Brand spotlight: Turquoise & Co.
Owner Mallory Blair supports Native American-made jewelry through her turquoise business and strong social media presence.
With an emphasis on authenticity, Turquoise & Cie. has sailed today’s market with attention to customer preferences, an eye-catching online presence, and a commitment to individuality. We spoke with owner Mallory Blair about the need for a fashion brand’s digital efforts and real-world portability.
Tell us about the style of your brand / store – what does the style mean to you?
I started Turquoise & Co. because I have a love for Native American jewelry. We try to focus on authentic Native American jewelry, so we don’t wear anything that is not Native American made. We try to make sure that we give credit to the artisans. This is something that I am really big on. Not all turquoise companies do this. We do our best to always make sure we give [credit]. We want to be essentially like an intermediary for the artists. We want artists to be recognized for their work.
And we try to offer timeless pieces that will never go out of style. We have a handful of more trendy pieces every now and then, but I try to stay more in the traditional style so that when people shop with us, they buy something that they are going to love 10 years from now. now, it’s not something that they’re going to look back a year from now and say to themselves, “I don’t like that anymore.” It is not fashionable. So we really try to keep everything we wear more on the traditional side of things.
Also, we focus a lot on stones. We try to make sure we use all the stones of American origin, unless it’s a mine that we don’t produce that color in the US, so like Golden Hills is really popular right now, and that is really, really light turquoise blue. So we will be offering Golden Hills, even if it is not from the United States, but we do our best to make sure that the majority of our pieces are made from turquoise from the United States.
Do you think buyers’ confidence has returned? What factors influence your answer?
We have been very fortunate that the pandemic has not really affected our online sales. I mean it affected our sales as a whole, because we weren’t able to do a lot of shows that we had done in the past, and so [for] our clientele who like to shop in person, this was not something that was readily available until the NFR was launched. [For] our online sales, we were very lucky that it didn’t really affect us there. We had trouble finding parts. New Mexico has been very, very hard hit by COVID, and a lot has been very closed, so there was a point in time where we really didn’t have anything new and [it] still a little continued to be a struggle even late [into the pandemic]. Some of my artists have been sick. Their families got sick and that sort of thing, so they didn’t work as much. From a business perspective, I think the lack of capacity to supply us has affected us more than the closures.
Has the company’s digital strategy evolved over the past year?
We have really tried to stay on top of our social media. It really has a huge impact. I feel like everyone in the fashion industry feels that way, that everything is social media. If we stop posting on social media, I think it directly affects our sales, and I think it just gets our posts out in front of people where they don’t really have to search. I feel like a lot of people, how they buy now is that they’re going to be scrolling through social media anyway, so if it’s presented in front of them where they don’t have to look, that it is that sort of thing that drives the majority of our sales. We even noticed that we can have stuff on the website, and we can post it on social media. We could have had them for a few months, and we’ll post them on social media and [theyâll sell]. If they’re not selling, we can track the clicks, and we see these product pages a lot more visited, so I think social media is driving that.
What’s your best tip for growing online / engaging with your audience?
I honestly think keeping your social media content up to date and making you stand out [is key]. Everyone knows Turquoise and Co., we are known for the white background. All of our photos are very clean, and that’s something we’re known for. There are other companies that are known for their rustic background, but I think point you out where when someone is scrolling through social media, they can preview your photo, and they know it’s you, I think that’s really important. Then [another tip is] stay really on top of communicating with your customers. I think it’s so easy to get caught up in the other aspects of your business that you might fall behind responding to comments and posts on your social media, and I think that’s super important. Even if someone just has simple questions, or if we are experimenting. So we’ve designated days on our Instagram Stories where Lauren, the girl who works for me, will try out stuff on an Instagram Live, and we allow people to ask things so that we have clients who will message us on Monday like , ‘Hey, there are these two or three things on your website that we really want to see what they look like tried out in a live video,’ so we make sure we incorporate them. [Another tip is] I know a lot of people get trapped sometimes by paying attention to what other accounts are doing. We don’t do that. I think it’s really important to try and beat your own drum, and if you’re shopping for stocking your store, pick pieces that you like because you’re going to be selling the things that you like. I think it’s really hard to sell something that you don’t like or that you’re not passionate about.
Do you have a physical presence?
We are under construction, so we do not have [a brick and mortar location] yet, but we are in the process. We’ll have one in Stephenville [Texas] in the next six months.
Are you planning to set up on trade shows this year? If yes, which ones?
We went to Abilene [Texas] at the rodeo ranch there in May. We did Round Top. We do Round Top twice a year, spring and fall, and we did NFR. This fall we’ll be doing Round Top in October, Warrington Market, and then we’ll be at NFR. We assume in Vegas at the Rio.
What products are selling well at the moment?
I think more delicate things are in fashion. I know for the last couple of years really big long pieces were very popular, but lately we have seen the shorter necklaces, the choker style is coming back. And then people overlap. Over the past couple of years, huge squash blossoms were very popular, and still are, but we’ve seen more people buy four or five smaller, more dainty necklaces that are shorter and layered.
Do you keep an eye out for current western fashion trends?
We kind of do it, but again, we try to focus more on the classic things that will be trendy no matter what, but we follow the trends, just because we always try to have a little collection of pieces that will be very trendy. For those that is what they want.
What advice would you give to western companies in today’s market?
Even if you are going through a difficult time, things are slowly returning to normal and slowly improving. I would say for those who are struggling, if they don’t have an online presence, I think this is a great time to consider doing something, albeit on a small scale. Our website, we have a ton of inventory on it, but you don’t necessarily have to have a ton of inventory on your website. Even a few coins here or there just to give people the option to shop online [is good]. If you have a storefront, I think the âbuy online and pick up in storeâ thing is something that people also like to do, because everyone likes something that is mobile friendly. We have done a lot. Our storefront is not yet open, but we have an office and we have enabled in-store pickup [option]. We’ve seen a lot of locals like this option, because they can do their shopping from their phone and then they can drop by on their way home, and it’s something quick, easy, that they don’t have to. worry designate a specific amount of time to stop after work, especially if they have kids or something like that.
Give us your best style advice!
I think the beauty of turquoise jewelry and jewelry in general is that you can wear it however you want. I always tell people that the best thing to do when shopping for turquoise jewelry, or just jewelry in general, is to buy what you love. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, because you probably aren’t going to wear it. It will sit in your jewelry box. [Itâs the same] with clothes too. I always tell people to style things the way you like them. I’m not really a fan of trends. I put it on, and if I like the look, and it makes me feel good, this is what I wear. The jewelry still fits. The best thing about jewelry is that besides your ring one size fits all.
Click here to read more stories and interviews from the Western industry.
Photography: (All images) courtesy of Mallory Blair