This is a question that I get asked a lot. I was recently appointed the new Chairman of the MJSA (Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America). I have had the pleasure of being interviewed a few times over the last month or so, and inevitably this is a question that keeps getting repeated. And each time I answer the same – Wearables!

How many times over the last few years have we discussed around dinners, and at informal gatherings the challenges we face as an industry? Too many to count. And each time the conversation goes back to the fact that our competition has extended beyond the jewelry store down the street, or booth down the aisle.

Our competition has been coming from limited consumer spending dollars going to other industries, primarily the electronic industry.

So here we are at a crossroad:

Will we allow the electronic industry to enter the jewelry industry, or will we take charge and lead in this arena?

There have been many articles written on this subject in recent months. JCK Online has been blogging and writing about this topic for months. One of their most recent stories centered around the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and Richline’s recent announcements surrounding their new strategic partnerships. Richline, along with Swarovski both announced partnerships with tech companies to develop and create lines of wearable jewelry technology.

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In the upcoming issue of Retail Jeweler, I wrote an article on how you can prepare, as a retail jeweler, for this new market segment. MJSA is featuring keynote speaker Ben Smithee at their upcoming MJSA Expo in New York in March.

The subject will be “The Cyborg Consumer: from Wearable Tech to 3-D Printing”. I actually had the chance to hear Ben speak a few years back, not only was he fun and exciting to hear, he also was able to bring to life the ever changing world around us.

So what to do next and why?

Differentiate yourself from your direct competition. By entering and embracing this new category of business, you will be able to start (or continue) to attract that elusive millennial generation.

Become a leader rather than a follower. Learn as much as you can about the topic, whether you read the articles, attend MJSA, or check out the new Wearable Pavilion at JCK Las Vegas – or do all 3!

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Jewelry styles are changing with time and technology developments. We need to be ahead of the curve to work with this emerging market.

Ann Arnold

Ann Arnold

CSO – The BIG Network

BIG – Buyers Intelligence Group

Ann@bigjewelers.com