For my new review, I decided to select Park Lane Jewelry. I had an ulterior motive: I have had a jewelry and gift business for nearly 50 years. My jewelry is mostly sterling silver, with genuine gemstones. I carry a little gold and some ivory jewelry, and a couple of lines of costume jewelry.
I’m semi-retired now, but still like to look at the jewelry that is on the market today.
The type of jewelry I sell is called “bridge jewelry” because it fills the space between the costume category and fine jewelry.
Some of Park Lane’s pieces would fit in this category, but because most of their metal is not silver or gold and they use many other materials, such as shell, leather, wood, crystal, and glass beads plus the less expensive gemstones, I’d classify them more as a high-end costume jewelry.
Name: Park Lane Jewelry
Owners: Arthur and Shirley LeVin
Location: Schaumburg, IL and at least 10 other countries
Price: Registration fee of $39 plus choice of starter kits
Rank: 3 out of 5
Park Lane Jewelry is a MLM (Multilevel Marketing) company that has been around since 1955. The company calls itself “the world’s leading direct sales jewelry party plan company.” They sell necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, watches and men’s jewelry (these include a few “manly-looking” styles.)
I’ve looked through their catalog and found some things I wouldn’t mind selling — and that is a compliment. People have told me again and again that I have excellent taste in jewelry, and at some of the big gift shows I’ve attended, other buyers would follow me around to see which lines I’d select.
This is not a brag — it’s simply a skill I’ve discovered I have. Some of Park Lane Jewelry’s items I wouldn’t carry, because they just don’t fit my line — they haven’t the look. Some are very attractive, regardless of the materials.
So, Tell Us What The Products Are Made Of?
According to Park Lane, the base metal is usually brass or “jeweler’s white metal.” This latter is a great material because it looks like sterling silver, but does not tarnish. (By the way, to protect your sterling, seal it in a plastic bag when you are not wearing it. By keeping it out of the air, you will keep it from tarnishing.)
Earring posts are surgical steel. Some of the wires may be surgical steel as well, though from the way they look in the catalog it appears they may use sterling wires as well. Most beads and pearls are glass and will be specified as such. If there is no specification, they are usually Lucite or acrylic.
Gemstones can be faceted glass, Swarovsky crystals, or cubic zirconia. Additional components may be leather, enamel epoxy, fabric, shells, suede, wood, etc.
I would imagine when they use sterling or gold, it’s an overlay, and not the real meal deal. When an item’s description just says “silver,” it’s the white metal with the silver look.
Do They Have A Guarantee?
Yes, they do. For watches, there’s a 30-day guarantee in which the company will replace or exchange the item free of charge. After 30 days, there’s a replacement fee of $12 plus $6.50 shipping and handling.
For the other items, the guarantee is for a period of 120 days after purchase; you can exchange or replace for free during this period. After 120 days, you’ll pay a replacement fee of $7 plus shipping and handling.
If you want a cash refund, ask for it within the first 30 days.
Are Their Prices Reasonable?
Well, yes and no.
As with any MLM, the price is higher than it would probably be if the piece were selling through a retail store. The reason: They have to pay their distributors’ commissions. The company keeps their product unique by making it attainable only through their distributors.
I have learned that, when selling jewelry, you need a wide range of prices. Everyone might love that $400 bracelet, but can’t afford it, so they will pick a less-expensive piece. Yet, it is an excellent thing to have a few high-end items in your display.
It adds value to the whole collection; it makes everything somehow look better to the customer. The higher priced piece assures them that they are buying from a quality outfit. And, occasionally, you have the thrill of selling a high-end piece.
Park Lane has mastered this ploy. Their prices range from $15 to $700. A good range of prices gives your customer a wider choice.
In general, I’d say their prices are a bit high, based on the materials they are using. These materials are on the low end of the scale of cost. Example: Sterling would be quite a bit more expensive than their “white metal.”
Their pieces do appear to be well-made, and their styles are excellent, so, this makes up a bit for low-end components. In fact, I’d say their designers are what save them from being mundane.
What Does It Cost To Join?
First, everyone pays a $39 registration fee.
Then, buy one of the starter kits. There are three:
- Quick Start Kit: $500 value. $99, or free if you make up to $600 in sales on your first party.
- Standard Kit: $1,000 value. Price: $229.
- Presidential Kit: $2,500 value. Price: $639
How Do You Earn With Park Lane?
It appears you have two options, though I couldn’t find out a lot about the first one. It’s called a Social Stylist. This person buys a premade website for $15 a month and then receives a 20% commission for sales made through the website.
The other option is to become a Fashion Director. For this one, you choose one of the three kits. Your starter kits, by the way, also include a one-year website subscription.
Now, let’s look at the compensation plan. The printed information in the graph below will show you what each level includes. (Sorry the print is so small…I had to use a magnifying glass to read part of it.)
As you can see, your commission amount goes up as you advance through the ranks, but so do your sales and recruiting requirements.
This video may clarify the compensation plan a little bit.
Moving through the ranks, you and your team will be required to sell large amounts of jewelry and recruit more people to gain each new rank. As a Fashion Director, to remain active you must generate at least $200 in personal orders per month. Commissions are paid on a weekly basis.
If you want to qualify for bonuses and commissions you must generate at least $6,000 in personal sales volume a month for two consecutive months.
In other words, you have to sell lots of jewelry and have enough recruits under you helping you to sell, to qualify for your bonuses. That does not sound easy.
The company has some other incentive programs. Once you are eligible, you can receive a car allowance. For example, if you lease a new Mercedes, you get a $700 bonus each month to pay the lease. Free trips are offered and free jewelry and recognition from the company can come your way as well.
Parties Are The Thing To Gather New Customers And Recruits
Are you a party animal? Hopefully you can find friends or interested folks as potential customers who want to come to a party or host one. There are little bonuses for your hostess. As she provides the house and will most likely serve drinks or snacks or both, she deserves some compensation. She also gets some jewelry at discounted prices.
In Kodiak, Alaska, after I closed my first shop, I made my money giving parties, and did quite well at them. I gave my hostess a discount on her purchases. After many parties, I’d collected lots of appetizer recipes, and put them into a little book that I gave my hostess. A couple of these recipes are still on my favorite list.
I’ll give you one downside of parties: You have lots of things to carry into the hostess’s house to set up your display. It seemed to me that very often the party I gave was upstairs. Oh, joy!
The other bad thing: The menfolk knew a bunch of women were coming over, so they would leave, either just before I arrived or just afterward. Did they help me carry all those supplies? No. What happened to chivalry?
Not a lot of focus on downline. Park Lane just wants their people to sell jewelry (or buy it for themselves.)
Jewelry is attractive and well-made.
You can work when you want.
There are bonuses for trips or a Mercedes
Well-known company, so not much need to advertise.
A lot of work, but could be fun.
Jewelry is expensive
It takes a lot of sales to qualify for bonuses.
Parties are lots of work, and you need to do as many as you can.
Park Lane Jewelry offers no income disclosure statement (IDS) so how can you tell if distributors make money or not?
When you sell jewelry, it is hard to sell just one line, because you may not have enough variation in styles to appeal to all tastes. However, when looking through Park Lane’s catalog, I can see that they include a lot of style choices.
It’s nice, by the way, that they have included a few clip-on earrings. There are often a few women who do not have pierced ears, and being able to offer them a clip-on style or two is a benefit.
Yes, there are some very pretty pieces available from Park Lane, but do remember that one reason they seem so expensive is that they are! For the materials used, the prices are high, and can influence the amount of sales you make.
I do believe that Park Lane Jewelry has built an extraordinary jewelry business, and I commend the LaVins for their industry and hard work.
I do not believe their product values are actually reflected in their pricing, though. Let me explain by example:
Say you are Park Lane jewelry consultant who just joined and you are giving a party. There is a $50 piece that sells at this very first party. As a new distributor, your commission on that piece would be 30%, or $15. Not bad, right?
That leaves a balance of $35 for the company. You could say that this is the retail price, as the commission to you has been tacked on. Thus, the company will still get their full value for the piece.
Park Lane Jewelry does their own manufacturing, so for the sake of this example, let’s say that, instead of being Park Lane, you are a small business owner who wants to add this piece to your stock. You could then purchase that piece at wholesale, which in this case would be half of the retail of $35. This is the most common wholesale rate. It’s called “keystone.”
Now the purchase price is $17.50.
Perhaps you have a much larger business and want to buy a number of pieces like this one. In that case, you might be able to buy at a jobber rate, which is 1/3 of retail. Then you would pay about $11.65 for the piece.
Now, let’s say you have a huge company that operates in many countries, and you need to buy enough of those pieces to ensure each business is stocked. You might get a much lower lot price — perhaps 1/4 of retail or lower.
Now, back to Park Lane Jewelry. They manufacture their own products. That means they don’t have to pay a middleman at all. They do, however, have to pay their suppliers. This means they have to pay designers, buy all their materials, and cover manufacturing costs.
Please note: With the inexpensive materials they use (as opposed to sterling or gold and all real, all natural gemstones), their manufacturing cost will be a savings over using the pricier supplies. Who knows? I have no idea how low their price of product might go, but I am guessing it could well be under $10.
They may have other expenses that must be deducted, but, still, the piece itself did not cost much at all.
Now look at the money they have made on that one piece of jewelry. Perhaps they don’t want to give out a disclosure statement because it would seem like they were almost the only ones making money.
And for the most part, they probably are.
Any MLM company requires lots of time and hard work, and the willingness to get in front of new people all the time. It is not an easy business. You’d better really love their jewelry and really want to sell it if you expect to succeed.
There are two important attributes to look for when selling jewelry: Quality and style. The optimum is for the piece you are selling to combine these two. I think in some cases Park Lane exhibits both of these, but I think they come out further ahead because many of their pieces have style, even though the real value of quality in materials is missing.
You’d better buy the piece because you love the style, because it is made from low-end components.
I am amazed, though, at how far good style can go in the world today! Park Lane is a case in point.
Bottom line: If you love jewelry, you might try this company. If you want an online opportunity that will help you build a long-term business, I think you would be better off looking elsewhere.
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