24 Apr I Can’t Price Match QVC – And I Don’t Want To: Here’s Why
So let me tell you a story that happens about once a month. A customer will come in with a picture they’ve printed out from the internet. They have a cunning plan: they’re going to have me – one of Oklahoma City’s most experienced custom jewelers – make them the same exact jewelry or ring they’ve found online. Sometimes it’s a pendant or bracelet, but most often it’s a ring.
I’m here to make my customers happy, so we begin talking about making that particular piece of custom jewelry the way the customer wants it. There will be some conversation about the types of metal to be used, and what gemstones, and sooner or later the big question comes up: the customer wants to know what this piece of custom jewelry will cost.
Sometimes my answer is met with pleasant surprise. But there is also the customer who reacts with sticker shock: they expected the price to be comparable, or even less, than what they found online. Here’s why that doesn’t happen:
Mass Market vs. Custom Jewelry
A lot of the jewelry found online, as well as what you’ll find on home shopping channels, is mass produced. This means that each design is made in quantity – sometimes there are hundreds of thousands of a design in existence. Custom jewelry, on the other hand, is completely unique. Each piece is individually designed and hand-crafted. Lookalike pieces of custom jewelry are still individually engineered for fit and customer preferences.
A close inspection of the jewelry found online often reveals significant quality issues. To keep production costs low and profit margins high, production jewelers have been known to use old molds that blur design details and introduce unwanted lines into the item. Custom jewelry, on the other hand, is crafted to the highest possible standard. Each piece has its own unique CAD design, wax mock up and unique mold. The results look exceptionally better, but yes, sometimes they cost a little more.
Bad Design is Really, Really Expensive
Cheap online jewelry can come with some hidden costs built in. Poor jewelry design is the number one cause of lost diamonds and gemstones. Add to that the heartbreak that comes with having an engagement ring or other sentimental piece of jewelry fail due to a flaw in the manufacturing, and you can wind up paying far more than you ever intended to. Custom jewelry costs may appear to be higher up front, but you’re guaranteed to get a well-built piece of jewelry that will last for generations.
When you buy a piece of jewelry online or from a home shopping channel, you’re dealing with someone far away. If there’s a problem or concern, you’ll be routed through a customer service department, which may or may not be totally unconnected to the manufacturer of your jewelry. Layers of bureaucracy are built into the relationship, which makes holding jewelry brands accountable for the quality of their products difficult. When you choose to have a custom piece of jewelry made for you, the experience is very different. I live and work in Oklahoma City – my customers are people I can run into on any given day. Can you imagine how uncomfortable life would be if they weren’t pleased with the jewelry I made for them? The experience of lived accountability strengthens my commitment to provide every customer with the very best design and craftsmanship possible. That’s a promise you just can’t find online!