Accessories Firms Adapt to the Times

Consumers "want bang for their buck" as well as quality.

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Lily Pulitzer Bangles

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Amrita Singh Turquoise Earrings

Photo By Courtesy Photo

A new accessories customer has emerged, molded by the recession, fast fashion and Internet shopping.

As a result, there is renewed focus by brands on costume jewelry, as well as lower-price handbags, eyewear and other products.

Accessories vendors and retailers attending the New York trade shows this month said conditions had compelled them to target costs, but not at the expense of quality and value.


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Consumers “want bang for their buck,” jewelry designer Amrita Singh said.

She has tried to deliver by boosting her costume jewelry line, which had been a small tangent to her fine jewelry collection. The costume jewelry is priced from $50 to $200 and sales have risen even as her volume in fine jewelry “dropped down a bit,” Singh said, citing the “mental and emotional level where people feel guilty buying fine jewelry.”

The evolution in buying has worked to the advantage of The Sak Group, which has six handbag brands, including The Sak and Elliott Lucca, selling at retail price points of less than $250, said Mark Talucci, co-founder and chief executive officer.

“A lot of consumers are looking beyond the label,” he said. “They’re getting smarter with the Internet through comparison shopping. Everyone’s feeling pinched financially, and value is a much more compelling feature.”

Reduced price points can expand a label’s reach beyond its traditional customer.

Janie Schoenborn, fashion director of Lilly Pulitzer, said the brand’s $118 Murfee scarf is “a great entry into the brand. If a new customer doesn’t want to commit to a fully printed dress or garment, at $118, the scarf is an opportunity for them to get their toes wet.” Accessories priced between $88 and $128 are strong sellers, she added.



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