Interview JCK with Peter Aagaard and Michael Belleveau from Trollbeads U.S.

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Post by BeadThrilled on Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:26 am

JCK had an interview with Trollbeads U.S. chairman Peter Aagaard and CEO Michael Belleveau.
Read the abridged transcript on: JCK online
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Post by Trolldog on Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:52 pm

Belleveau: "There is already a solid base of distribution. But there are more layers that can be added to the business. We can open some chain accounts, and introduce our product to some fine department store and jewelry chains, and develop some co-branding arrangements with fashion brands and luxury brands."

Fine department store and jewelry chains.....really????? I am not particularly fond of this move...looks like the rumors of being able to buy trollbeads at walmart are more real than we realized. Are the LDs going to be a thing of the past??? I am really questioning this path for trollbeads.
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Post by neonfiller on Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:00 pm

I feel that the small dealers may be pushed aside in favor of the jewelry stores... and chain stores - don't even want to think about it. Sad
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Post by kitsunegrl on Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:52 pm

Well, the minute TB is available at Wal-Mart is the minute I stop buying TB.
I am very proud to state that I haven't given Wal-Mart a single penny in five years.

The quickest way to take exclusivity or "specialness" out of something is to make it available at Wal-Mart or Target!
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Post by candie on Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:34 pm

@kitsunegrl wrote:Well, the minute TB is available at Wal-Mart is the minute I stop buying TB.
I am very proud to state that I haven't given Wal-Mart a single penny in five years.

The quickest way to take exclusivity or "specialness" out of something is to make it available at Wal-Mart or Target!

Wal-Mart?!?!
I seriously hope not!

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Post by rollypoly troll on Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:47 pm

Needs to watch out, they dont upset their loyal collectors.


Great post.
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Post by naranja on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:23 pm

I doubt Trollbeads will ever be available at Target or Wal-Mart. I'm sure these are not included under the nomer 'fine department stores' (which to me means higher end/pricier chains). Thanks for this post admin!
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Post by Brightonbelle on Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:25 pm

They have just opted for John Lewis which is an upper middle range department store in the UK.

http://www.johnlewis.com/Women/Jewellery/Jewellery/Jewellery/Trollbeads/-/Brand/4859/ProductCategory.aspx
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Post by Amanda Mac (Dot) on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:12 pm

@Brightonbelle wrote:They have just opted for John Lewis which is an upper middle range department store in the UK.

http://www.johnlewis.com/Women/Jewellery/Jewellery/Jewellery/Trollbeads/-/Brand/4859/ProductCategory.aspx

Yes My DD found that recently - I was surprised. I think it must just be the on-line John Lewis which stocks them at present. Haven't seen them in their stores yet.

In the UK, the vast majority of our LDs are jewellry shops, many independent, some of them smallish chains, some a bit larger. Many of our dealers are very enthusiastic about TB and collect themselves. I wouldn't worry too much about Walmart, I seriously doubt that would happen!
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Post by Brightonbelle on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:13 pm

I think that somebody said that they had been into a branch of John Lewis and seen Trollbeads in store, although they didn't have the new ones yet.
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Post by rainyday on Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:38 pm

@candie wrote:
@kitsunegrl wrote:Well, the minute TB is available at Wal-Mart is the minute I stop buying TB.
I am very proud to state that I haven't given Wal-Mart a single penny in five years.

The quickest way to take exclusivity or "specialness" out of something is to make it available at Wal-Mart or Target!

Wal-Mart?!?!
I seriously hope not!

It's worse because they are talking very HIGH end stores!!! The kind I never go in because I can't spend that much money.... Bloomingdales - Saks 5th Ave - Neiman Marcus types of places. Really! Can you imagine my kids running around with mucky hands touching expensive stuff???!!! LOL
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Post by trollmoll on Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:54 am

OK, I am not happy at the move to expand distribution by high end chain and department store because it may affect the ability of the small independent retailers to compete. Besides providing better and more knowledgeable service, the owners of these stores actually have an interest in the product and their regular customers. Many of the stores in my area are part of a large gift chain. Often they do not have new releases weeks after the release date ("Oh, corporate does the buying, so we don't know what's coming") and they certainly don't get the limited releases or OOAKs. TBs are not easy to sell if you have no interest in them beyond making a profit.

However, I think that just maybe, the higher end stores, which are better at service than the middling mall chains, will do a better job at selling. I am interested in seeing what the new CEO does. As for Peter Aagard saying that they will be pursing more branding and marketing, I would simply like to see easier and better access to beads. It does not help to have big glossy ads in New York City if there are no stores at which to shop. Stop restricting online sales to a few dealers and let other willing dealers market the beads. Stop going on about a "luxury" brand - your fans are not the same as the ones who define luxury in carats. Stop pushing the prices to astronomical levels. We are aware that silver and gold prices are very high, but there is a big disparity in the value of the metals in the beads and your prices. Other quality products of good value are on the rise too, and you cannot count on blind loyalty, especially from the beady-eyed.
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Post by neonfiller on Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:14 am

@trollmoll wrote:OK, I am not happy at the move to expand distribution by high end chain and department store because it may affect the ability of the small independent retailers to compete. Besides providing better and more knowledgeable service, the owners of these stores actually have an interest in the product and their regular customers. Many of the stores in my area are part of a large gift chain. Often they do not have new releases weeks after the release date ("Oh, corporate does the buying, so we don't know what's coming") and they certainly don't get the limited releases or OOAKs. TBs are not easy to sell if you have no interest in them beyond making a profit.

However, I think that just maybe, the higher end stores, which are better at service than the middling mall chains, will do a better job at selling. I am interested in seeing what the new CEO does. As for Peter Aagard saying that they will be pursing more branding and marketing, I would simply like to see easier and better access to beads. It does not help to have big glossy ads in New York City if there are no stores at which to shop. Stop restricting online sales to a few dealers and let other willing dealers market the beads. Stop going on about a "luxury" brand - your fans are not the same as the ones who define luxury in carats. Stop pushing the prices to astronomical levels. We are aware that silver and gold prices are very high, but there is a big disparity in the value of the metals in the beads and your prices. Other quality products of good value are on the rise too, and you cannot count on blind loyalty, especially from the beady-eyed.

Well said trollmoll.. This precisely echoes my thoughts about this news. I love you
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Post by sakyubc on Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:09 am

Well I see good and bad in the interview. Interested to see reference to their passionate collectors.

Hope they don't do as Pandora has done in this area lately. They have opened 4 Pandora stores. In one case I know of, that store is in direct competition to 4 Pandora dealers in the immediate area including one that is in the same mall and within a 30 second walk. You have to wonder--those stores invested money, time etc. to work and build their business and customer base and then Pandora comes in with a dedicated store. Yes the store is beautiful, but I found it very repetitive. I like shopping better where there are some other things as well to look at. I would imagine that store will kill the business that the other 4 had, perhaps force 1 or more out of business as I understand that for at least one it is a huge portion of their business and I really wonder if the total sales will be any better
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Post by Trolls on Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:20 am

Enjoyed reading the article and everyones comments.
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Post by snowy on Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:01 am

"In 2000, when we went international, we used to be the only company out there. Now there is a ton of product on the market. I am not sure there is room for that many. But we still have a lot of passionate collectors and that is our customer base."

Hmm..."but we still have passionate collectors "? Does that mean they have lost some already ? And someone needs to tell them that they are NOT a luxury brand like Tiffany & Co.
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Post by Brightonbelle on Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:04 am

@trollmoll wrote: Stop pushing the prices to astronomical levels. We are aware that silver and gold prices are very high, but there is a big disparity in the value of the metals in the beads and your prices. Other quality products of good value are on the rise too, and you cannot count on blind loyalty, especially from the beady-eyed.

I don't buy gold beads but I would love someone who does to take one into a pawnbroker or jeweller that buys scrap gold and get it valued as a lump of gold. It would be great to compare the value of the materials to the price of the bead.
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Post by Molamola on Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:04 am

@rainyday wrote:
@candie wrote:
@kitsunegrl wrote:Well, the minute TB is available at Wal-Mart is the minute I stop buying TB.
I am very proud to state that I haven't given Wal-Mart a single penny in five years.

The quickest way to take exclusivity or "specialness" out of something is to make it available at Wal-Mart or Target!

Wal-Mart?!?!
I seriously hope not!

It's worse because they are talking very HIGH end stores!!! The kind I never go in because I can't spend that much money.... Bloomingdales - Saks 5th Ave - Neiman Marcus types of places. Really! Can you imagine my kids running around with mucky hands touching expensive stuff???!!! LOL

The only time I've ever been to Selfridges in London was as a trip with some friends to see Santa there one Christmas.

Guess which department the queue was set up in?

Fine china!

So stressful, one of the little boys in our group got his hands on a side plate and we were all freaking out, trying to appear calm and get him to gently give it back to his Mum. I looked up the plate that evening and it cost £150!!

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Post by Smaug on Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:54 am

@Brightonbelle wrote:I don't buy gold beads but I would love someone who does to take one into a pawnbroker or jeweller that buys scrap gold and get it valued as a lump of gold. It would be great to compare the value of the materials to the price of the bead.
Well, there's some disappointment to be expected on the value of the gold beads when offering to a jeweler. My naughty dragon will bring in only € 500,- for the gold value of the bead. That being at current gold prices. When I bought my dragon gold prices were about half of current prices.
The moment you walk out of a shop with precious metal jewelry the item has lost 75% of it retail value and all that remains is the price of the precious metal. Hence the importance of a collector's market to recuperate on bead spending.
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Post by Mouseoncheese on Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:14 pm

The ratio of Value of Metal relative to the RRP of the bead is higher for the gold beads than it is for the silver beads. The metal cost of the gold beads is about 25% of the RRP and about 10% for the silver beads. I did a worked example for the Jugend bead on another bead forum, I don't have time to repeat it all here at the moment. If anyone is really interested you can work out the value of the gold using the formula:

Mass of metal * spot price * 0.75 for 18k gold

The mass of the beads is listed on TB Universe and there are numerous sites listing the spot price of precious metals.

It's all academic though, if you want to invest in gold, buy bullion. The value of jewellery is based on the artistry and work involved. Otherwise it's a bit like saying a Rembrandt is only worth £20 because it's just old canvas and wood :-D

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Post by trollmoll on Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:11 pm

There's no question that the metal value in a bead is a small portion of its retail price. It seems to me, however, that the metal value of a gold or gold/silver TB is even less than for other fine jewelry items. I was in a jewelry store recently for repairs and while I was waiting, I was mentally comparing the items on offer against the prices of gold TBs. Of course, the collector's value of a TB has to be factored in but I was rather sobered to see that I could get some very pretty and substantial gold or diamond and gold items for the price of 1 gold bead. Even more sobering was the possibility that they may possibly have a higher residual value, given that there is a wider market for them versus TBs.

@Smaug wrote:
Hence the importance of a collector's market to recuperate on bead spending.

Ah, but collectors are fickle, the economy waxes and wanes (more waning these days) and the next big trend is always around the corner.
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Post by Kirstin on Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:58 pm

@neonfiller wrote:I feel that the small dealers may be pushed aside in favor of the jewelry stores... and chain stores - don't even want to think about it. Sad

I'm torn with this. I don't really have an LD. We have The Paperstore in my town and that is it. For a proper LD, it is at least an hour to and an hour and a half round trip of driving for me. As a result, I have to buy most of my beads online as I work full time and weekends are full of chores and family obligations.

My first wish would be an LD would open close to me and stock TB.... but I would not boycott a chain store to buy the beads. I just hope the chain store is not Wal-Mart!!
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Post by mandyjw on Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:29 pm

I do see the need to have the beads sold in big name stores in order to advertise and promote the brand at this point in time anyway. My LD is a store that supports local people, is privately owned and they even sold my jewelry before I went to only selling beads online. I would be sad to see Trollbeads no longer being something that helps stores like that stay open. Things like this make me glad I'm just an artist who works for myself, I don't have to make difficult decisions like that.
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Post by smittenbytrolls on Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:41 am

I am becoming extremely disappointed in TB.

I think in their pursuit for a larger marketbase, they are going to push out the small dealers we all know and love, and in the long run they are losing the people that really love their beads. The dealers I know all wear the bracelets, collect the beads and are excited about them.

Within the last year or so some of the big chain jewelry stores in the malls have TB and the seem bored with them, don't really know the names and I've never seen one person looking at them, except me or my sister. I see this happening in big dept stores.

If they want to increase their market they need to watch their pricing, most people I know can't believe I have spent this much money on "glass & silver beads.
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