Jay Hartington, CEO/Co-owner Marissa Collections talks about the importance of having a mix of top-end jewellery brands and new designers to drive sales.
Dating back to 1975 when life partners Marissa and Burt Hartington opened a luxury boutique selling clothing, accessories and jewellery, Marissa Collections in the resort town Naples, Florida, is today helmed by their son Jay Hartington.
Occupying a 10,000 square-foot boutique in the city’s historic district, Marissa Collections has become a leading player in the local jewellery business over the years, and a go-to online destination for fine jewellery in the US.
Town & Country magazine previously listed Marissa Collections as one of a half-dozen businesses to discover the best of fine jewellery online. The store is often featured in magazines as one of the top stores in the country.
Marissa Collections takes its jewellery seriously. It has an on-site gemmologist and a jewellery buyer who sources precious gems and jewellery pieces from across the planet. It publishes an annual jewellery book, too.
These days, jewellery and accessories buyer Jennifer McCurry’s duties also include hosting Insta Live jewellery events, including one this month with Anil Maloo, the founder of Baggins Pearls. Founded in Los Angeles in 2002, Baggins has created a niche providing top quality, innovative Akoya, South Sea, and Tahitian Cultured Pearls.
Marissa Collections likes to stock this type of up-and-coming brand. Others include fellow West Coast jeweller Irene Neuwirth.
It is not just jewellery. Along with school friend Drew Deters, Hartington also launched the watch brand RumbaTime in 2009.
Hartington is a graduate of Emory University and holds a BBA in Finance and BA in Spanish. He sits on the Couture Retail Advisory Council and is a Gemological Institute of America Accredited Jewelry Professional. The Jewelry Gallery at Marissa Collections launched in 2008. Since then it has continued to add designers to its “highly curated international matrix.”
We spoke with Jay Hartington about the current retail scenario in the US:
What is the current state of the US retail industry for jewellery?
We are seeing a lot of interest in jewellery, specifically diamond and gold pieces below $10,000.
How was the holiday season business-wise?
Jewellery outperformed and was up year-over-year while non-jewellery categories continued to struggle.
What defines your company? Highly curated designer matrix focused on customer service and styling? What changes have you made since the pandemic began?
We were fortunate to have a robust digital footprint pre-Covid, but have continued to reinvest in these channels both e-commerce, digital marketing and social media.
Is online becoming more important than in-store retail?
They are both important and support each other equally.
What is the price range of the pieces you sell?
It ranges from $500 to $2 million.
How competitive is the US market for jewellery?
I think it is competitive as most markets. We prefer to focus on less distributed, up-in-coming designers.
Has the pandemic changed buying habits?
We think the pandemic has increased interest in jewellery overall. Clients like the tangible value and long-term use of this luxury category.
Which are the brands that Marissa sells?
We have a number of popular brands at Marissa Collections, Yossi Harari has a modern antiquity look. Harari is a trendsetting and award-winning craftsman whose 24-karat gold pieces are also sold at retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
Other high-end jewellery brands sold by Marissa include Foundrae Fine Jewelry, Mattia Cielo, Alessa Jewelry and Suzanne Kalan.
Current featured jewellers online at Marissa Collections include Monica Rich Kosann with her collection of 18-karat gold and sterling silver fine jewellery.
Can you talk about Indian jewellery? Do you sell it?
Yes, we sell it, including Saboo, Sutra, Arunashi and a few others.
Do you use any supplies from India?
Yes, we do work with some direct suppliers.