Fortrove News

People and businesses within the jewelry industry are doing their best to stay afloat during the pandemic, and one example is the cofounder of Marisa Perry Atelier, Marisa Perry. In an interview with JCK, she talks of her brick-and-mortar store as well as sales during the pandemic.

When asked what it's like owning a brick-and-mortar store during the pandemic, Perry said, "Now it’s just fun—we are super busy and enjoying every minute. But in the beginning of quarantine, when everything was shut down, it was the most harrowing experience of my professional life. We were in a pretty good place financially, so we were not totally stressed out about how I would pay my staff, vendors, or rent. I was, however, completely stressed out, working 10 hours a day, figuring out how to get the PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] and other funding options. Turning over questions like, If I apply for the EIDL [Economic Injury Disaster Loans], can I still qualify for the PPP? And before that, there was talk of some loan that you may not have to repay, but none of the bankers even knew what it was called.

"My accountant told me to go to the bank to apply for whatever loans were available—wrong advice. Then my bankers had no idea and actually submitted a regular SBA [Small Business Administration] application for me, not the EIDL and not the PPP! But the PPP was not ready yet. My bankers then gave all of the wrong advice, and only because I worked like a maniac was I able to figure out what to apply for when! Had I had the proper advice, I may have fared better, but no one knew what was going on. Also, store owners will remember questions like, Will we be closed for two weeks, three weeks, or two months? Do I ask my staff to go on unemployment? Then there was, How do I keep the momentum of my sales going? The questions were endless and in the end, you could only hope you made more good decisions than bad ones."

"So far, January and February 2021 have far exceeded the months of January and February 2020, which was pre-COVID. We are up over 35%, thankfully," said Perry regarding a question about sales during the pandemic. "Throughout the pandemic, sales were up every month that we were actually open to compensate well for the 2 1/2 months we were closed. But what we have noticed is that we have sold so much more jewelry beyond our normal bridal basics. I purchased a year’s worth of necklace and earring boxes, which arrived in October 2020. By Dec. 31, we were completely out!"

Marisa Perry rings

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When asked about which pieces customers tend to prefer, Perry said, "Customers are loving smaller—mostly yellow gold—cute necklaces and earrings, many with organically placed rows of diamonds, or pretty pendants, just to layer. Also tennis bracelets, stacked with leather string or string bracelets, with maybe a thin gold bracelet to mix it up and give a more grunge edge to diamond bracelets."

Information originally sourced from JCK.