Rocki Gorman is blazing the fashion trail in eclectic Southwestern style.
Editor's Note: As statewide rules and regulations continue to change, please contact retailers for their latest store hours and delivery capabilities.
Strutting your own unique style on the artistic streets of Santa Fe is made easier by Rocki Gorman, a premier jewelry designer and southwestern boutique with a flair for inspired fashion. Carrying women’s apparel, accessories and primarily, a gorgeous collection of originally-designed jewelry, the store is a staple for visitors to New Mexico’s mecca of art and culture. But with a steadfast approach to customer service and digital presence, Rocki Gorman is reaching far beyond the geographic boundaries of the Southwest. We talked with store owner and designer, Rocki Gorman, herself about the brand and how they’ve balanced the hurdles of the past year.
Tell us about your brand/store style – what does style mean to you?
Well, I embody an awful lot of different looks in my shop. I adore the boho, the shabby-chic, the Western, and we kind of mix all of that in my store, and my jewelry reflects that as well. In my current designs, I'm incorporating vegan leather with carved-bone pendants, and they're absolutely stunning. I carry a company that I just adore called Heart's Desire. She's out of San Antonio, Texas, and it's just the most perfect backdrop for my jewelry. We're also renovating, taking a chance. I think we're going to be around awhile, and so my store is a wooden floor, and brick slat walls also throughout, so it has a very organic feel to it.
Has the company’s digital strategy evolved over the last year? What worked well?
Well, I must tell you that when our state was shut down, we were shut down from March through June of 2020. I had a website presence but nothing really on it, and I decided to build that website up, and that helped my collectors stay in touch. I also have social media with Instagram, and Facebook, and through those outlets, I have been able to keep my collectors aware of changes and new designs, and now it's just one beautiful marriage.
What is your best tip for online growth/engaging with your audience?
I think that it's very important to stay in touch with your clients, your customers, your collectors. Try to stay active at least three times, four times a week, if you can, because they want to know that you're okay, and you're still standing. Go the extra mile for customer service. Offer free shipping, if it's a digital site. Just be available to your customers and let them know that you care, because without them, you don't exist.
How has the re-opening process gone – have you changed anything about the store?
What I decided to do was not carry as much merchandise so the spacing in the store would accommodate the six feet distance for customers. We have, of course, hand sanitizers everywhere. The brick and mortar, of course struggled throughout the pandemic, but now that we're back up and running, I've learned a couple of ways to just ride this wave, and I'm very excited for the future.
Do you feel buyer confidence has returned? What factors influence your answer?
Well, our brand, my parents started this business in 1960, so, we've been around a long time. I really am excited to see customers returning, and they are anxious to buy and to support. It's a beautiful community of collectors that really take to your brand and your store, and want to keep you going, and I'm so blessed for that. And, yes, people are happy to be out, and it's an exciting time. It's a rebirth, and that's how I'm operating my shop.
Are you planning to set up at trade show events this year? If so, which ones?
Not at the moment. I've been asked to go to several trade shows. I'm not ready yet, and I don't want to keep bringing [up] pandemic, because sooner or later, that's ancient history, but through the process, I've lost five silversmiths, and the two of them are now [COVID-19] long haulers. So it's been interesting to rebuild my collections...I'm not quite ready to get out there and do trade shows yet.
Which products are selling well right now?
So what I'm seeing trending in stones, and this is quite interesting, is the darker lapis, the Afghanistan Lapis, as opposed to denim lapis which is from California. It seems to have a really strong growth right now. Larimar has always been and is a good seller. Bumblebee Jasper is kind of new on the scene. It's an interesting mix of yellows and grays and browns. And of course White Horse, everybody loves White Horse, and the go-to stone, Turquoise.
Are you keeping an eye on any current Western fashion trends?
In my store I'm very blessed. I carry Pat Danke who makes extraordinary Western designs, and it's selling very well in the store. We kind of play mix and match with the clothing. Pat Danke’s fringe, again Heart's Desire with the ruffles and the lace. I think people are really taking to that look, fringe, fringe, fringe.
What advice would you give to Western businesses in the current market?
Hang in there. Do not give up. We are the true Americana, and we need you. We need the Western retailers out there to keep this lifestyle going.
Give us your best style tip!
Layers, upon layers, of clothing and jewelry. I love a funky top with a great skirt, with a vest, and then lots of beads, whether it be pearls or lapis or of course, sterling, turquoise, just layer up and have fun with your jewelry. Now's the time for us to have fun. So let's go out there and do it.
This interview is part of an ongoing series that W&E is conducting with retailers. Click here to peruse more stories and interviews from the retail industry.