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Interview With Anna Samsonova – Jewelry Merchandising

In episode #162 of the Joy Joya Jewelry Marketing Podcast, I share my interview with Anna Samsonova, an independent jewelry consultant and founder of Samsonova Consulting. With 17 years in the jewelry industry, she supports her clients with a big-picture outlook and offers jewelry consulting services in the areas of brand development, merchandising, operations, upscaling, trade shows, and event planning. I ask Anna specifically about her expertise in brand development and merchandising.

We explore topics like:

-The role that merchandising plays in brand development
How jewelry brands can approach merchandising in a strategic way
-The types of information/data a jewelry brand will need to optimize their merchandising
…and more!

Listen or watch to benefit from Anna’s wealth of information, knowledge, and experience. You can also find the transcript below.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 00:09
I’m Laryssa, and I want to help you find the best strategy for communicating the magic and wonder of your jewelry brand. So, you can thrive by doing what you love and filling the world with beauty and creativity. Welcome to the Joy Joya Jewelry Marketing podcast.

Hi, I’m your host Laryssa Wirstiuk. Through this podcast I aim to empower and inspire jewelry entrepreneurs and professionals so they can thrive while adding more beauty to the world. I’m passionate about digital marketing for jewelry brands, and I’m excited to share my passion with you. As we all know jewelry is joy, so I’ll gladly seize any opportunity to talk about it.

This is episode 162 and today I’m going to be sharing my interview with Anna Samsonova, an independent jewelry consultant and founder of Samsonova consulting with 17 years in the jewelry industry. She supports her clients with a big picture outlook and offers jewelry consulting services in the areas of brand development, merchandising, operations, upscaling trade shows, and event planning. In this episode, I’m going to be asking Anna specifically about her expertise in brand development and merchandising. We’re going to explore topics like the role that merchandising plays in brand development how jewelry brands can approach merchandising in a strategic way, the types of information and data a jewelry brand will need to optimize their Merchandising, and much more. Keep listening to benefit from Anna’s wealth of information, knowledge and experience.

But before we get to the solid gold of this episode, I’d like to take a moment to remind you that this podcast has both an audio and a video component. So, you can either listen on your favorite podcast platform, or watch on YouTube by searching Joy Joya. I love creating this content as my act of service to you my awesome listeners and you can support the podcast always for free by taking the time not only to subscribe, but also to leave a rating and review on iTunes, which helps other jewelry dreamers find it too. Let’s discuss some recent news related to jewelry or marketing. Each week I share my thoughts about three relevant articles and you can get those links yourself by visiting JoyJoya.com/signup. Once you’re on the VIP list, you’ll receive our weekly digest filled with new episode announcements.

The first article comes from morning brew, which is actually a really awesome newsletter that I subscribe to. It’s all daily marketing and business-related news that I love to get. This article is called consumers are storming the castle. What the heck does that mean? So, today’s consumers have more information at their fingertips than ever before, and the power to make their own choices about what products and services to purchase. This is a super exciting time to be a consumer, out will be maybe a little overwhelming but still consumers can really empower themselves. They’ve outgrown the “old company customer relationship.” Today consumers have so much more information like pricing sources of supply, human rights, manufacturing costs, product comparisons, et cetera and access.

So, this thought leader Joel Bines wrote this book called The Metail Economy as a quote message to show that now more than ever, the consumer is calling the shots and quote, so what is metail? Have you heard this word before? It was kind of new to me. So, that’s why I was particularly interested in this article. Basically, with all this information and access, consumers today are really me centric, and now expecting their individual needs to be met. Metail is the shift to consumers being truly in charge or in other words, the metail economy is just described as the democratization of consumerism. Joel Bines gives one example of Costco if you get gas there or you’re familiar with the gas at Costco, then you may know an example that really embodies metail. So, at Costco gas stations, the length of the gas pump hoses, makes it so that a consumer can fill up on gas no matter what side the gas tank is on. Also, everyone knows about the really affordable prices at Costco and the really wide parking spaces to accommodate larger cars. So, that’s just one example. To be successful in this metail economy, businesses like yours must cultivate an authentic and meaningful relationship with the customer to enhance their experience and give them exactly what they want, and need.

The next article is an announcement from YouTube. It’s a look at 2022 community collaboration and commerce. The next article is really just an announcement from YouTube about all the exciting new features that they’re coming out with in 2022. So, it’s called, a look at 2022 community collaboration and commerce. So, as they say, in this article this year, YouTube is really focused on creating the best possible experience for the platform’s creators, and viewers. So, by creators they’re referring to kind of like those influencers who are creating original content for YouTube. Those people are often partnering with brands to do like paid promotions, sponsorships, et cetera. So, for these creators, YouTube will continue to invest across the platforms, multiple formats, such as shorts, live and video on demand, and will roll out even more engagement and monetization options this year. Also, they’re going to be introducing a collaborative live stream as a way to make streams more fun and casual. So, why does this matter for you as a jewelry brand? I think traditionally, or more in recent years, when jewelry brands think about partnering with influencers, they’re usually thinking about influencers on Instagram, or maybe now even TikTok. But YouTube is a platform that I feel like is kind of ignored, and maybe a missed opportunity for jewelry brands. There are a lot of people creating amazing original content on YouTube and with the platform now releasing all these new features, especially when it comes to live streaming, which is great for the shopping experience. I think there are more opportunities for brands to collaborate with some of these creators. The thing that I’m most excited about one of the most anticipated opportunities YouTube will be bringing to their brands this year is shopping. They’re thinking about shoppable videos, live shopping, and more broadly how shopping appears across the app, so users will be able to shop tagged items in their favorite creators’ videos. Live shopping is going to offer viewers an interactive setting where they’ll be able to engage with creators and influencers while they drop new products, unveil exclusive deals or discuss their latest shopping haul. Last November, you may have seen it. YouTube hosted the holiday stream and shop which was a week-long event alongside global brands, Walmart, Samsung, and Verizon. It showed a tremendous amount of engagement. It was an awesome experiment, a total of more than 2 million views and 1.4 million live chat messages. So, they’re just going to keep working on making all of this easier and better in 2022 and I’m really excited to see how YouTube emerges for as a platform that jewelry brands can utilize.

The last article is from diamonds.net and it’s all about jumping on the NFT train. If you listen to my podcast episode where I interviewed Benjamin Smithee you may remember that toward the end, we talked about NFT’s and he blew my mind a little bit because I never really thought about how they could be utilized in the jewelry industry. But diamonds.net has the scoop. So, luxury brands like Louie Vuitton, Gucci and Bulgari, and even auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s are embracing NFT’s the digital phenomenon of NFT’s has significantly grown and captured the imaginations of artists, athletes, investors, et cetera. Diamond artist and jewelry designer Rena Ahluwalia launched the first ever diamond art NFTs in partnership with luxury FinTech founder Eric Agents. It features a limited collection of 10 digital artworks. NFT’s have created an entirely new market of consumers for Ahluwalia and she believes that, “brands need to have a virtual and digital strategy of storytelling” I love that so wise and smart and innovative and forward thinking. What are your thoughts on NFT’s in the diamond and jewelry industry? Do you think they can revolutionize jewelry?

As I mentioned, if you want to get the links to the articles I share in this segment of the podcast, you can become a Joy Joya VIP by visiting joyjoya.com/signup. Without further delay here’s my interview with Anna. Hey, Anna, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. I’m very excited to have you as a guest today.

Anna Samsonova 10:06
Yes. Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here. Thanks for that awesome intro.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 10:13
Yes. It’s nice to find out that we’re both members of WJA. So, we have that in common.

Anna Samsonova 10:19
Yes, absolutely. Part of loving the industry is being involved in it. So, I’m GIA alumni involved with WJA, AGS, Black in Jewelry Coalition. All of my free time goes back into work.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 10:37
I love that. So, tell our listeners how you first entered the jewelry industry and why are you so passionate about it?

Anna Samsonova 10:44
Yeah, so it’s kind of in my blood. Both of my parents were in the jewelry industry also back in Moscow, Russia, which is where I was born. I grew up around, did my first-grade science project on Amber, and never dreamed of being a princess but dreamed of being in the industry. So, as soon as I could walked to GIA, and it was history from there.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 11:14
Sounds like it was meant to be.

Anna Samsonova 11:15
Yes, absolutely. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 11:20
So how long have you been consulting with your agency, Samsonova consulting and what specific services do you offer to your clients?

Anna Samsonova 11:28
Yeah, so I been in the industry for 17 years and I’ve reached a point a few years back in 2019, where I just decided that I want to do a little bit more. I’ve had wonderful experience with wonderful companies, and a great background of retail and wholesale lab. Merchandising a little bit of everything. I like kind of looking at the big picture of things. So, I wanted to take it to the next step and continue helping the industry not just in my free time with all of the organizations that I’m a part of, but also do it now with consulting. So, I work with mostly small businesses, and help them with upscaling their business, branding, merchandising, and some operations. That sounds amazing. So, I love to focus in this episode, specifically on your expertise in brand development and merchandising. But I think its important, maybe listeners don’t know, can you define merchandising for us? Because we’re going to be spending a lot of time talking about it in this episode. Yeah, absolutely. Merchandising is technically the activity of promoting at the sales of your goods, especially through presentation. So, that’s why merchandising and branding really go together. They are hand in hand and especially in our industry, with jewelry, it’s already printed, but it’s our job to put it in the right place. Get the right things and brand it well.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 13:10
Sure. I would say like, when most people think of merchandising, maybe I’m assuming a little bit but they think of like in a brick-and-mortar retail store, like maybe the way something is arranged in like a window or in the case. But it sounds like it’s a lot more than that. Would you agree?

Anna Samsonova 13:28
Absolutely. I mean, I think it starts a step ahead of that and that’s the buying of it if you’re in a retail store. If you’re a designer that starts with your collection, and how are you putting it together? How many pieces are you putting out at a time? Are you doing a collection? Two collections and so on?

Laryssa Wirstiuk 13:48
Sure. So, brand development and merchandising, what do those two things have in common? What role does merchandising play in branding?

Anna Samsonova 13:57
I mean merchandise is your brand, right? If you are selling the goods for me personally, as a consultant, I’m my brand. I don’t have any goods. But for anyone that actually is selling goods, that’s the brand. That’s the first step of it, at least, or the main part of it. Of course, branding goes back into the color scheme and the logos and your website and social media and how it all ties together. But first and foremost is the merchandise.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 14:32
So, would you say that merchandising comes before the brand or does the brand come before the merchandising? Or is it sometimes different from one business to another chicken or egg?

Anna Samsonova 14:42
Yeah, definitely chicken or egg? I think it depends on which side of the industry you’re on.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 14:49
Okay, interesting.

Anna Samsonova 14:50
As a designer, I think it’s all together. It’s your brand and your merchandise is the same thing. As a retail store owner it’s going to be a little bit different and I think the brand comes first and the merchandise comes second.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 15:11
Okay, that’s very interesting. I never really thought about it that way. So, with your clients, how are you approaching merchandising in a strategic way, and I want to kind of preface that to one thing I see in, especially with solopreneur independent jewelry designers, I think a common problem is that they don’t approach merchandising in a strategic way. They usually start because they are creative people, they want to make because they have a vision, they love a certain aesthetic. So, they start creating products. I mean, that’s natural. That’s how a lot of businesses start from, like an inner passion. But then there comes a point where they’re trying to scale or formalize their business, and they realize they’ve never thought through merchandising, and maybe they need to pivot. So, how do you do this in a strategic way?

Anna Samsonova 16:10
I think my number one advice to smaller businesses is think bigger than you are. Because when you get bigger, it’s going to be too late to change. Right? You don’t want to be blowing up and having all of the sales and trying to make all the merchandise and also change your inventory system at the same time. So, you need to always be one step ahead in the nitty gritties. Yes, it takes a long time to set up an inventory system or to set up a sales analytics program and sales manual, even if you’re starting to hire people, but the time that it takes you to set that up, you’re going to get it back tenfold in the end. So, from day one, I would start thinking about day, 1 million, right?

Laryssa Wirstiuk 17:11
Sure. That’s great.

Anna Samsonova 17:14
Yeah. When you’re setting up your skews, for example, how is this going to look when you have 1000 pieces and not just 10 pieces. It’s okay, if you don’t want to get that big, right? I’m using kind of a large range examples. You will want to go back two years from now and say, oh, piece, A sold more and piece B didn’t really sell that well. So, starting to track the sales and really focusing on analytics is going to be really important in merchandising,

Laryssa Wirstiuk 17:51
Sure, you want to set yourself up for success. So, I think you mentioned some tools like inventory management and sales, something, I forget what you said, but do you have like certain platforms that you typically use with your clients that you like and can recommend?

Anna Samsonova 18:09
Yeah, so I think for my clients, a lot of them are very new and starting out. So, it’s okay if it’s just as easy as Excel. If it’s just an Excel spreadsheet, that’s okay. As long as you have something. Moving forward, there are many different inventory systems and tracking systems and sales and customer management, lots and lots of things. You kind of have to research them on your own and see what works for you. I know a lot of larger retail stores love podium. I’ve heard only good things for podium. Then on a little bit of a branding aspect I am in love with Later, which is a scheduling app for your social media because most of us hate social media, but we know we have to do it. So, later is very easy to use. You can see everything laid out. You can plan things out for whatever your brain can handle, if that’s a week or a month and it’s nice to just sit down for an hour get out of the way. Then not have to daily think about it.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 19:31
Sure, I recommend Later all the time. This podcast is not sponsored Later, a disclaimer there. Those are all really good tips and recommendations and it’s nice to know that you can start this process even with just an Excel or Google sheet in a very low budget DIY kind of way. So, if a brand is interested in getting serious about their merchandising, what kind of information and data will they need to really optimize this for themselves?

Anna Samsonova 20:05
I think the more that you have, the better. Even if you think you don’t need it, you might need it. If you’re a designer, and you’re just starting out with your collection, you have to see what will become your core and what will become branch off collections from that. So, the sales analytics of when it’s sold, even, like knowing your busy months. As business owners all months are up and down, especially in our industry that is so trend related for holidays. So, you have to plan for the long months, as well. So, even going not just for sales and developing your new collection and seeing if rose gold sold more than white gold, or even this size. That’s also so different in different areas. In Seattle, it might be a size seven average, in California might be a size six, average, it’s all different everywhere. So, having the analytics of every little thing is going to help in the end.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 21:25
It sounds like you have to be obsessed with numbers. But here’s the challenge that I find a lot. Makers, designers, they’re more like right brained creative people, so they are not super interested in looking at the numbers and I understand that too. Do you have any tips to make that feel more accessible, or like to motivate people to really check out the data that they have?

Anna Samsonova 21:52
So, I’m not a numbers person. I hate math with a passion, not my subject. But I like analytics, because it’s gratifying. It’s seeing and it’s organizational and that I have, that gene I do have. I don’t have the math gene, but I have the organizing gene. So, it’s kind of like losing weight. Seeing that number change is so motivating. So, I think that helps when you say, okay, if I just take one minute, and write this down, that this sold, and at the end of the month, when I have to count everything, I won’t have to go back and look for that information, fix the gratification of saving time in the end, and then having that information when someone comes back and asks for it.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 22:52
That’s so true, I think yes, seeing the change, realizing that those numbers are helping you make better decisions, those are all like positive reinforcements that will encourage you to want to do that more. I thought of two questions that I get asked very frequently especially by independent designers. One it’s just as simple as how do I know that I’m ready to launch a new collection? Most of the time, it comes from some kind of creative inspiration or like a creative whim that they have. So, they want to start making, but is there a strategic way to kind of know that you’re ready, and also when to release that collection? That’s my first question. I’ll let you.

Anna Samsonova 23:36
I think it’s like having a baby, you’re never fully ready. It’s never the perfect time. It’s never the exact time. But you’ll know. Always ask for help. There’s wonderful if not a consultant that can help you get started. Just our industry in general is so supportive. Organizations like WJA, and AGS all have wonderful mentorship programs. So, there’s people that you can speak to, and get a little bit of help on. I very much always recommend to someone that’s starting new brand to do almost like a consumer facing test too with your friends, your real friends that will tell you the real answer of what they like or don’t like. So, having a little wine night with cheese and then presenting the pieces to them and having them say like, oh, well, this is too long on my neck, or could this work if I had it on a bigger size or something like that. Really, really helps. But you just have to go through the motions and have a checklist. I’m not giving a straight answer because it’s so dependent. Depending on your designs and what your story is. It could be better to do it in the summer, or it could be better to do with the fall. It just depends.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 25:15
I mean, I think it’s a great answer. I say similar things all the time. It’s so dependent from one brand to another because everyone has different customers, different sales patterns, as you were talking about, I really liked the idea of testing things out with friends over like wine and cheese. Just side note, if anyone listening to this wants to use me to test out products, I’m good and I’m sure Anna would agree with that.

Anna Samsonova 25:40
Yeah, absolutely. We always wear jewelry.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 25:45
So, the second question I had, there’s now a trend. Well, I don’t know if it’s new, necessarily, but in fashion and jewelry, to release things in like a drop format, as opposed to releasing like a full collection all at once. So, kind of having an email campaign and saying new drop, like this piece. Then perhaps there’s only like a certain number of those pieces available. So, it’s very exclusive and time limited. Do you think that that’s here to stay? Like are there certain brands that you recommend that approach to versus like pushing out a whole collection all at once? What are the pros and cons of both of those approaches?

Anna Samsonova 26:26
Yeah, I think there’s have been versions of that for years and there’s going to be versions of that for years. We always like to tease that something’s coming out and here’s this one little thing, but more later. The backend story of that is, maybe you plan to launch your collection on a certain day, but then your vendor didn’t deliver something in time, and you can’t. So, here’s a little teaser, and we will give you the rest later, some can be beneficial. Also, I think it’s helps with building, when you’re first developing your brand, you’re probably developing your following as well. You didn’t just wake up with 10,000 followers on Instagram and decide that you’re going to launch a collection unless you’re a celebrity. So, having those little teases, little drops, little backstories of here’s my sketch on a napkin that or here’s just this stick figure drawing that I turned into this beautiful piece, starts to develop your following before you launch the full collection, and once you launch the full collection, then you have more people that are seeing it, you have 10 people instead of five now that are looking at it. So, definitely pluses to that. But also, there could be minuses and someone might see that email and forget about it and not pay attention like the boy who cried wolf when the full thing comes up. So, it all depends, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here. Not one is better than the other. Both have a time and place for it.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 28:23
Those are all really good points and when you were talking about like the stick figure drawings, I thought of, the last line, are you familiar with that brand?

Anna Samsonova 28:32
No.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 28:33
So, I forget the founder, Shelley, someone but anyway, they started as this ecommerce direct to consumer jewelry brand. On her own built this really amazing following on Instagram, and they release things in drops and a lot of what she posts and how she kind of got that interest of her followers was like showing sketches, showing the process, then releasing a new product that was like exclusive and new. Now they’re super successful. I believe they have like a brick and mortar in Manhattan. So, it was amazing to see how she used kind of that concept that you described to like build this really amazing brand.

Anna Samsonova 29:14
Yeah, I mean, having exclusivity is a huge thing. It’s in all of our lives. You have artwork in your house that is an original versus a print of something or it’s signed or is 13 of 25 That’s the same thing with jewelry. It’s that exclusivity and especially now. Customization is huge. Everyone is looking for something different. Something original, something with a story, there’s a time and place for everyone but like not the mass-produced big thing, someone wants to walk in and say my boyfriend takes us out. He’s the one that that designed it with the jeweler we did it together. So, having those exclusive drops definitely helps into that mentality.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 30:10
Absolutely. It’s helpful in shortening your sales cycle. Because when something’s exclusive, people are motivated to buy more quickly, instead of waiting six months until like their birthday or something. They’re like no I’ll buy myself that later. Well, it’s not going to be there later.

Anna Samsonova 30:27
Right, absolutely. As a new designer, too, don’t feel like you have to have everything done and everything perfect and 20 pieces of each item. It’s okay to start off with just a sample collection and work off of made to order things. If you’re selling, either to b2b or b2c. A customer really wants something, they’ll wait for it, it might be perfect for them to take it home, and then you make a second one for the collection. But if it doesn’t fit, or you need to make a change to it, it’ll be worth the wait for them too, so it doesn’t have to be 100 pieces ready to go. It’s okay to start with just 10.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 31:18
That’s a really great point. Super encouraging, I think for the listeners as well. So, in your time in the industry, 17 years, I’m sure you’ve seen a few approaches to merchandising, I’d love if you could highlight some unique or really great ones that you’ve seen.

Anna Samsonova 31:39
I think it’s really hard to answer that question. A, I don’t want to choose favorites.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 31:45
Oh, yeah. Okay, fair.

Anna Samsonova 31:46
You see, what works for you won’t work for the next person. But there’s key things to think about that are universal. I mean, just walking, I always like to make people think about not just what they like about another brand, but also what they don’t like about another brand. So, when you’re launching your collection, walking around to different jewelry stores, and observing how crowded are their cases, or how minimal they are. If you go into one store, and maybe completely ask for the items, but then you go into somewhere very, very high end like Tiffany or something like that and there’s five pieces per case. That creates two completely different stories, two completely different perceptions. Even if your pieces are entry level price points, I think you should always be presenting them for the value and the worth and the love that you put into it. So, just because it’s an entry level price point doesn’t mean that the presentation has to be so. So, always be thinking higher, thinking bigger. Okay, one person that I will call out, I was a buyer and one of my brands was Roberta coin, and I love them. The effort that they put into merchandising and branding and presentation. For all of their sales people, at stores that carry them had trainings that they took people to, and had a whole weekend that talked about presentation and how to move things around. Like some things that are very simple that we all may or may not know or begin to learn as we think about branding and presentation, like grouping things in threes, or moving if you have a larger store, moving things around in your case every so often, because someone might be very left focused and always go to the left. But then one time they go to the right, and they’re like, oh, there’s that over here? Or well, that was always here, but we just moved in round, so you wouldn’t see it.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 34:31
Yeah, and I think it’s also really important to remind listeners also, we’re talking about the in-store experience, but the same exact things that you said, can apply to an E commerce storefront. It’s one thing that I’m constantly telling clients who have Shopify stores, for example, you need to be updating your homepage like once a month, let’s say, because if someone goes there today, they can see one thing, you don’t want them to come back a month from now when maybe they’re ready to buy and everything looks exactly the same and nothing’s like standing out to them necessarily, because you’re not enticing them or guiding them or intriguing them in any way.

Anna Samsonova 35:12
Absolutely. I think the layout of things to the organization, the filters, when you’re building your website, again, go to other websites that you love, where you feel it’s easy to shop, even if it’s not jewelry. Nordstrom, if you shop at Nordstrom all the time, do you like that they have, the cart up in this area, and the filter by this and that, making that apply to jewelry, as well. Very much helps. Same with social media, too. Like we talked about Later, you can lay out and see how things will look as you post. So, finding an aesthetic of all of my pictures are dark, because I’ve been to Japan and it’s a little bit more velvet and that’s the mood that you’re setting. Or I have bright, crisp white background, blush tones, always in the pictures, or having a layout, it goes in threes. So, is that an alternating layout? Is it three in three? Just having that presentation goes more, you’re absolutely right, more than just in store. That’s exactly what branding is. If you go to Target into the store, and if you go to Target online, and if you go to Target on Instagram, you still know that its target.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 36:43
Absolutely, yes. True.

Anna Samsonova 36:47
That’s exactly what you need to be creating, is that consistent brand message.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 36:52
Totally. One hack that I like to tell clients or even people I just talked to in the industry who have smaller businesses, they don’t have an E commerce team, they don’t have 1000s, or millions of dollars to spend on E commerce. Here’s a hack, go to tiffany.com. Go to davidyurman.com, or Nordstrom, like you said, those brands are doing the testing. They have E commerce teams; they’re spending lots of money on E commerce. So, if they’re doing something on their website, it’s probably working and it’s probably a best practice. So, like even just borrowing some of those features. You’re almost like reaping the benefits of all the work that they’ve done and then applying it to your own brand.

Anna Samsonova 37:40
Yeah, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You have to get for yourself.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 37:45
Yeah, and you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel. Because these things are best practices, for a reason consumers are used to seeing the live chat in the bottom right corner, or like the customer service information in the footer. It’s just habit. So, you actually don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

Anna Samsonova 38:02
Absolutely. The cart on the top right. Yeah.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 38:07
Totally. So, what are some mistakes that you commonly see in merchandising, so that our listeners can avoid making them?

Anna Samsonova 38:18
I don’t want to call it a mistake, but an adjustment that you have to make. It’s not about you. It’s about your clients. We are in the industry because we love jewelry and it’s so hard to get carried away and say, oh my gosh, I love this color. So, everything is going to be this color. Or like I only wear yellow gold jewelry. So, that’s what I’m going to be making or I love heart shapes, I’m only going to sell heart shapes. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely room for having a niche and having a certain aesthetic and design, you should have that. It’s a little bit of a different answer for a designer, and someone with a store. When you’re designing, you’re probably designing the things that you love. That’s where the ideas are coming from. But you also have to think about your sales because you’re not designing them for yourself to wear, you’re designing them for everyone else to wear. So, you might have one size finger but the people, your demographic, the people in your area or wherever your sales are going to have different sizes or you might want to wear it on your pinky finger, but someone else might want to wear it on their middle finger. So, again, that test group of ladies and hearing different perspective and answers is really important and even more importantly, in a retail location. Knowing your customer base, and choosing the right thing for your customer versus what you love is different.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 40:09
Absolutely. Tracy Matthews, who was a past guest on this podcast, she recently came out with a book called, The Desired Brand Effect and she talks a lot about that. Like transitioning your mindset out of just the things you want to create, and then actually thinking about what the customer wants. It really is, oh, about the customer. Actually, in the intro to this podcast, I was talking a little bit about the Metail economy, which is just a silly word that refers to consumers being so empowered today, they have everything they could ever want at their fingertips, if they want a piece of jewelry, there’s no shortage in the marketplace of what they want, and how to find it. So, you just making things on a whim or for yourself or whatever, and not thinking about what that customer wants is like a big, missed opportunity, I think.

Anna Samsonova 41:09
You have to think about what you want. You have to have those sub passion projects, so to speak, to keep your brain flowing, and the artist in you alive, because otherwise you’ll get burned out and doing all of the things for the customer. So, definitely set aside time for yourself in those passion projects. But then going back to one of the first questions, you have to focus on the original sales, analytics, and your demographic and target customer, and what they will be buying. At the end of the day, we’re there to make money.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 41:49
Yeah. I mean, if you want to just make fun things for yourself, that’s one thing. But if you want to have a business, that’s a whole other situation.

Anna Samsonova 41:59
Yeah, absolutely.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 42:01
Well, Anna, this has been so fun. I learned so much. I hope my listeners also learned a lot about merchandising, do you have any final thoughts you want to share? Are there any fun projects you’re working on? Or things you’d like the listener to know?

Anna Samsonova 42:16
Yeah, I love all of this. Our short little conversation today is just scratching the surface. I said it before, but a lot of my answers are so vague, because it really depends on you and your brand and what you’re doing, so honing in, sure there’s the basics of have an inventory, have a sales sheet, have a customer tracking system. But when it comes down to pass the nitty gritties, it really depends on you and your brand. That’s why we have these wonderful brands, and there are so many great designers out there, is because each of them has a wonderful story, and something different about them. So, stick to your story. Make it consistent across all platforms, and think about your customer.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 43:17
I love that. We should make like T shirts or something. Of course, if our listeners want to get more specific and find out how all these things can apply to their brand, they can go to your website, samsonovaconsulting.com and learn more about you and reach out so that you can actually help them on an individual basis.

Anna Samsonova 43:40
Absolutely. I’m happy to have a consulting call with anyone. If it’s not me, I have been in the industry for 17 years now and there are so many wonderful people out there with different niches and focuses so, happy to recommend other people as well.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 44:01
Awesome. Thank you, Anna. It was so fun to chat today.

Anna Samsonova 44:04
Thanks.

Laryssa Wirstiuk 44:05
What did you think? If you’d like to learn more about Anna and her services, you can visit www dot samsonovaconsulting.com That’s S-A-M-S-O-N-O-V-Aconsulting.com. Or find her on Instagram at Samsonova consulting. Do you have any questions or feedback for me? You can always email me Laryssa. That’s L-A-R-Y-S-S-A @joyjoya.com. If you love this podcast, please share it with a friend who’d appreciate it. Don’t forget to subscribe as well as leave a review on iTunes. To purchase a signed copy of my book Jewelry Marketing Joy. Visit joyjoya.com/book for more information. Thanks for listening. Remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode. For more information about marketing services for your jewelry brand Visit joyjoya.com where you can download our free e-book, Proven Conversion Strategies for E commerce Jewelry Retailers.