Liz Kantner on Starting Up

If you’re in the jewelry buisness you’ve likely heard of Liz Kantner, who is, among many things, a marketer, consultant and curator for large trade shows like JA New York and PREMIER in Las Vegas.

I’ve asked Liz to introduce herself and answer some of the questions she is asked most frequently by young and emerging designers. Liz and I have also partnered together to offer a package of our combined services. To learn more about this offer, please reach out here!

 

Hi Liz! Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I'm Liz, and my passion is jewelry.  After receiving a B.S. in Marketing and Communications from Drexel University, I started working at a Digital Marketing agency with a focus on project management. Soon I began working as a content manager for big consumer brands such as Black & Decker and Airborne Effervescence. What amazed me most was that, through social media, a consumer could personally connect with a massive and previously faceless brand. 

After several years, I had the chance to take a job working for award-winning jewelry designer Todd Reed. It was there that I found my passion for jewelry. During my time with Todd Reed, I learned many aspects of the fine jewelry industry including public relations, advertising, sales, and trade shows, all while also being front row to the design and jewelry making process. It was an incredible experience, but I saw a great opportunity in helping emerging designers.

In 2016 I began consulting up and coming jewelry designers and curating trade shows including the New Designer Gallery at JA New York and a designer section at PREMIER. My passion for jewelry continues to grow.

 

Jewelers often ask me, I post on Instagram daily, I email stores, but I'm not getting sales. What am I doing wrong? 

Let's talk about social media first - without a strategy, it's difficult to be noticed by either wholesale or retail clients. Before spreading the word about your company, make sure you have a strong collection and a defined brand; from there, you can put together a consistent content strategy. I recommend choosing five topics to post about and rotate through them. Some examples of categories are process shots, sources of inspiration, and model shots. Tell your story through these images and by writing authentic captions. Use this concept for all of your social media sites.

Regarding emails, remember that retailers receive endless emails from designers, so it's important to forge a relationship with the buyer. Sending an email a couple of weeks before a trade show is likely to get lost. Do some research and put together a list of your top prospects, then focus on creating a relationship with the buyers of those stores. Of course, while some of the work can be done through email and social media, nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. 

 

Why is social media so important?

So many reasons! It's a place to showcase your brand and tell your story daily, and it's also a great place to connect with potential clients. Consumers spend more and more time shopping and researching brands on social media rather than a Google search or visiting a store, so being active online is crucial for brand awareness. Using social media well does lead to sales!

 

How do I decide what trade shows to participate in? 

It's always a good idea to walk a trade show before deciding to participate. Take a look at the stores attending the shows and make sure it aligns with your prospect list. Trade shows are considered a marketing expense. While opening new accounts is the goal, it's essential to take advantage of the relationship-building opportunities as well. Participating in a trade show consistently will lead to sales. Over the course of those years of participation, you are building relationships and proving your longevity as a company.

 

Do I need to do a trade show? 

If your goal is direct-to-consumer sales, then no. If you are hoping to have your jewelry in retail stores, then yes. Buyers need an opportunity to see collections in person and also to see how they evolve in each show. 

 

I've signed up for my first trade show! What now? 

Make sure there aren't any holes in your collection, and if there are, work on new pieces to fill them. Once you feel good about your collection, practice merchandising. It's always good to go into a show with a plan, so know how pieces will be displayed in the case and if any props will be used. Put together your prospect list and plan the outreach starting at least three months leading up to the show. Create line sheets and have them available digitally. I like to put a Dropbox folder together with the latest line sheets, images, bio, headshot, and so on, and have the link ready to send out to prospects. Make sure you use the trade show opportunity to make as many connections and begin as many relationships as possible.  

 

How can we work together? 

Email me! I am always glad to connect with designers.