NEW YORK — After nine years in business, designer jewelry brand Slane & Slane has appointed Marion Davidson as its first president and chief operating officer, effective May 10.
Davidson will oversee all business operations and “create a road map for the brand,” she said in an exclusive interview at Slane & Slane’s offices here. Most recently, Davidson was senior vice president of marketing for Montblanc. There she developed the brand’s profile as well as wholesale, retail and corporate sales. She also held senior marketing posts at Hermès USA and Tiffany & Co.
Until Davidson’s appointment, sisters and co-owners Landon and Heath Slane were responsible for all matters of operation and design. “Having been running the business for the last few years, I’ve had to worry about payroll and sales and production and then, oh yeah, I have to create something,” said Landon Slane during the interview.
Coming to the firm with a strong marketing background, Davidson is primarily concerned with raising the profile of the Slane & Slane brand.
“I come from the Tiffany school of branding, so it [branding] is everything. But the product has to be good, there’s no question,” said Davidson. However, rather than develop an advertising campaign like David Yurman has, she will build up wholesale distribution to help establish the brand, particularly department store accounts. As of now, the company is only carried at independent jewelers such as Mann’s Jewelers in Rochester, N.Y., and Hamilton Jewelers in Red Bank, N.J.
“We’re very underdistributed,” said Slane. “Now we’re realizing that in the areas we’re not covered, the department stores are the best venue for us.”
The firm, which market sources estimate generates $2 million in wholesale volume annually, was established in 1995 by the two sisters living on opposite coasts. Nearly two years ago they shut both their retail salons in Los Angeles and New York to focus on wholesale. Since then, the company has had no Manhattan distribution.
While the jewelry would sit comfortably alongside Yurman and Lagos, Slane explained her initial hesitation to go after department store clients. “We had so many people warning us, ‘If you’re not completely in there working it, you’re going to get eaten alive.’ And then you’re thrown next to David Yurman and John Hardy, and it’s, like, Slane and who?” she said, circling back to the problem of lack of branding.
In the coming weeks, Slane & Slane will move its sixth-floor showroom at 48 West 25th Street one flight up. In the process it will gain 800 square feet.
“This has been a great spot for us to land for the two years after the store,” Slane said of her current space. “But now we’ve found a more permanent home that can really support us.”