The past few months have been tough for mall-based jewelry stores around the world, giving way for digital brands, like newcomer Rowan, to break through.
In early July, Charming Charlie announced plans to close its 261 stores and filed for bankruptcy for the second time in two years. Francesca’s, which sells clothing but offers a wide range of jewelry, closed stores left and right as sales were down, while Claire’s struggled to bounce back after filing for Chapter bankruptcy 11 in March 2018.
“There is definitely an engagement problem within the category. The nature of the way people have changed their shopping just doesn’t work in favor of a mall based retailer like Claire’s or Charming Charlie, ”said Alexis DeSalva, senior research analyst at Mintel. In a recent report released by Mintel, the global market research firm found that nearly half of consumers surveyed had not purchased costume jewelry in the past year, DeSalva said, and most did. more upscale purchases to have fun. .
Even in the online space, jewelry brands have struggled in recent years as online jewelry sales have continued to decline. This has led subscription boxes like Rocksbox to focus on private label products. But as mall brands falter, opportunities have multiplied for new digitally focused brands and subscription boxes like Pura Vida’s Bracelet Club for Teens and Tweens to melt and fill in the gaps. in the market – especially as shoppers increasingly shift from shopping malls to online shopping.
Take Rowan, a new subscription earring company for tweens. In addition to offering subscription boxes, the brand is partnering with registered nurses across the country to make booking in-home ear piercings easy and safe. Rowan founder Louisa Schneider came up with the idea for the brand when she was working for a hedge fund, studying why brands like Claire’s fail. His idea was to create an ear piercing service for the digital age.
Beyond giving tweens a new ear piercing option, the brand offers a monthly subscription box. It comes with a pair of hypoallergenic earrings and a collectible postcard (created in partnership with the Red Antler design agency) each month. The card contains information on topics ranging from mental health to physical health to relationships, and is meant to fuel the conversation between parents and their tweens. The very first box also comes with an earring stand, earring pouch, journal and pen.
At this point, the earrings are not sold individually and must be purchased through the subscription service. Prices vary depending on the material (options include sterling silver, gold vermeil or solid 14k gold) and the length of the subscription, which can be three, six or 12 months. The sterling silver box, for example, costs $ 22.95 per month for three boxes, $ 21.50 per month for six, and $ 19.95 per month for 12 months.
“We don’t focus on one-time purchases, and there are a number of reasons for that. From a content standpoint, we think having boxes sent out for several months is a great way to start building better communication. Plus, most girls want multiple pairs and they like to change their earrings after having their ears pierced, ”said Louisa Schneider, founder and CEO of Rowan.
Where Claire’s and other jewelry brands like Charming Charlie have focused on bold colors and exaggerated designs, Rowan focuses on creating simple, timeless earrings that young girls will want to keep long after their teenage years.
“We have organized many focus groups and worked with many girls to understand which symbols inspire happiness and excitement, and which appeal to a very large group. There is certainly room for us to get into Rowan’s earring of the month clubs that have certain affiliations, but for now it’s more of a universal symbol, ”said Schneider.
For now, Rowan is not necessarily targeting pre-teens, but more parents, or even grandparents, who hold the purchasing power. After building brand awareness with an older demographic, Schneider said the brand would likely start thinking about more channels where it could engage with tweens, like TikTok and YouTube, and that it would work maybe -be with young influencers in the near future.
“We are currently using the classic paid social channels, talking to the buyer. But thinking about this company, I see that it is a brand that will grow culturally and ideally offer a better experience with products and education to tweens and also their adults, ”she said. declared.