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DALLAS — Amazon.com has boosted the fashion quotient of its jewelry inventory with a new storefront by the Ylang-Ylang boutique offering such trendy collections as Me & Ro and Ten Thousand Things.
The deal brings hip new styles to the Web’s largest retailer and provides Ylang-Ylang, based here at the Dallas Galleria mall, with a second e-commerce outlet.
Jewelry and watches are the fastest-growing category of goods sold online, swelling 56 percent last year to $1.3 billion, according to ComScore Networks, a research firm in Chicago.
Ylang-Ylang, located in a sleek 560-square-foot shop next to Cartier at the Galleria, rang up more than $4 million in sales last year, including $800,000 from its own Web site, ylang-ylang.com.
“Amazon wanted hot designer lines, so over a year ago, they started looking on the Web to see who was carrying them and the roads led to us,” explained Joanne Teichman, who owns and operates Ylang-Ylang with her husband, Charles. “They came to us and asked us to have a store.”
“One of our key interests is having a selection that suits every taste, and Ylang-Ylang provides a wonderful selection,” commented Gianna Curran, merchandise product manager at Amazon.
Ylang-Ylang has posted more than 1,000 styles from more than a dozen collections in its Amazon store, featuring sterling, gold, semiprecious and diamond jewelry. Prices span from a $55 Me & Ro sterling pendant with a Sanskrit inscription to a $26,000 private label Ascher-cut diamond tennis bracelet. The Amazon inventory is nearly identical to Ylang-Ylang’s Galleria store and Web site, with the notable exception of Cathy Waterman’s collection.
“We withheld Waterman in the first phase,” Teichman explained. “We talked about it; she doesn’t need the business and her things are very expensive.”
Teichman said she couldn’t predict sales via the Amazon store, which has gotten the strongest response to Me & Ro, Mizuki, Ten Thousand Things and Dana Kellin since it opened in late January.
But she expects it to follow a similar trajectory to Ylang-Ylang’s own two-year-old transactional Web site.
“We were not selling hugely expensive things at first on the Web until there was a confidence level,” she said. “It is just a matter of building that business.”
Other brands within Ylang-Ylang’s Amazon store include Jude Frances, Shaesby, Jeanine Payer, Gurhan, Aurora Lopez Mejia, Barry Kronen, Renee Garvey, Jane Diaz, Annette Ferdinandsen and Jane Nicolais.
“The beautiful thing about it is that Amazon is a platform to an incredible customer base, but as far as the customer is concerned, they get Ylang-Ylang service,” Teichman said. “We wrap it and track it and ship it.”
Amazon.com, which claims to have nearly 47 million active customers, has been on a roll with jewelry. Last month it announced that December jewelry sales increased more than 120 percent against the previous year, with triple-digit growth continuing in 2005. Fashion styles by Paris Hilton have been bestsellers as well as diamonds, pearls and heart-motif fine jewelry.
The site has jewelry storefronts for Fortunoff, Ross-Simon, Littman Jewelers, Ice.com and Luxuria Fine Jewelry in addition to a broad selection of costume and fine jewelry and watches from Amazon’s own collection and various third parties.
Curran declined to reveal jewelry sales or to disclose whether jewelry is the fastest-growing category on Amazon.com.