Jennifer Fisher is going back and burnishing her jewelry business’ foundation, going live today with the first major overhaul of the eight-year-old company’s e-commerce site.
The designer’s new online home at jenniferfisherjewelry.com will carry the fine jewelry she started quietly designing in the 2005 as well as her contemporary brass line that launched in 2011.
“I started the business as direct to consumer, [and most companies] start the other way,” said Fisher. “It wasn’t being done this way. I don’t sell my fine jewelry through retailers. We’ve always flown under the radar because we never had our name on a case. People had to seek it out, it was sort of underground; we really only sold on the Web site.”
Designed by Calliope Studios, with images shot by Kenneth Cappello, the site is more user-friendly, with a build-your-own necklace section that personalizes the designer’s best-selling charm necklaces. Social media has also been integrated into the site — instead of a blog, Fisher has opted to populate a portion of the site with her Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram posts in real time.
Until about two years ago, Fisher relied on word of mouth, magazine placements and celebrity customers for marketing. But it’s been support from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (she was named a finalist in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition in 2012) and a two-year retail partnership with Barneys New York that have catapulted Fisher’s vision into an approximately $10 million dollar business, according to industry experts.
Fisher said direct-to-consumer sales make up about 90 percent of the firm’s overall sales, which have more than doubled year-over-year. Sales next year are projected to rise 60 to 70 percent.
Fine jewelry makes up 80 percent of sales. The opening price point is $250 for a small charm, but can go as high as $20,000. Fine-jewelry orders online average $3,500.
A series of different-sized gold bangles with burnished diamond dates, equations, words or initials are starting to become a driver of sales for Fisher. A thin version starts at $3,800 (and goes up to about $5,000 once diamond letters are engraved) and a thicker style starts at $6,000.
Fisher wholesales her brass, gold-plated contemporary line to approximately 50 doors worldwide, including all Barneys stores as well as Holt Renfrew in Canada, Lane Crawford and Barneys Japan. Net-a-porter is set to begin carrying the designer’s brass range next year. The sweet spot for retail prices is $350, including charm necklaces, rings and cuffs.
“With this type of business model, it’s hard to get the support because you aren’t doing it the way everyone else does it,” Fisher said. “It’s hard to get industry support and get your name out there. With fine jewelry, women like to see it in the store. It’s really important for marketing, and if you don’t have the piece of the puzzle, it’s really difficult. That’s why we work so hard with celebrity [placements].”
Fisher expects the Web site to be a significant driver of sales in 2014 and is also planning a New York City store next year.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast