This year’s Design Atelier is full of gems.
Marla Aaron’s Vending Machine Moves to Manhattan
After stints at a Brooklyn museum and hotel, the creative selling concept has made a move to its first traditional retail set-up.
New York—Marla Aaron’s fine jewelry-dispensing vending machine may have been born in Brooklyn, but now it’s graduated to Manhattan.
This month, the machine, which carries a curated assortment of Aaron’s lock pendant necklaces and bracelets, opened up for business at handbag boutique MZ Wallace’s SoHo location.
It’s the first time the machine has set up shop not only in New York City’s most bustling borough, but also in a traditional retail store. It debuted in December 2017 at the Brooklyn Museum and in July 2018 moved to the William Vale Hotel, where, like all fine jewelry touchpoints physical or otherwise, it had to face the reality of jewelry theft.
Overall, the vending machine concept, which Aaron has been continuously adjusting to optimize the experience, has proved to be successful with consumers so far.
“We have learned so much about our customers—about how they engage with the machine and how they engage with the interactive feature—and we keep tweaking the experience,” Aaron told National Jeweler.
“The most important thing we have learned though is our customers are happy to buy our jewelry that they know and love from our machine and that new customers are curious enough to learn more about us because of a nice encounter with our machine.”
The concept now will have the added benefit of encountering customers who are already shopping for accessories in the form of MZ Wallace’s handbags and totes. And with styles starting at $130 for a sterling silver lock, less than the price of an average MZ Wallace tote, a Marla Aaron piece is an easy buy, though the machine’s year-plus journey has shown that customers are willing to spend more; the $644 14-karat gold baby-lock on a fine square-link gold chain is the best-seller and the most expensive piece currently in the machine is $1,739.
Aaron selected the specific jewels to be sold inside the machine during its latest iteration with the help of Wallace co-founder Lucy Wallace Eustice.
The machine will reside in the store located at 93 Crosby Street through Feb. 24.
Aaron said that more machines are in the works and ultimately, “Our goal is to be in all of these types of environments and others.”
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