Setting Up Shop
Located in Leesburg, VA, White & Ivory has been called the hidden gem of the historic town in which it resides, at the center of the most affluent county in the US. White & Ivory has been helping customers find just the right diamond, fine jewelry, watch, writing instrument, or corporate gift since 2004 in their current location.
Their jewelry business actually sprang from a showcase of pearl strands in a bridal shop that the owner used to run in the late 1990’s. In 1996, the first set of pieces was launched in a small store in Silver Spring, Maryland, as the transition from bridal gowns to designer jewelry was made. With a steady growth in business and the family’s move to northern Virginia, the current store was opened in August 2004. White & Ivory set out to be a boutique shop catering to the sale of diamonds and fine jewelry. It marketed to customers looking for upscale, designer, luxury pieces without having to travel or go into high-end department or designer branded jewelry stores. The store also embarked on a campaign to introduce some of the finest jewelry designers to Leesburg and Loudoun County.
Come One, Come All
White & Ivory’s customer base varies widely in age and demographics, from those with a small budget to those with a seemingly limitless budget. The staff enjoys helping children buying gifts for their teachers as well as professional athletes finding that perfect anniversary gift for their wives. Customers range in age from young self-purchasers, to well-established members of the community looking for an important or milestone gift. White & Ivory continues to build relationships with their customers, resulting in repeat trips to the store on any and every occasion. They value these relationships and are always investing in ways to strengthen their services and commitment to the community.
The Difference is in the Details
White & Ivory offers services like a personalized diamond search, appraisal services (by a certified graduate gemologist for insurance purposes), gift-wrapping services, jewelry repair, custom jewelry design, corporate giftware program and shipping services. The inviting, elegant store includes a playroom where children can have fun while their parents shop and girls can try on “dress-up” rings.
White & Ivory advertises nationally, including in the women’s fashion magazines and partners with the designers in marketing campaigns to promote the jewelry pieces, but a majority of the business comes mainly through referrals. They have also been fortunate to partner with many non-profit organizations in promoting their cause through donations for charity auctions and for gifts for special occasions.
White & Ivory’s customers are looking for a wide array of items on any given day: from engagement rings to one of a kind diamond pieces, their unique customer base creates a true cross-section of needs in terms of product offerings.
2011 in Review
White & Ivory reports that 2011 has been slower than previous years. During the downturn in the economy in recent years, they were not noticeably impacted in their sales until this year. A decline of national advertisements, especially by the majority of designers that they carry, may have attributed to the reduced revenue and sales this year. Additionally, with a strong IT industry in their backyard, they feel that potential shoppers are looking and shopping online for their purchases instead of coming in to their store. As always, they hope that the holiday season will spur on more sales, but they do not anticipate that it will make up for the slower sales during the earlier quarters.
Already carrying many of the Prestige Promenade member brands in store, White & Ivory joined PPOM for 2 main reasons: The first is that the PPOM initiative allows retailers to better market the designers that they carry. The turnkey brand showrooms enable a retailer to display the collections online as if we had the pieces in the store, giving better credibility to the White & Ivory brand as an authorized retailer for the luxury designers. Second, PPOM links retailers to inventory in a way that better promotes the pieces.
White & Ivory recognized the importance of a strong web presence and deemed it as an investment in the future of their business. They felt that the PPOM provided not only the updated look and feel of a high-end, luxury retailer website, but also allowed for a heightened level of capabilities, from strong imagery to additional inventory availability. This allows for better engagement between the Prestige Promenade member brands they carry and their clientele, thus setting the stage for stronger sales.
Looking Ahead to 2012
White and Ivory is committed to growing their existing business in an organic manner. They plan to continue their strategic partnerships with the designer brands that they carry. Their intent: to bring their clients the most innovative and beautiful fine jewelry available on the market. As has always been the case, they will not sell or promote anything that they, themselves, would not own or wear.