Net Profits: Making Wedding Rings for Same Sex Couples
If you make rings, you probably see a sales spike this time of year. According to one survey, December is the most popular month to propose. A more recent survey reveals Christmas Eve is the most popular proposal day, followed by Valentine’s Day, and Christmas Day.
This year, a whole new set of same-sex couples will be proposing. Many have already tied the knot since individual states began legalizing same-sex marriage. Since the SCOTUS ruling in June, we can expect to see even more.
If you make wedding rings, you might be wondering how to appeal to this burgeoning market. What kind of rings are LGBT couples looking for?
Todd Reed once told me his primary customers for the first two decades were “55- to 75-year-old women and gay men.” Over the past decade, as he became a more recognizable brand, his base expanded to include younger forward-thinkers. But if you look at his rings – that asymmetrical design using raw diamonds for texture more than sparkle – you can see why it might appeal to progressive, design-conscious forward thinkers.
NYC designer Rony Tennenbaum caters specifically to the LGBT market. His top-selling wedding line, Tie the Knot, doesn’t look a bit like our conventional idea of a wedding ring. Designed as a nautical knot with tiny diamond accents around one side and no center stone, they look more Celtic than classic and retail for $1,250, what he finds is the “sweet spot” for his jewelry.
His top-selling diamond solitaire among lesbian customers, on the other hand, is the Bricks collection, with a raised brick-like pattern and embedded, princess-cut stones. It looks like an engagement ring all right, yet is modern, individualistic, less frilly and fragile than the classic diamond solitaire.
Brick evolved from requests Tennenbaum heard from lesbian customers when he ran his store in SoHo. “They were asking for something different, something rugged and durable,” he says. “They love that it’s not that traditional and that it evolved from thinking outside the box.”
If you plan to establish this market as an integral part of your brand, check out Tennenbaum’s website for inspiration. Thumbnail black-and-white images of same-sex couples are scattered among the images of his jewelry. Scroll over these lifestyle shots and descriptions of his jewelry pop up.
But you don’t need to go that far. It’s quite possible you already have something in your ring lines that will appeal to same-sex couples. It’s just a matter of letting the community know you’re around. You can do this easily on your business Facebook page or your website. If you want to be more proactive, contact local LGBT groups and offer to put on a trunk show.
CATHLEEN MCCARTHY is a freelance writer whose stories about jewelry, art, and business appear in dozens of magazines and newspapers, and her own site, The Jewelry Loupe. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
NET PROFITS is a regular feature about using the Internet for jewelry selling of special interest to those with a home-based jewelry business that appears in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Learn more in “Get Ready for Proposal Season.”