Last year Yvonne Ellard, Brand Manager for Alex and Ani Ireland came in to speak with our full time Fashion Buying & Merchandising students about branding, marketing and events, which the students fully embraced so we were only too happy to welcome Yvonne back again to speak with our current students. 

Armed with lots of insider tips on how to successfully run a PR campaign through to shipping product from the States to Ireland and the pit falls you may experience, the group fired all their questions at Yvonne about working in the industry, giving them a real insight into the day to day operations of a Brand Manager.

Alex and Ani, an American jewellery brand has been around in Ireland for 4 years and its popularity is going from strength to strength. Carolyn Rafaelian, founder of Alex and Ani, maintains the ethos around the brand is "spreading positive energy" so each charm carries a special meaning or message. This ideal philosophy is part of the success of the brand as gifting someone with a charm bracelet with a symbol for love or strength makes a gift more personal. With the pretty charm bracelets adorning wrists around the country Alex and Ani have firmly made their mark in Ireland. The next step for Yvonne is to maintain the brand positioning and popularity in Ireland while extended the product offer to the consumer as rings and necklaces have recently been added to the collection.  

Tying in with another popular brand is a great way to gain maximum exposure when launching a new product range, explained Yvonne.  Alex and Ani recently launched their new ring collected and to showcase the collection to the press they partnered with the popular South William Street nail art bar Tropical Popical where guests were treated to a file and colour and some Alex and Ani rings to adorn fingers once the fab nail art was completed.  To show off the complete looks guests were asked to take part in the fun finger catwalk and snap some pics for their blog and social media channels - a simple yet effect idea which saw the brand get lots of positive online coverage. 

Yvonne (although a little shy to admit ) has played a major part in the growth and success of the brand on Irish shores with her creative vision and clever events and PR campaigns, which have captured the right audience and given the brand a platform from which to grow. Yvonne really honed in on the power social media can have when trying to capitalize online brand awareness.  Over the years she has developed strong relationships with the Irish fashion bloggers who have supported the brand through their own social media platforms giving Alex & Ani a larger online presence which has aided in the success of its popularity in Ireland.  The launch of rings and necklaces has been a steady growth but given the brands popularity I think its a given that the fans will be adding to their collection and sales will successfully climb again this year.