Pandora jewelry launches a new branding campaign and web store in the U.S.

Pandora jewelry has become nearly synonymous with the brand's signature customized charm bracelets, and that's no wonder, since those pieces make up the bulk of the Danish company's sales.

But a branding campaign launched this month by the Baltimore-based U.S. division tells shoppers they can just as easily create customized looks with rings, necklaces and earrings.


"Jewelry for women has really evolved over the last several years," said Scott Burger, president of Pandora Americas. "It's not so much about adorning women as it is an opportunity for women to express their individuality."

That trend, Burger believes, closely aligns with the Pandora brand. "The Art of You" campaign, launched in the U.S. and Canada on April 13, asks women "Who will you create today?" in an effort to not only "inspire women to embrace the self-creator within," the company said, but to drive traffic to stores and websites more frequently than on holidays and special occasions.


The campaign, planned for TV, print, digital and social media channels through at least the end of the year, will highlight all categories — rings, earrings, necklaces, pendants, charms and bracelets, in gold, silver, gemstones, cultured pearls and other materials. Stores will reinforce the self-creator notion and "encourage consumers to come into the stores more often," Burger said.

In another shift, the company also is expanding its online presence. On Tuesday, Pandora will unveil a branded online channel in the U.S., part of a strategy to increase online sales globally. It will offer another option to consumers who now can order Pandora jewelry online through 39 authorized retail partners such as Nordstrom, Jared and Bloomingdale's. The U.S. site will be the latest addition to online store sites in seven European countries.

Pandora, which markets itself as high-quality jewelry at affordable prices, offers pieces that range in price from $30 for a sterling ring or individual charm to hundreds of dollars for a gold charm.

And the new marketing campaign aims to "make sure that consumers are aware that the Pandora brand is about more than charms and bracelets," Burger said. "It builds off the success that we've had, encouraging people to celebrate unforgettable moments. … It's a new way to really encourage someone to ask themselves who they're going to create today, and think how Pandora jewelry can partner with them in answering that question."

The company held off selling products through its own online sales channel in the U.S. until it could better gauge the potential impact on its store business. It found consumers who shop multiple channels of a brand spend more overall, Burger said.

"The U.S. is one of the most developed online markets in the world today, and to open our own eSTORE in the country is an important new step for us," Anders Colding Friis, CEO of Pandora, said in the company's announcement Monday.

Changes at Pandora come as sales are growing both globally and in the U.S. and as midpriced jewelry brands overall are enjoying a resurgence.

"Whilst most consumers are still unable to comfortably afford luxury jewelry, the improved economic state of the U.S. has allowed consumers to shift their tastes away from lower-end jewelry and toward the mid-priced segment of the market," according to a November report on jewelry in the U.S. by market research firm Euromonitor International.


Brands such as Pandora, Kay Jewelers and Blue Nile all benefited from the trend, with double-digit growth in 2013, the report said. Last year, Pandora's U.S. sales grew more than 20 percent in the Americas to $714 million. The Copenhagen-based company, which began selling in the U.S. in 2003 and is completing a move of its U.S. headquarters from Columbia to Pratt Street downtown, now operates 315 branded stores in the U.S. and sells its products from a total of 3,629 stores in the U.S.

Though the core charms and bracelets category makes up nearly 80 percent of Pandora sales, growing more than 25 percent last year, new products have driven much of the overall sales growth. Last year, as Pandora expanded its assortment of stackable rings, sales of that category more than tripled.

Staying focused and disciplined will be key to future growth, Burger said. The company has had huge success in a relatively small niche, he said, with charms representing just 5 percent of consumer spending on jewelry.

"The charm bracelet is a once-in-a-lifetime product phenomenon that launched in 2000 and redefined an industry," he said. "We focus less on creating the next charm bracelet and more on being better with what we have.

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"If you look at the jewelry industry, the good news about the industry is that it consistently grows; the bad news is it barely grows," he said. "Historically, it has been a slow-growth category. The challenge is around having the right product that's going to create traffic to the stores."

At the Pandora store at Towson Town Center, shoppers are greeted by a glittering display of rings.


But Monique Williams, 32, headed straight for the charm bracelets display case on Monday. She left with her second Pandora bracelet dangling on one arm, next to one she had purchased in January and customized with charms to remember her late fiance. She said she's become a fan of the brand because she likes the quality, the ability to add and remove charms to reflect her mood, and the ability to go into any Pandora store in the country and find a record of her previous purchases.

To go with her memorial bracelet, she said, she spent more than $300 to create a bracelet combining a Mother's Day gift set with several more charms.

With the help of a sales associate, she said, "we created a piece that represents me."

Williams said she may consider returning for customized rings or necklaces, but "the bracelets are speaking to me right now."