21 Tips From 1966 on How Jewelers Can Attract More Teenage Business

I posed a question on Facebook recently asking JCK readers what value they placed on teenage customers. Ozcan Jewelers commented: “Every age matters, but teenagers are great customers.”

JCK’s Retail Jeweler Panel in the December 1966 issue of JCK fully agreed with that statement. More than 70 percent of the panel said “a satisfied teenage customer will become a loyal adult customer.” Former JCK editor George Holmes wrote that panelists spoke “highly of the youngsters’ honesty and willingness to pay their bills.”

Teenagers numbered 25 million at that time, with an annual disposable income of $12 billion. Girls at that time also spent close to $1 billion annually on jewelry. Teenage business accounted for an average of 10 percent of the panel’s yearly sales volume. That figure rose to 15 percent for those stores with volume of less than $100,000 a year, and dropped to 5.5 percent for the biggest stores with a volume of more than $300,000 a year (See the best-selling teenage jewelry in 1966).

A Massachusetts panelist was quoted as saying: “Whether yesterday’s teenage customers will develop into loyal adult customers depends on the store and its treatment of the teenager. When they’re ready to enter the adult world, their tendency is to go where they have been welcome and satisfied with merchandise and value and service.” 

Here are 21 tips the panel recommended to take advantage of the 13- to 19-year-old market in 1966:

  1. Keep up to date on teen tastes and stock merchandise they like, even though you don’t.
  2. Give them the same consideration you’d give to an adult.
  3. Employ a teenage sales person.
  4. Keep a pile of fashion magazines on the counter.
  5. Encourage young sales help to wear jewelry to work.
  6. Display teenage items in your window.
  7. Establish a Teen Department.
  8. Have a record department (folk, rock, and folk rock).
  9. Schedule spots on favorite teenage radio station, during evening study time.
  10. Run ads at a drive-in theater.
  11. Advertise in school publications.
  12. Encourage teenage charge accounts—with parental permission.
  13. Promote layaways.
  14. Invite seniors to your store for a gift.
  15. Offer fast free engraving and soldering of charms.
  16. Give talks at high schools and youth clubs.
  17. Take an active interest in high school athletics.
  18. Cultivate the Big Men on Campus—and the cheerleaders.
  19. Lend punch bowls for proms and parties.
  20. Invite sororities to hold their rush parties in your store.
  21. Stock school jewelry.

One of my Twitter followers had one more tip to add for jewelers today: