Jostens Doesn’t Have A Ring To It

Jostens Doesn't Have A Ring To It

We receive a few emails from them throughout the year. The juniors and seniors have had to attend mandatory junior ring or senior graduation meetings with them. As Pres students, most of us have heard of Jostens. And you probably know all about the class rings, graduation announcements and class apparel. We know we have to order all these things, but who are we getting them from? And who or what really is Jostens?

Formed by Otto Josten in 1897, the company was originally a keepsake jewelry repair shop. After creating class rings, Jostens quickly gained nationwide attention, and many schools began to employ the company. Following this, Jostens started creating more items directed towards high school graduation, like caps and gowns, yearbooks and other memorabilia.

But in recent years, sales have been stagnant. While declining yearbook sales have not been an issue here at Pres, where the sales have actually increased, CNN reports a 4.7% drop in yearbook sales nationally. With social media like Facebook and Instagram, it is so much easier to stay in touch with old classmates and friends. To millions of high schoolers, a high school yearbook and a class ring may just seem like more unnecessary expenses.

Additionally, with so many other cheaper alternatives for class rings, Jostens is sometimes forgotten. Many students don’t buy traditional class rings with the writing and thick exterior; they go for more simple and wearable styles.

Senior Kelly Steele purchased her junior ring from Jostens last year.  “They’re overrated,” she complains. “I can spend the same thing on something less ugly.”

These and other factors may have lead to the decline in the demand for Jostens’ products here at Pres.

On top of all this, the company has a meager 1.5 stars on Yelp. Many reviewers talk about the company’s poor customer service, complaining about the disregard with which Jostens treats its customers. And while their lifetime ring resizing policy is great, many Yelp reviewers complain that the company rarely responds to emails and leaves students without a cap and gown for graduation.

While Pres still partners with Jostens for junior rings, the school does not use the company for the yearbook. “The reason I changed companies was because I was being charged more than we had agreed,” said art teacher, Barb Purdy. “They claimed I had late charges but I didn’t.” Pres is now contracted with Herff Jones for the yearbook.  

Hoping to come out of a decade of declining sales, Jostens has revamped their product line, introducing new products, like class varsity crews and dogtags. CEO Chuck Mooty says, “We simply didn’t offer relevant products. Over 20 percent of our product movement now is in new products we introduced in the last year.”

In November 2015, after almost 120 years of business, the company was sold to Jarden Corporation for $1.5 billion. “I’m very excited to stay and continue our rejuvenation of this incredible organization. “My work is not done. My team’s work is not done.”

If Jostens wants to recapture Pres girls’ interests, perhaps it is time to reconstruct its product line and rethink their customer service strategies to stay in the industry for the next graduating class.