Happy new year!
I don’t know about you, but if I never eat anything again, it’ll be too soon. Between the Armenian grilled-meat fest my parents ordered for Christmas, the pizza party I had for New Year’s, and the heaps of cookies, biscuits, and brownies currently piled up in my kitchen, I am in dire need of a starvation diet.
But I know myself, and diets (starvation or otherwise) aren’t my thing. My new year’s resolutions tend to be broad life goals: learn how to cook (a perennial to-do), read more novels, hike Mt. Baldy. Making a formal list is the only way I know to keep myself accountable.
Senior editor Jennifer Heebner recently wrote a blog post entitled “My 3 Wishes for Jewelers in 2016,” and it got me thinking: What would I resolve to do in 2016 if I were a jeweler? Here are the three things that would top my list.
1. Give Snapchat a go.
There’s a reason Snapchat is being called “the one to watch in 2016.” The photo- and video-sharing app is poised to eclipse Twitter as an advertising vehicle for marketers aiming to reach millennials—largely due to its sophisticated video offering. Now, I know that an app based on the concept of images and video clips that disappear shortly after they’ve been viewed is a little foreign to those of us born before 1980, but Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all seemed fairly incomprehensible when they were introduced, too. The faster you download the app, the faster you can start familiarizing itself with how it works. Find your way to the Stories section and you’ll see how brands, from media giants such as Vice to civic enterprises such as the city of Los Angeles, are making use of Snapchat. And don’t be surprised to find yourself slipping down the homemade-video rabbit hole.
2. Invest in local designers with great stories.
At the core of every jewelry business lies great jewelry—one would think. But it’s easy to get complacent and stock the same ol’ classics and variations of the same ol’ trends. Every city has a contingent of local designers making cool, interesting jewelry. Take time to find them—at craft fairs, in fashion boutiques, on Snapchat!—and create a showcase in your store featuring local talent. I’m based in LA, where there’s no shortage of creative jewelers. If I had a retail store in town, I’d be knocking on the door of Daniela Villegas. Raised in Mexico City, the designer works out of a studio in Hollywood and creates fantastical, nature-inspired jewels that evoke her travels (a recent trip to Peru, for example) and transform creepy-crawly critters into gorgeous, gem-studded talismans (check out her awesome collection of scarab pieces). While we’re always being reminded to think globally, the world we actually encounter is, by definition, local. Take advantage of the riches in your own backyard and localize your business with fresh, young talent.
Khepri ring by Daniela Villegas, $1,875
3. Attend at least two (better yet, three) face-to-face jewelry gatherings.
Okay, okay, I’ve talked about this one before. But I still believe it to be a critical factor in upping your retail game. Whether it’s an educational event such as the American Gem Society Conclave, coming to Washington, D.C., April 13–16, or a major buying show such as JCK Las Vegas, scheduled for June 3–6, make a point to get out of your store and meet like-minded retailers. You’ll find people struggling with the same challenges and increase your chances of finding clever ways to surmount them. In an era of digital relationships, nothing beats the power of meeting IRL (in real life).
If none of these resolutions resonates with you, then break out your notepad (or your Notes app) and think big:
Resolve to grow. What if you doubled your sales? How would your store change? What would you buy? Who would you hire to help you keep growing?
What if you could attract your dream customers on a daily basis? Who would they be? What would they like to see in your store?
What if you could travel anywhere to source your next big thing? Where would you go?
As Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich fame says, “My point is, your growth is up to you. If you want to learn how to dress better, improve your sex life, make more money…whatever! But without stepping back and thinking about what you would want your life to be…how will you get there? Is it just answering 20 percent more emails? Somehow, I don’t think so.”