Neal Vandam is the owner of Blue River Diamonds, a Gloucester based family-owned jewelry store. He recently decided to expand his marketing reach to the LGBT Wedding market by partnering with Rony Tennenbaum.
What makes the partnership current and newsworthy is that Blue River Diamonds is joining the visionary retailers that are now taking an accepting stance and becoming more outspoken on support for the LGBT community.
Tennenbaum’s ongoing contribution to the LGBT community (of which he is part) and his commitment within the context of a burgeoning same-sex wedding industry, to forging LGBT wedding business one local store at a time, has now positioned himself as a recognized and sought-after authority on LGBT wedding jewelry fashion and protocol.
As you know, Massachusetts has the sixth highest percentage of self-identifying gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and still holds the highest percentage of married same-sex partners in the country.
To date, 19 states plus Washington, D.C. have passed marriage equality laws and judges in an additional 12 states have issued rulings in favor of marriage equality. As we continue to celebrate the unbroken string of victories in the legalization of gay marriage, more mainstream & local stores are seeking out Tennenbaum’s expert understanding in the culture, tastes and needs of the LGBT community, as well as the jewelry and diamond worlds. to break into the LGBT wedding market.
Why? Because they want someone who assimilates with that community and can provide valuable “insider” information about the culture and ethos of an audience they know nothing about.
According to a recent survey by Community Marketing & Insights, an LGBT consumer research company, about 76 percent of same-gender couples feel that it is important to work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-friendly businesses when they’re planning their wedding.
Retailers such as Blue River Diamonds are beginning to understand this, targeting the LGBT community with marketing that will speak to them and show their support. But while they recognize the need for the niche, most of them do not know how to approach it.
There are learning opportunities on both sides of the counter as a new crop of consumers navigate the wedding planning process and store owners learn how to market and sell to this community. Tennenbaum is tapping into this need by helping retailers figure out how to best communicate with LGBT customers and how to sell to them, as well as helping same-gender couple navigate their way through bridal jewelry, and even wedding, planning – LGBT couples have no societal script to follow and thus find themselves in uncharted waters.
More than just a designer, Tennenbaum understands the need in educating a generation of retailers as well as consumers who are facing new traditions and etiquettes. Tennenbaum does this through educational programs and public appearances called “Rony Talks.”
What makes Tennenbaum stand out from the rest of the jewelry designers looking to capitalize on the current momentum created by the continuing marriage equality victories, is the fact that not only is he part of that community (he has been with his husband for 21 years); but he also comes with the whole package:
– the Stylish & fashionable high-end (yet affordable) Jewelry collection without the stereotypical rainbows & triangles
– the social and eco-responsibilities: using EcoGold to guarantee that no toxins or waste materials are dumped into the environment.
– Made in America: his strong beliefs in bringing well-needed jobs back to the US encouraged Rony to make sure his jewelry is locally made
– the knowledge (tutorial programs).
Tennenbaum doesn’t just ship his collection to be added to bridal cases across the country, he actually takes the time to visit the many stores carrying his brand to EDUCATE both consumers and retailers about the new options in wedding jewelry etiquette and consults about making educated purchases. Often forgotten is the fact that gay couples can feel uncomfortable shopping at stores for jewelry together because they don’t really know if it’s a store that will frown upon it. Tennenbaum works with stores helping them provide a comfortable location for people to shop regardless of sexual orientation.
An out and outspoken gay designing jeweler striving to make a difference in and for his community, Tennenbaum
has long served the LGBT community regardless of the law, carving the hopes and dreams of same-sex couples in gold and diamonds, and sending a strong message of inclusiveness to the LGBT community.
At the helm of his brand, Tennenbaum is using his expertise and message behind his jewelry to be in the vanguard of a new generation of jewelry consumers, and taking with him any pioneers like Blue River Diamonds who wish to join forces with him and his message on the journey.
The National Jeweler magazine recently did an extensive profile on Tennenbaum highlighting his involvement in helping retailers now targeting the LGBT community utilize a marketing approach that will genuinely speak to them and show their support: http://www.nationaljeweler.com/independents/market-developments/The-change-that-is-b-4745.shtml