Sunday, August 10, 2008

Knock it Off, Naomi


There was an article posted recently at DallasNews.com about jewelry designer, Naomi Pevsner, whose Legacy by Naomi collection is a relatively recent addition to QVC's sterling designer line up.

And I didn't appreciate the tone.

Although I did find it interesting that HSN tried to get her first and she turned them down.

Check it out for yourself (copied as is from the site, but the emphasis is mine). See if you feel like a cheap, knock-off, under-appreciated customer by the end of it.

FYI to any and all designers of anything out there who want to sell their wares on a home shopping network so they can cash in on their name and make the big bucks: never, ever talk down to your home shopping customers or make them feel like they are buying shoddy, knock-off merchandise. I understand that for $99 I'm not getting a J-Lo engagement ring, but I do want to feel like I'm getting a well-designed, well-crafted piece of jewelry that I can be proud of. I hope the tone is of the writer and not Naomi.

QVC part of jewelry designer's two-pronged strategy

Dallas jewelry designer Naomi Pevsner didn't have to be driven to the Philadelphia airport from QVC studios in the Pennsylvania countryside last Tuesday. She could have walked there on clouds.

Dallas' belle of couture baubles sold out her TV offerings of less luxe, self-knockoffs in a matter of minutes and was ethereal as she headed home.

"I'm having a difficult time focusing," Ms. Pevsner gushed on her cellphone just after her early morning appearance. "The show could not have gone better."

The 49-year-old jewelry designer was part of QVC's Sterling Silver Designer Day, which also featured affordable creations from other top jewelry names who've gone grass-roots via the home shopping giant.

One of her biggest hits of the hourlong 7 a.m. show was an $84 faceted black onyx and sterling bow pendant with beaded diamonds.

Her more costly version at her jewelry boutique in Dallas is done in 18-karat white gold with larger diamonds and costs $4,500.

The show's best-seller was a 3.5-karat, champagne- colored, pear-shape quartz ring with an eighth-carat of diamonds for $120.

The most expensive ring she's designed this year was a 10-carat diamond creation in platinum and yellow gold for $135,000.

By working both ends of the price spectrum, Naomi Designs Inc. should bring in nearly $4.5 million in revenue this year; slightly more than $3 million of that will be in her fine jewelry line. QVC is providing a million-dollar-plus icing on her 24-karat cake.

Her selling stages are equally divergent.

She sells her ultra-glam versions at her new Fine Jewelry Lounge and Bauble Bar, which opened in October in Preston Center Plaza. Clients can sip martinis or chardonnay and listen to a grand piano on auto-play while they play dress-up with Naomi concoctions.

Think Jean Harlow and Hollywood.

Two years ago, Ms. Pevsner backed away from an offer from Home Shopping Network. A few months later, she accepted QVC's invitation to sell on air, but with some trepidation – she worried that she might appeal to the masses but hack off her caviar-inclined clientele.

Self-made knockoffs

But other high-profile jewelry designers had successfully gone QVC before her. And in the world of designer jewelry, instant knockoffs abound. So why not make her own?

Besides, she has no upfront costs. A company in McAllen, Texas, takes her designs, pays to have the jewelry made in Mexico, ships it to QVC and gives Ms. Pevsner a double-digit royalty on whatever is sold.

"My only risk is the cost of flying up here," says Ms. Pevsner.

Her best show netted "a million and change" in instant sales. QVC doesn't like her to talk numbers, but by my estimates, her take of that was about $170,000. Not bad for an hour's work.

She thought the two lines would appeal to different clientele.

"But it turns out that a lot of times it's the same customer," Ms. Pevsner says. "They want their husband to buy them the $5,000 piece, while they buy the $150 piece for themselves."

Tuesday's appearance was Ms. Pevsner's seventh on QVC.

"I know how much they want you to talk and what they want you to talk about. Everything clicked."


Czar connection

QVC wanted her to talk about her family's history. Her ancestors, including her great-great-grandfather, were Czar-appointed purveyors of diamonds and pearls to the Romanoff dynasty from 1850 to 1910.

"It's one reason I'm passionate about what I do," she says. "It may sound corny, but I'm the fifth generation to do what they did. I have to do that legacy proud."

The 49-year-old graduated from Hillcrest High School and earned her degree in fine arts at the University of Texas. She later studied at the Gemological Institute of America, learning the jewelry sketching and wax carving used in her design work today.

As a 12-year-old, she weighed loose diamonds for her grandfather, Bernard "Mr. B" Pevsner, a prominent Dallas gem importer.

When he died in 1989, Ms. Pevsner inherited his "business," which had one asset: his Rolodex, worth its weight in platinum. He'd jotted down snippets of personal info, along with the names of the jewelry shop owners and gem dealers he'd worked with over the decades.

She used this reconnaissance to keep them from hanging up on her cold calls.

"I'd say, 'Hey, I think you knew my grandfather, and I remember him telling me you were quite the bass fisherman' or something else to get them talking. Then they'd agree to let me send them a couple of 1-carat rounds [diamonds]."

Her business shifted into design as friends came to her for stones and the setting to put them in.

In 1997, Tootsies asked her to set up a consignment department in its store on Preston Road near Northwest Highway.

Last October, she opened her Fine Jewelry Lounge and Bauble Bar just a few doors down from it.

Ironically, the cool cash from QVC royalties enabled her to make the capital investment.

"QVC is the only time I haven't had to put money upfront," she says. "I was able to get a little ahead, which is a new concept for me."


Telegenic

Debra Puzio, director of jewelry merchandising at QVC, calls Naomi "warm, reachable and beautiful on air."

"She's obviously a woman of great style and taste, but she has this down-home quality that really connects with our customer," Ms. Puzio said.

So is her jewelry selling well? "Oh yeah," says Ms. Puzio, "she's a success."

Ms. Pevsner hopes to do six or eight more QVC shows this year. But getting those return engagements will depend on what she sells staying sold.

"QVC will take anything back. So they want your return rate to get down to 10 or 20 percent," Ms. Pevsner says. "As a new designer, you may sell out in a frenzy, but your return rate is high. Our first show was a big sell-out [about $750,000 worth], but our return rate was 38 percent."

She's chipping away at returns by reading customer feedback.

One earring was sent back because women didn't like the way it hung from their lobes. "So this time I said, 'Ladies, I want to tell you a little secret. Even though this earring comes with a 14-karat back, I wear it with one of those big plastic dime-store backs. It makes this earring sit up straight.'

"I'm betting that our return rate will be really low."

15 comments:

  1. I went to Hillcrest High School with Naomi, which is just a couple of miles from her retail store. I can tell you nothing has changed since 1977. LOL.

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  2. Well, she is decended from Czars, you know! ;-P

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  3. Naomi is horrible. She is a self proclaimed "sweetheart" and couldn't be farther from it.

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  4. That 11/5 comment is dead-on! Naomi is a despicable woman. I say this from first-hand knowledge. I can also tell you how she laughed at the idea that her couture customers can buy her QVC knockoffs for their "help" and that way everyone can "wear Naomi." Disgusting.

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  5. Excuse me? Naomi is my aunt! She is the nicest woman I know, and she is a sweetheart. If you knew her, you would love her!

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  6. Naomi is my mentor, she took me under her wing and taught me everything I know about the jewelry business and did it graciously without anything in return. You people have nothing better to do then hate on an amazing mother and woman and honestly you sicken me. Find something better to do with your miserable lives. JEALOUS.

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  7. Years ago, I bought my fiance a diamond and setting from Naomi. It was white gold, but decided a couple days later that I wanted it done in platinum. I paid over 10k for the change in setting, and when I picked up the ring, the pave stones (which covered most of the band) were of MUCH lower quality. She had the audacity to tell me they were actually "higher quality" than the ones in the original setting. It made me wonder if she swapped the solitaire too. The solitaire and the pave diamonds significantly lacked the fire that they originally had before I gave it to Naomi for the redo of the metal. I believe her Preston Rd store was shut down by the management. There was a notice on the door stating that the rent had not been paid. She is an awful person. No one could be jealous of that.

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  8. Naomi Pevsner "amazing" ???? I don't think so!!!! She's being sued all over town. This is a well known fact. You can verify this to be the truth!!!

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  9. I love all the negative anonymous comments (sarcastic). Everyone is too chicken $h!t to put there name on anything they write.

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  10. Yes, anonymously is the only way to speak out about this woman. She is vindictive beyond belief and will make life hell for those who dare to speak against her using their names. Find a friend in the Dallas Jewish community our the Dallas jewelry biz and ask them about Queen Naomi.

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If your forbidden love is home shopping and you love all the latest dirt, then come on in ... Queen Bea is holding court!

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