Zales wants to spotlight up-and-coming fine-jewelry designers with its first Designer Spotlight Program.
“We’re looking for people with vision, passion and a point of view and to bring diversity into the jewelry business. We use the term ‘mavericks,'” said Jamie Singleton, president of Zales, Kay Jewelers and Peoples, which are divisions of Signet Jewelers Ltd.
“Our goal is to find up-and-coming designers and give them a platform within Zales. When COVID-19 hit, stores closed and small businesses began really struggling. As a leader in diamond and fashion jewelry, this is the time for Zales to come forward. We can help bring new life to these designers with a platform to set them up to be successful.”
Singleton said the plan is to select three to five designers to launch on zales.com. “We are looking for diversity, and having a population of designers that reflects our customer base. We are very focused on that.”
The winning designers will be showcased from mid-September through the holiday season, and possibly into next year, depending on the response to their jewelry. There will be a landing page with information on the designers who will be supported by digital marketing, e-mail and social media.
“We’re looking for vision and for ideas that are new and fresh and take fashion jewelry to the next level,” said Singleton.
There’s also a mentoring side to the program. “The designers need to understand how to take their art and designs and make it salable. It’s scale where our merchants can really work with them and help them understand how small concepts can become big ideas.”
Asked if any of the winners could become permanent suppliers to Zales, Singleton said, “That’s the goal. We are looking for people who can be part of our Zales family of designers going forward. With something like this you never know. You may find the next Vera Wang.”

Jamie Singleton 

Entry information for the Zales Designer Spotlight is on zales.com, “Designer Spotlight Entry.” Applications are being accepted through Aug. 4 and will be judged by a diverse group of Zales merchants, marketers and field executives.

Applicants are being asked to share their portfolio and a short story that describes experiences that have inspired their designs. They are also required to validate original sources of precious metals, gemstones and diamonds and verify manufacturers or producers.

“The pandemic is challenging all businesses — especially emerging fine-jewelry designers with incredible talent,” said Singleton. “With our Designer Spotlight Program, we want to give them an opportunity to grow their business using our successful zales.com digital platform as their launching pad. We believe our Zales brand is the perfect fit for this initiative because the Zales customer tends to be a bold statement maker who plays with style and craves new finds to create their look.”

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