“The Harry Potter brand is worth almost £25bn, so our aim with this range was really to expand further into the global market,” says Gregory Kirk, marketing executive at The Carat Shop. He is talking about the release of a new Harry Potter jewellery collection created in partnership with Swarovski and Warner Bros for the first time.
Kirk says the idea of a Harry Potter-inspired jewellery collection initially emerged from the company’s two directors in 2013, Anna May and Claire Reilly, managing director and creative director at The Carat Shop, respectively. “They were making bespoke jewellery and saw a potential gap in the market for a huge successful brand like Harry Potter”.
“In 2017 we were approached by Swarovski to become ingredient branding partner and collaborate with the Harry Potter brand to produce an exclusive collection of rings, charms, necklaces and earrings embellished with Swarovski Crystals”, says Kirk. The products are now available in the UK, Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, with more to come according to Kirk, in independent gift shops and stores.
Kirk says: “As proof of authenticity, The Carat Shop has included a Swarovski branded tag with a unique code in the box, which customers can enter into the Swarovski website which will confirm they have purchased a genuine Swarovski / Harry Potter dual-branded product”.
Harry Potter-inspired jewellery is actually nothing new to The Carat Shop. Kirk says the classic ‘Harry Potter Sterling Silver Collection’ launched in 2013 and was the group’s first introduction into the franchise. “The continued success of The Carat Shop’s Sterling Silver and Silver Plated collection meant that new opportunities to expand their ranges were highly sought after”, says Kirk, explaining that the collection saw a 300% growth in 2016 in addition to the further 250% growth obtained in the subsequent years.
According to Fortune Magazine, the Harry Potter series accounts for $7.3bn (£5.6bn) from games and toy sales for toymakers Hasbro and Mattel, and in its 2015 year-end report, Comcast reported revenue growth of 27% to $3.3bn (£2.5bn) from the ‘Wizarding World of Harry Potter’ theme park attractions in Orlando, Florida, and Hollywood, California.
RECREATING EXACT REPLICAS
In order to create accurate jewellery pieces based on some of the Harry Potter’s most famous objects, Kirk says there is a lot of work that needs to be done beforehand. Since The Carat Shop’s creative team works alongside the Warner Bros’ team, several drafts have to be submitted to the American entertainment company to ensure the authenticity of each piece. “Our creative team will have a look on the Warner Brothers Asset library, find any images that will appeal to our target audience and then create their 3D scan of the images or the props from the movies,” Kirk explains.
He says the Swarovski collection aimed for the most popular designs of the franchise, including those that “would go well with Swarovski crystals”. The initial selection process of the objects and the print of the 3D scans ensures designers can get a 3D vision of the work they are about to feature in the Swarovski collection. “They are technically exact replicas of the items in the film.”
“We’ll then get a first sample, submit it to Warner Bros and then they’ll give us amendments or any changes required,” Kirk says, explaining the process which ultimately results in official samples being sent to manufacturing. One of the objects featured in the collection is the Golden Snitch, which first appeared in the first film ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’. “Distinct features such as the lightning bolt and golden snitch are embellished with Swarovski crystals giving them an unmistakable glimmer, along with others like the whomping willow and of course the deathly hallows.”
The Whomping Willow is another item from the Harry Potter franchise featured in the Swarovski collection. This object refers to the violent magical plant known for attacking anyone who attempts to disturb its branches. Other objects also include lightning Bolt, which is the form that Harry’s scar takes once Voldemort attempts to kill him, and the Flying Key, a winged key that opens the entrance to the next chamber enabling Harry, Ron and Hermione to step closer to the philosopher’s stone.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE HARRY POTTER COLLECTION
For a character who came to life during JK Rowling’s journey more than 20 years ago, Harry Potter has come a long way – now a £25bn net worth brand – according to finance newsletter Money. After being rejected by 12 different publishers, the story about the ‘boy who lived’ was first introduced to the world in 1997 and since then has hardly left the spotlight.
The marketing executive says the Harry Potter Sterling Silver collection is being launched in H Samuel stores with their new Harry Potter suitcase style jewellery display stand on 27 August 2018. “We’ve also partnered with airlines and are releasing some exclusive sets to be sold on Virgin Atlantic flights in September,” says Kirk.
As for the brand itself, the global passion for Potter is still relevant as shown with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” crossing the $800m milestone (£6b) in global office box in 2016, according to film review Variety. Harry Potter fever still alive and well, growing even stronger as new generations are constantly becoming engaged in the Harry Potter books and films.
This article first appeared in the September 2018 issue of Jewellery Focus