By Shawna Kulpa
Editor’s Note: From Vogue to Harpers Bazaar, fashion magazines have proclaimed layering as a timeless trend with jewelry consumers. It’s always present, though the styles change over time. Over the last year or so, the layered necklace look has seen a particular resurgence with a focus on featuring delicate and feminine pieces, allowing consumers to mix and match upward of six (or even more) chains and necklaces. For this case study on layered looks, we spoke with designer Zoë Chicco on how she markets layering to her customers and uses the style as a way to enhance sales.
Jewelry designer Zoë Chicco of Los Angeles isn’t surprised that the layered look has been trending with today’s jewelry consumers. To her, layering chains and necklaces is the ultimate way to create personalized jewelry, and she’s been doing it since she started her business nearly 20 years ago.
“Building a layered look has always been a part of our DNA,” she says. “You’re creating a story. . . .If you have four pieces, you have so many different looks. It offers so much versatility.”
Her collections have traditionally featured thin, delicate jewelry made of 14k gold, often adorned with charms, diamonds, and/or colored stones, and her designs have a minimalist aesthetic that lends itself well to layering. She keeps that idea in the back of her mind when creating each of her designs.
“I don’t necessarily design in layered looks, but I do think about the scale and how it will look paired with other necklaces, and that informs the length I choose for the piece.” She also uses layering’s versatility to satisfy various pocketbooks. “I try to hit a lot of different pricepoints in my collection,” she says.
Her business savvy extends to sales and marketing. Her company’s Instagram page is filled with images showcasing her pieces being worn in different configurations. And in addition to standard product shots, her website features images of many of her pieces being worn and paired with other pieces from her collection. “We always show things layered so you can see how pieces can be worn together,” she explains.
“We sell to department stores, and part of that process is to help educate the sales associates [on how to sell the layered look],” she adds. While some stores may be tempted to try to sell larger (and more expensive) pieces to customers only interested in purchasing one chain or necklace, Chicco encourages them to promote how multiple thinner pieces can be used to create a bigger look. “If you put several of these on together it creates a bolder look, and it’s the same price as one heavier piece,” she explains.
“Start with something simple at the top, like a solitaire, then something a little longer with a medallion or initial—ideally, all on different style chains.” —Zoë Chicco
And don’t think that the layering look is limited to dainty chains: Chicco has started incorporating larger pieces into her repertoire. “I’ve been adding some heavier pieces, and it’s fun to show clients how to work them into their layers,” she says.
Although her jewelry is now sold internationally (with celebrity clients that include Charlize Theron, Jessica Alba, and Jennifer Lawrence), Chicco isn’t one to rest on her laurels. She notes that while her necklaces have always come with extension chains, to give her customers the option of wearing it shorter or longer, she recently started selling separate extensions so that customers can alter the length of other chains they own. “We encourage them to layer with their own jewelry, too.”
If you’re interested in promoting the layered look with your customers but are unsure about mixing and matching, Chicco offers some advice based on her years of experience. “It’s a personal choice, but I like for things to get heavier as they get longer,” she says. “Start with something simple at the top, like a solitaire, then something a little longer with a medallion or initial—ideally, all on different style chains. Mix it up—you don’t want them to be too matchy.”
And don’t forget to ask your customers about the looks they’re creating with your pieces. “Seeing what customers come up with is fun!” says Chicco.