How John Hardy is creating a new global luxury jewelry brand

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John Hardy

WP Diamonds, a division of New York-based White Pine Trading LLC, recently assessed the Top 10 Designer Jewelry Brands. The list is dominated by Tiffany & Company and also includes heritage brands like Harry Winston, Cartier, Chopard and Van Clef & Arpels.

Based in Bali John Hardy aspires to be on this list and is about to claim its place. But that doesn’t follow the traditional luxury jewelry playbook. Instead, it lays out a progressive path appropriate for today, not yesterday, to become a leader in what is, according to research firm Euromonitor International, a $37.5 billion global market for jewelry. luxury.

By calling John Hardy a new luxury brand, I don’t mean it’s a new brand in the luxury market, because it’s been around for over 40 years, since its inception in 1975. I mean rather that it is a brand for the new luxury market, in tune with the values ​​and expectations of a younger, more informed, socially conscious and experience-driven consumer who has gone global.

Too many brands in today’s luxury market, I believe, put style before substance. As a result, they lack the deeper meaning that connects with consumers today. They are heavy on marketing but light on genuine luxury. This is not the case with John Hardy.

Sure, John Hardy has a lot of style, which makes him a player in the contemporary luxury jewelry market, but that’s not what makes him great or will give him another 50 years. Still, before we dig into its substance, let’s first look at its style.

This week, the company is launching what it hopes will be an eye-catching new ad campaign. Titled “Made for Legends”, it features actor Julianne Moore and model/activist Adwoa Aboah. Its imagery aims to reflect “the myth, mastery and achievement of art” that the John Hardy brand embodies, according to the company.

And what new campaign would be complete without a new collection to announce? The John Hardy Fall 2017 collection is the first designed by the company’s new creative director, Hollie Bonneville Barden, the first woman to fill this role. The collection is inspired by the “Spirit of Naga”, the mythical icon of the brand. “Balinese folklore depicts the Naga as an embodiment of different natural spirits – earth, ocean and sky,” Bonnneville Barden said. The collection will include two-tone sapphire, obsidian and amethyst in nature-inspired settings.

The “Made for Legends” campaign and the new collection are the most visible signs of the direction of the brand. worthy of interest ? Maybe, but every luxury brand has its famous spokespersons and new collections. That’s not what makes John Hardy important in the luxury market today.

To explore this, I spoke with John Hardy CEO Robert Hanson to learn more about the brand and its strategies for reaching an ever-growing audience of men and women around the world who appreciate unique, handcrafted pieces. by hand. she presents from her studio in Bali.

“John Hardy is one of the best-kept secrets in the luxury jewelry market,” Hanson tells me, adding, “Our ‘Made For Legends’ campaign is an important step in bringing our unique brand narrative to more customers. in the world. In many ways, given what is happening in general in the culture, now is our time.

Hanson sees a number of evolving trends in the global luxury jewelry market that make John Hardy a new luxury brand for today:

Authentic luxury of unique jewelry

Most important is the growing demand for authentic handcrafted jewelry that is also affordable for the next generation of affluent young people. “The John Hardy client is individualistic and artistically expressive. It’s an attitude and a way of wearing jewelry that is growing in importance among our current customers and among potential customers, especially millennials,” says Hanson.

Hansen adds that this view resonates with customers around the world. Currently, the company ships to over 200 countries worldwide and sells from its Bali-based workshop in Ubud, as well as branded boutiques in Hong Kong and three locations in the United States: New York, Houston and, more recently, Los Angeles, at the Westfield Century City Mall. Additionally, the company distributes its products through 225 independent retailers and jewelry stores, including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Saks.

Immersive John Hardy Stores

Because the United States is the largest luxury market in the world, having a strong presence here is critically important to the growth of the John Hardy brand. Each of its three American boutiques draws inspiration from Bali’s natural environment to create a “unique immersive retail experience that engages all five senses,” says Hanson.

Along with jewelry presented in a gallery-like setting that invites customers to touch and feel the craftsmanship, each boutique combines a signature scent with sound in a playlist of Bali-inspired natural rhythms and sounds, as well as lighting that moves throughout the day to reflect the sunrise and sunset in Bali, to virtually transport the customer there. Regardless of the shop visited by customers, “they will receive the same sensory immersion”, Hansen said. And customers can take home the scent of John Hardy’s Bali in a scented candle.

Omnichannel strategies

Having a robust, sales-driving omnichannel strategy is something no new luxury brand can do without, and John Hardy delivers it. “We recently revamped our website, modernizing it to create a more immersive, digitally-focused brand experience for the customer,” says Hanson. In addition to all of the website’s state-of-the-art digital features, the online customer experience is further enhanced by a “live shopping” component, gained through a partnership with hero.

“Hero enables our in-store customer services team to shop with our e-customers for the first time, through a combination of live messaging, artificial intelligence and video,” says Hanson. “By connecting the dots between the physical store and the digital enterprise, John Hardy’s in-store customer service specialists can extend their concierge service to online shoppers, increasing conversion rates by 10 times and increasing the average value of 44% orders.”

Hanson adds, “Hero has created something very special at a time when retailers, especially in the luxury sector, must champion innovative ways to bring the brand experience and high quality service to where many customers are. – in line.”

Men’s jewelry

Another global trend that John Hardy is capitalizing on is men’s jewelry. “Men’s business has grown much faster than the women’s market, exceeding 20% ​​year-over-year in recent years,” Hanson notes. Additionally, men’s jewelry accounts for 30% of the company’s e-commerce, boutique and international sales.

Sustainability

When John Hardy was founded in 1975, sustainability was not something the luxury market generally aspired to or even thought about, but the John Hardy brand has maintained this commitment over the years,” says Hanson.

“It runs through everything we do, from the materials we source and our workshop grounds to John Hardy’s ‘Wear Bamboo, Plant Bamboo’ initiative,” he says, referring to the company’s Bamboo collection. of mixed media jewelry creations, made from 100% certified reclaimed gold and silver, as well as gemstones sourced from best practices. In addition, for each purchase of the Bamboo Collection, the company plants new bamboo seedlings.

“The jewelry industry as a whole has not been in the lead with a strong view on this issue, but we are at a point where companies are compelled to recognize their global impacts and be a force for change. positive change,” adds Hanson.

In conclusion, Hanson says, “We make powerful, dramatic and inspiring handcrafted jewelry using sustainable business practices. We have a unique origin, coming from a very magical place, Bali. Our artisanal touch and unique design make each piece a unique talisman.

Hanson and his team are moving beyond a product-driven brand and marketing strategy based on the traditional 4Ps – Product, Price, Promotion, Placement – to a new global luxury, based on the new 4E model: Experience, Exchange, Evangelization, Everywhere. “John Hardy has a big opportunity in a growing luxury jewelry market with a very distinctive brand,” says Hanson.

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