Events & Awards

In Las Vegas, Signet CEO Calls for Industry Innovation

Events & AwardsJun 05, 2018

In Las Vegas, Signet CEO Calls for Industry Innovation

In a keynote breakfast speech at the JCK Las Vegas jewelry trade show Friday, Gina Drosos said Signet and the trade all need to step it up.

Signet CEO Gina Drosos delivered the keynote speech at a breakfast held Friday in Las Vegas, prior to the opening of the JCK jewelry trade show. She talked about the industry’s need for innovation and disruption.

Las Vegas--As jewelry sales continue to lag other consumer goods categories and experiences, one industry executive called for companies big and small to evolve and innovate.

At a breakfast held Friday morning before the Las Vegas jewelry trade shows opened for the day, Signet Jewelers CEO Gina Drosos delivered the keynote speech following Reed Jewelry Group Senior Vice President Yancy Weinrich’s presentation on the 2018 JCK State of the Industry Jewelry Report.

Drosos was named CEO of Signet in July 2017, replacing longtime executive Mark Light. She joined the company with plenty of experience in consumer goods and driving brand and segment growth, experience she will apply to building Signet and the jewelry industry going forward, she said Friday.

At the start of the keynote, Drosos referred to former Intel CEO Andy Grove, addressing his business stance through the title of his book: “Only the Paranoid Survive,” which talks about how Intel had to reinvent itself to stay relevant in the market.

Drosos said while she learned about the importance of leading change and identifying and leveraging inflection points in business from the book, she prefers a slightly more positive spin on the theme.

“Rather than ‘only the paranoid survive,’ I’d assert that only the innovators thrive. Because sometimes the greatest successes aren’t driven by paranoia, but by seeing game-changing opportunities and grabbing them, even if things seem to be going relatively well.”

She added that the pace of change is accelerating, and that “business as usual is insufficient, and we together must lead disruptive innovation now.”

Drosos said she has visited hundreds of Signet stores since she started to witness firsthand the buying experience across all of the company’s brands. She said one thing has become clear to her: the ability to create and sustain innovative, meaningful and powerful connections with customers will determine who succeeds and who fails.

It is through this lens that she is approaching challenges and opportunities at Signet.

She has plenty of experience doing so, specifically in her role at Proctor & Gamble where she worked to rebrand Olay skincare and the Old Spice product line for men, which she said helped her realize that innovation in one brand lifts the overall market.

“Sometimes the greatest successes aren’t driven by paranoia, but by seeing game-changing opportunities and grabbing them, even if things seem to be going relatively well.” -- Gina Drosos, Signet CEO
Despite the
general retail woes and the industry’s challenges with online competition, the jewelry category hasn’t been affected to the same extent as books, electronics and household  supplies, Drosos contended.

Total jewelry sales in the U.S. topped $90 billion last year. And, as the 2018 JCK State of the Industry Jewelry Report shows, 88 percent of the industry is very or somewhat optimistic about business over next 12 months.

This robust position provides a window of opportunity, she said.

Half of the JCK report survey-takers cited online completion as the main struggle for their businesses, and Drosos said now is the time to get ahead of the challenges by disrupting the industry and how it responds to consumers’ meaningful life moments.

“For an industry that is rooted in marking such moments, how can we change our approach?”

While the industry is winning Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day for gifting, there’s stiff competition for the rest of the year, she said, adding that jewelry is one of four top items people like to get as gifts but trails experiences such as dining out and trips, as well as clothing/shoes.

So, how does the industry make jewelry the top overall gifting category? First, stop expending all its energy fighting to win the holidays, Drosos said.

“If we’re laser-focused only on six weeks of the year, that means we’re not putting enough effort into the other 46,” she said. “That’s almost 90 percent of the available time.”

Also, for most of the year, companies depend on a “pretty low frequency” event, engagements and weddings, yet only about 25 percent of annual industry sales comes from engagement rings and wedding bands.

Expanding sales means winning more moments like birthdays and graduations, and getting to know customers personally so the industry is involved in their individual life events and remains relevant year-round.

She said Signet, as the category leader, “is committed to taking bold, innovative, transformational steps that will not only bring Signet forward but will bring all forward to put jewelry at the forefront of our customers’ minds for many more occasions.”
“If we’re laser-focused only on six weeks of the year, that means we’re not putting enough effort into the other 46. That’s almost 90 percent of the available time.”  -- Gina Drosos, Signet CEO
Part of increasing growing business and consumer trust in jewelers is also understanding the changing demographics and adapting to them to create new opportunities, Drosos said.

The U.S. Census predicts that by 2045, the percentage of white Americans will dip below 50 percent of the population for the first time. Hispanics will make up almost 25 percent, African- Americans will represent 13 percent and Asian-Americans will grow to 8 percent.

People of Hispanic ethnicities have driven about half of U.S. population growth since the beginning of the 21st century, have $1.7 trillion in purchasing power, buy fine jewelry more often than the average customer and are more likely to have purchased jewelry without a specific occasion or reward in mind.

“What are we doing as an industry to ensure our stores, our products and our people genuinely reflect Hispanic culture and language?” Drosos asked.

What comprises a “traditional” family also is changing; to wit, 40 percent of engaged couples engaged already have children, and same-sex couples are getting married in greater numbers and their buying power is reaching $1 trillion, rivaling the disposable income of other American minority groups.

But even as some consumer habits are changing, some remain the same, Drosos said.

While 40 percent of consumers start their buying process online, 90 percent of engagement ring purchases are still made in store, and Drosos said she feels confident  physical stores will remain important in the future.

As retailers put more focus on the experience, social media is a big part of that, as the JCK industry report showed that almost half of survey-takers indicated the medium was a key strategy in fighting online competition.

Signet is looking at ways to bring technology into the store to “create store experiences that people will line up for outside our doors,” Drosos said.

They’re creating a digital vault of inventory photographed in 360 degrees at 40 times magnification. The company also acquired R2Net, the owner of online retailer, in the fall, and is exploring bringing augmented reality and virtual reality into the purchasing process.

In a brief question-and-answer session at the end of the speech, Drosos mentioned Signet’s “Path to Brilliance” turnaround plan, which she said focuses on streamlining the omnichannel experience. She also mentioned the retailer would be launching online appointment booking.

She wrapped up the keynote by making a pledge that she will lead Signet on a path of “groundbreaking transformation and disruptive category-building innovation” and asked the crowd to do one thing: “Take a few minutes and think about what your ideal state is for our industry, and how you can innovate and help to take us there.”
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

Elton John’s leopard print Rolex Daytona watch
AuctionsFeb 22, 2024
Elton John’s Leopard-Print Rolex Roars at Auction

Two Cartier watches also topped their estimates at Christie’s “The Collection of Sir Elton John: Goodbye Peachtree Road” evening sale.

Buccellati header
TrendsFeb 22, 2024
Buccellati to Open ‘Prince of Goldsmiths’ Exhibition

Set to be held in Venice, it’s a look through the maison’s history.

813-carat “Constellation” diamond in rough form
SourcingFeb 22, 2024
Lucara, HB Group Partnership Revived

It is another 10-year sales agreement in which all the larger rough recovered from the Karowe mine will go to HB Group for manufacturing.

GIA id100
Brought to you by
Full Disclosure at Your Fingertips

Distinguishing natural diamonds from laboratory-grown stones – now more available than ever – has been difficult for jewelers. Until now.

Sebastian Clarke and Katherine van Dell of Heritage Auctions
AuctionsFeb 22, 2024
Heritage Auctions Adds 2 New Hires to West Palm Beach Office

Sebastian Clarke and Katherine van Dell, frequent appraisers on “Antiques Roadshow,” will join the new office.

Weekly QuizFeb 22, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge with this short test.
Take the Quiz
National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsFeb 21, 2024
On Data: January Was a ‘Mixed Bag’ for Independent Jewelers

Sherry Smith dishes on the month’s highs and lows and the two categories consumers were loving ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Stock image of diamonds
GradingFeb 21, 2024
GIA’s Same-Day Service Now Available Everywhere

The new service, introduced to stem fraud related to lab-grown diamonds, will be offered at no cost for the time being.

flashforge pic.png
Brought to you by
WaxJet: Revolution in Jewelry Manufacturing

The WaxJet 400, recognized as the world's fastest wax printer, is bringing in a new era of precision and efficiency to industry.

Jam + Rico Claire’s jewelry
CollectionsFeb 21, 2024
Jam + Rico Debuts Second Claire’s Collection

Founder Lisette Scott was inspired by the intricacy, colors, and symbolism of African art and architecture.

Rapaport logo
SourcingFeb 21, 2024
Rapaport to Hold Another Natural Pearl Auction

Viewings start this week in New York and bidding will close on March 8.

National Jeweler columnist Peter Smith
ColumnistsFeb 20, 2024
Squirrel Spotting: Life After Rolex

Peter Smith shares advice from independent jewelers who used losing this cornerstone brand as a catalyst for reinvention.

Neile Adams McQueen and Steve McQueen
AuctionsFeb 20, 2024
Jewels from Neile Adams McQueen Shine at Bonhams

All 13 lots belonging to the actress and first wife of Steve McQueen sold at the recent “California Jewels” sale.

Mary Ball Gorman of Henry B. Ball Jewelers
IndependentsFeb 16, 2024
Mary Ball Gorman of Henry B. Ball Jewelers Dies at 99

Gorman was an industry trailblazer, serving as the first female treasurer of Jewelers of America.

Jade Ruzzo gold and diamond Tennessee Torque necklace
CollectionsFeb 16, 2024
Piece of the Week: Jade Ruzzo’s Tribute to Tennessee

The movement of the 18-karat gold and diamond “Tennessee Torque” necklace is subtle.

Jared Goff and Claudia Cividino
MajorsFeb 15, 2024
Detroit Lions’ QB Jared Goff Going to Jared

Goff, whose fans hold up “He Went to Jared” signs at games, has signed a partnership with the retailer.

De Beers Venetia diamond mine
SourcingFeb 15, 2024
De Beers’ Production Down 8% in 2023

The company recovered 31.9 million carats of diamonds in 2023, compared with 34.6 million in 2022.

Gina D’Onofrio Heritage Auctions
AuctionsFeb 15, 2024
Heritage Auctions Names New Co-Director of Fine Jewelry

Industry veteran Gina D’Onofrio has rejoined the auction house.

A selection of engagement rings
TrendsFeb 14, 2024
5 Engagement Ring Trends for 2024

From three-stone rings to fancy shapes, experts weigh in on what consumers could be looking for this year.

Boucheron Power of Couture
CollectionsFeb 14, 2024
Boucheron’s New High Jewelry Collection Pays Homage to Ceremony, History

“Power of Couture” recalls Frédéric Boucheron’s love of fabric using diamonds and rock crystal.

Rough diamonds from Gahcho Kue diamond mine
SourcingFeb 14, 2024
De Beers’ Rough Diamond Sales Improve Slightly

The diamond miner and marketer said “solid” holiday sales in the U.S. helped stabilize the industry.

Jonker I Diamonds
SourcingFeb 14, 2024
‘100 Carats’ Exhibition Opens at LA Museum

A new display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County features dozens of gemstones each weighing 100 carats or more.

Grand Seiko New York City flagship
WatchesFeb 14, 2024
See Inside Grand Seiko’s New NYC Flagship

Located on Madison Avenue, the store is its largest in the world.

GIA logo
GradingFeb 14, 2024
GIA Offering Discounts on Jade Reports

The 20 percent off promotion will run through March 31.

KIL Promotions NYC Spring Jewelry and Object Show
Events & AwardsFeb 14, 2024
KIL NYC Show Returns for Spring Edition

Its second trade event will feature vintage pieces and contemporary collections.

Lydia Courteille Lips ring
TrendsFeb 13, 2024
Amanda’s Style File: Symbols of Love

When it comes to Valentine’s Day jewels, the fun doesn’t stop at hearts.

Nana and Jennifer
Events & AwardsFeb 13, 2024
First Responders Win BIJC’s Second ‘Together by Design’ Contest

The couple won a bespoke engagement ring set with a 1.44-carat fancy yellow diamond and designed by Michael Hogan.

Claire’s The Collab campaign
MajorsFeb 13, 2024
Claire’s New Campaign Is for ‘Gen Zalpha’

Its new brand ambassadors, ages 7 to 17, will have some creative control over the ad campaign, called “The Collab.”


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy