That means correct metal, center stone and finger size. Special orders will typically range anywhere from a couple of weeks to 6 weeks or more.
MEET THE DESIGNERS
Simon G. features perhaps the broadest collection of fine jewelry of any of the leading brands. Superb styling and impeccable craftsmanship are the hallmarks of this designer throughout both their bridal and fashion lines. While engagement rings and wedding bands are the focus, Simon G. has a multitude of exciting options to suit a wide range of occasions and tastes.
The namesake and inspiration behind Simon G. is Simon Ghanimian, a master jeweler who emigrated from Beirut to Los Angeles with his wife Silvia some thirty years ago. Beginning from scratch with nothing but talent, a strong work ethic and an optimistic and fun-loving attitude, Simon has become one of the most respected and admired designers in the country.
The extensive line includes tailored and classic styles, but always features leading edge artistic design as well. Presently Simon G. is putting special emphasis on rose gold, with many exciting new designs in this distinctive metal which is enjoying resurgence in popularity today. Their white gold alloy is made with palladium making the jewelry hypo-allergenic.