Five Minutes With Diane Katzman, Founder, Diane Katzman Design

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PPB  When did you begin offering custom jewelry and accessories to the promotional products market?

Katzman  We’ve been designing and manufacturing custom jewelry, accessories and gifts for the promotional products market for 10 years. Prior to that, I worked on Madison Avenue providing marketing counsel to national brands, and in 1999 I started producing custom jewelry and accessories for retailers including Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. When distributors began asking us to design for their brands, I combined my love of marketing and retail flair into a promo products business.

PPB  What sorts of challenges or misconceptions, if any, did you encounter with introducing the idea of custom jewelry as a promotional solution? 

Katzman  Jewelry and accessories look more expensive than they cost and scare away some distributors before they get started. Yet for less than $1,000 a brand can make a powerful statement with custom bracelets, scarves or ties that wow the end user and truly hit the mark. But the flipside is, because it’s all custom, we have no catalog. So we’re not always top of mind in the promo products world.

PPB  How do your products improve or enhance a client’s program, and what is some of the more memorable feedback you’ve received from clients?

Katzman  Nothing makes people feel better than believing you care enough to give them something beautiful and personal. And when you give a gift that truly resonates with your client and their customers, they will be loyal to you and your brand. Recently we worked with a distributor whose client was launching a new line of glass for interior designers. We incorporated their glass into adjustable bracelets so the sales force had the new samples only an “arm’s length away.” Needless to say, our promotional jewelry had a direct impact on real sales.

As another example, employees at a large brokerage firm are given our custom charms or cufflinks as they advance through the company’s ranks. Each new certification, birthday and award is visibly worn with pride. It lends itself to a great conversation starter with clients and camaraderie with peers. But most of all, it makes the employees feel that their company cares.

When Nissan brought their top performing dealers to Italy, our custom wine charms were waiting at every stop. At the end of the trip, a collectible set was shipped home with each guest. Every year, a new Diane Katzman “collectible” is part of the Nissan sales trip.

PPB  What are some important features of jewelry and finer accessories that should never be overlooked when sourcing items for clients? 

Katzman  Everyone has her own taste and his own size. So it’s essential that you choose something that will appeal to the most people. We recommend adjustable jewelry and stretch bracelets, and oblong scarves that can be worn a variety of different ways. We also suggest ties that will work well with a blue blazer or grey suit. We like to match Pantone colors, but sometimes that Kelly green needs to be used as an accent color.

PPB  What should distributors keep in mind if they want to incorporate custom jewelry into their offerings?

Katzman  Don’t feel you need to know what will work. Most of our clients come to us with a logo, event, audience and budget. We ask lots of questions and work with each distributor to design jewelry and accessories that will resonate with the customer. Jewelry is a very personal thing. Go classic to appeal to the masses. Know your client’s taste and their sweet spot. And remember, it should be beautiful. If it’s not something you or your dear one would wear, we won’t recommend producing it.