New York City, Sept. 3, 2019. From spring 2018 to now, student signups for the English-language Pearls As One (PAO) course from the Cultured Pearl Association of America (CPAA) have tripled.
The increase is the direct result of financial assistance from the Tahitian Pearl Producer’s Association of French Polynesia (TPPAFP), which has invested significantly to promote the course, encourage student signups, and increase the number of pearl fans nationwide. Since PAO’s inception in 2016, the TPPAFP has invested $350,000 with CPAA, which used the money to promote PAO to the trade on Instagram and Facebook. By year end, another $83,000 will be invested, this time targeting consumers on the same mediums. Signup numbers are exploding; in spring 2018, 20,000 students had taken PAO, and now signups have surpassed 65,000.
“We are averaging 700–1,000 signups per day,” says Jeremy Shepherd, course creator, CPAA treasurer, founder of PearlParadise.com, and co-founder of Pearl-Guide.com. “The engagement is higher than I’ve ever seen.”
The CPAA’s secret to achieving results like these? Marketing expert and PearlsOfJoy.com founder Kevin Canning, who is also the chair of the CPAA’s marketing committee and co-founder of Pearl-Guide.com. Canning has been involved with e-commerce and online marketing since 2002 and knows some of the biggest challenges for brands are finding the right audiences and knowing when to scale up and down in the most cost-effective way.
“To date, we’ve been able to register around 60,000 users at a cost per acquisition (CPA) of approximately $4,” he explains. “This is 60 percent lower than our goal CPA. Achieving this rate has not been easy. There’s no secret formula other than constant testing and adjusting.”
Canning and Shepherd aim to exceed 100,000 signups by 2020.
South Sea pearls shot by Ted Morrison
Mike Wilson’s entire staff at Wilson & Son Jewelers in Scarsdale, N.Y., took Pearls As One in 2017, and within a year, pearl jewelry sales had dramatically increased at the 114-year-old store. “My pearl sales tripled,” he says. “And we display all of the certificates of completion in the store. PAO boosted our knowledge and our confidence.”
To join CPAA and take advantage of PAO by way of a special code for your staff to learn for free, reach out to Jeremy@pearlparadise.com.
The PAO Pearl Specialist Certification Course was created in 2016 by Shepherd and CPAA in partnership with the world’s biggest pearl producers. Those groups include: The Tahitian Pearl Producer’s Association of French Polynesia, Jewelmer, the Japan Pearl Exporters’ Association, Paspaley, and Atlas Pearls. PAO brings together the expertise and passion of pearl farmers, retailers, processors, wholesalers, and importers, all with the shared goal of promoting pearls.
PearlsAsOne.org is the most comprehensive pearl education available in the trade. The course is divided into 10 modules and covers topics like the history of the pearl industry, pearl valuation, and current production methods. PAO is available to take in English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Russian, Vietnamese, Italian, Japanese, and Chinese.
CPAA is a nonprofit founded in 1957. The group comprises the finest manufacturers, wholesalers, dealers, and suppliers of cultured pearls in the United States, and its goals are to improve retail marketability of pearls and cultivate demand among consumers. Through promotion, education, public relations, and unwavering commitment to the category, CPAA aims to inspire an authentic passion for all cultured pearl varieties. For more information about becoming a certified pearl expert, please visit PearlsAsOne.org. To learn more about the Cultured Pearl Association of America, please visit CPAA.org.