Ronnie VanderLinden

Ronnie VanderLinden

IDMA President

In search of value

Have you ever been to Trader Joe’s? It’s a supermarket with its very own signature, atmosphere, and product offering. When you walk in, chances are you’ll almost immediately encounter products that you’ve either never seen or are very surprised to find there.

Trader Joe is performing very well these days. A survey run by placer.ai, noted that “fueled by unique private label items at affordable prices, Trader Joe’s has seen visits increase in recent months while outpacing the grocery category as a whole.”
“[As] consumers [are] continuing to search for more value, Trader Joe’s wide selection of unique and differentiated private label products are attracting shoppers. In the most recent Axios Harris Poll 100 of America’s most visible and trusted companies, Trader Joe’s ranked fourth among the most-trusted companies in the United States.”

Trader Joe, also in difficult times, has traction in the consumer market because they have a unique selling point or USP. We need to ensure that consumers also recognize the unique USP of diamonds!

It’s currently an uphill battle that is definitely surmountable. The news items in this WINC include links to articles about De Beers’ Lightbox entering the engagement ring market with their LGDs. In an interview with JCK’s Rob Bates, industry analyst Edahn Golan noted that LGDs will capture half of the bridal jewelry sector.

For those who were unable to attend Rapaport’s Breakfast Conference in Las Vegas, go to Rapaport’s YouTube channel to watch it. At the event, Rapaport called on the industry to support small and medium-sized retailers facing increased competition from the majors and digital platforms. They are also the most likely jewelers to sell diamonds, not LGDs, because, as Rapaport noted, they maintain relationships in their communities and do not want to sell something that does not represent and retain value. “Jewelers need to know that they are important and deserve the full support of the diamond trade,” Martin said.

We all know that the Lab Grown Diamond market is here to stay. We all know that countless diamond manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers that once voiced their objections to lab-grown diamonds big and small are involved in the LGD market.
One statement Martin made and I really believe in, and have said many times during my speeches, is Martin’s call upon all of us to reach out to your retailers and ask them how you can help. I have also said many times in my numerous addresses: “We are all in this together.” In the coming months, IDMA will liaise with the Natural Diamond Council (NDC) and create a toolkit that you can use to connect your retailers to the NDC’s resources. We’ll make all this online accessible to eligible members and their retail customers.

Since the recent 40th IDMA congress, the NDC has struck alliances with a gamut of industry organizations and associations. During one of the talks held at “An Afternoon of Conversations with Industry Leaders,’ NDC’s David Kellie said these key words: “I am the only one in the room here that has no skin in the game [of selling diamonds].” The NDC, he continued, is here to help you and your retailers, but the NDC also needs your support.

That, it seems, was a watershed moment. It appears that the industry finally heard him. Let’s hope this momentum is sustainable and will have that excellent long-term traction
we need! Support/buy in from the entire industry is critical!

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