by Chelsea Clarey.
When we sell through catalogues or online, we have a unique challenge to face.
How to make up for the absent experience of touching and holding jewelry? How do we persuade people to connect to a piece of jewelry though a computer screen or a glossy page?
One way is to provide text descriptions, or copywriting, that gives the reader an added emotional response through artful presentation.
However, description space is usually limited, and shoppers’ attention spans always are! Every word in the space we have becomes important.
In this article we’re going to examine the word “designer,” and try to figure out exactly what we mean by it.
We’re not talking about the person who designs here, but the adjective: “designer jewelry,” “designer homes.”
Just for perspective, nearly 200,000 of the items on Etsy are tagged or titled with “designer.”
Clearly, this term is overused!
It’s intended to suggest
one or more of the following:
- This item was made by a fashion studio whose name is recognizable.
- This item was created by someone who is a designer.
- This item’s form was planned for maximum aesthetic quality.
So basically, unless you’re an Italian design house, you’ve told me that your jewelry is handmade and pretty. There are much more forceful ways to say this.
“Designer” is mostly useful for describing your profession. Many of us are most comfortable with “jewelry designer” or “jewelry artist” as a description of our trade.
For descriptions of objects, though, it’s imprecise and a little problematic.
Generally, we see “designer”
used in these ways:
- “Great deals on designer jeans, designer alternative bags.”In these usages, especially in the latter case, “designer” doesn’t indicate a thing about quality, beauty – not even about design! Which designers? Who decides when a label goes from just a brand name to “designer”?
- “We offer tours of inspiring designer homes.”In this case, the impression is that a designer was involved in or in charge of creation. It’s still a little ambiguous, though. And does it really imply beauty, quality and uniqueness?
- “Decorate with designer touches.”Which sense is this sentence going for? Probably just that the items have a “designerish” look. Swarovski sometimes uses the word in this way to describe their couture pendant line. It suggests that someone somewhere thought this was an aesthetically smart item, but couldn’t that be said much better?
As you can see, with overuse in advertising it has essentially just become a pleasant filler word!
And filler words, no matter how pleasant, don’t sell your work.
Basically, there’s nothing wrong with the word “designer”. There’s nothing essentially wrong with any of the words we’re discussing in this series.
It’s just that it fills up spots in your valuable text that could be used for connotative language that makes buyers fall in love with your jewelry.
So instead of the bland “designer,”
try exciting alternatives:
- Instead of “handmade necklace with a designer pendant,”try “This seed-bead creation is constructed around a pendant made by one of the most respected crystal manufacturers in the world.” This makes the distinction between your work and the tastefully chosen objects you incorporate clear, and sounds much more luxurious.
- Instead of “designer bracelets for your wedding,”try “Adorn your bridal party with these exquisite bracelets. I make each one from a design I developed over years in the trade.” It gives the impression of both beauty and professionalism without sounding too corporate.
- Instead of “designer beaded keychains,”try “Tasteful but sporty, these beaded keychains are a great bit of frosting for a cute purse!” The more specific adjectives clue your reader in as to how they’re meant to regard the item, while giving just as much of an air of taste and ingenuity as “designer” would. Note how “frosting,” too, gives a younger, peppier sound to the sentence.
Now, with more connotative alternatives to the tired “designer,” your descriptions are creating the personal response that helps your beautiful jewelry sell!
Author Chelsea Clarey of TangoPig Jewelry Creations is a jewelry designer who gravitates toward bead and wire jewelry because the simple techniques have infinite artistic applications. She specializes in reusing vintage components in stylish one-of-a-kind designs. When not creating, she thinks much too much about word choice in jewelry descriptions. Be sure to keep up with Chelsea on her TangoPig Jewelry Creations blog.
Thank you Chelsea, your series is really making me think about what I write and believe me, it has not been easy… but I am learning to do it differently, one description at a time. Thank you
These are two words for which I need to find better descriptions. Thanks for your ideas. I am always struggling to find different words to use, and sometimes there just aren’t any.
Wow! Thank you! I have literally been searching for the best way to describe my store.
Your tips were the basis of what I was searching for.
I am still looking for the complete description for the search engine. I wanted it to be personal and yet professional. Which is actually pretty hard to do.
I am great with designing, creating the jewelry. However, writing descriptions is my downfall. I am not good at wording things. I even thought about hiring someone to write for me.
I usually go to my favorite websites and see how they wrote things. Word for word they are perfect, however I can’t use their words as it doesn’t exactly apply to my style. As well as it is ‘their’ words and not mine.
Is there a website that has more ideas on wording that you could recommend?
Thank you again!! 🙂
Kiki – more writing tips
You may find some helpful ideas, tips, and wording in the articles here:
I hope this helps!
Your articles have really changed my thinking on writing about my jewelry. Instead of seeing it as an necessary evil in posting my jewelry online, I now realize that it’s an opportunity to influence how people think and feel about my jewelry. Thank you!
That makes me so happy to hear!
I seem to be one of the only ones who really relishes the chance to write about my jewelry, so if I can share a little of that sense of fun while offering pointers, I’m very glad!
I really enjoyed your article. It is opening my mind up to more ideas. Thanks and looking forward to reading your next article.