With engagement-ring sales continuing to soar, Charleston, S.C.–based jewelry store Croghan’s Jewel Box knew its competitive advantage came in offering experiences. So it stepped up its branding, social media, and partnerships in hopes of wooing those lucky couples in love.
To snag those ring shoppers, Croghan’s Jewel Box established new partnerships with local hotels, such as Charleston’s new luxury hotel Emeline, and increased its engagement-ring posts on key sites like Facebook and Instagram, says Rhett Outten, co-owner and head of marketing for Croghan’s Jewel Box.
The result, Outten says, has been more connection with clients, as well as with repeat customers who want to work with a family-owned jeweler, keeping this century-old business relevant and, most important, busy.
“What we’ve realized is that you can buy jewelry anywhere, so we’ve honed in how we make people feel—that’s the most important thing,” Outten says. “We really have the most unique opportunity to offer people an experience, and that’s what we try to do.”
The store’s partnership with the Emeline started when the hotel’s bridal team reached out with a marketing idea; the hotel had opened in July 2020 and wanted to establish itself as a wedding destination. The two businesses now offer a travel package with a two-night stay in Emeline’s luxury rooms that comes with a private shopping experience at Croghan’s Jewel Box.
During that Heirlooms of Emeline shopping experience, the couple has the store all to themselves, receiving the staff’s undivided attention, Outten says. They also receive other special perks, such as a free jewelry cleaning and a glass of champagne as they shop.
Tourism and social media are among the top ways that Croghan’s Jewel Box finds new clients, Outten says. Charleston not only has a long-standing reputation for historic charm but has also received national attention in recent years from publications such as Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, which have ranked Charleston as the best small city in the United States to visit for more than a decade.
Croghan’s Jewel Box works hard to stay relevant with consumers, who love the store’s 118-year-old building, as well as its mix of antique jewelry with new designers and a complete bridal collection.
“Being the oldest in town gives us years of experience,” Outten says. “Plus, we’re on our fourth generation working here—and we’re lucky that [that generation] want[s] to be a part of this business,” bringing youth and vitality to the product selection as well as keeping its social media on point.
That includes giving young couples looking for engagement rings or any kind of jewelry special attention, Outten says. For example, the store uses its second-floor drawing room as an area for private sales. The room itself is romantic enough, with its mahogany furniture and antique accessories. But it also has a private elevator, allowing a potential fiancé to surprise his wife-to-be with a unique area in which to pop the question, where he can get her whole family upstairs without her noticing.
“We follow where our customers lead,” Outten says, and they are looking for those one-of-a-kind experiences to make lifelong memories. Add a bottle of champagne, she says, and you likely have customers for life, ones who’ll return for vacations with family and friends.
A strong Instagram following also keeps them coming back, Outten says. She notes that the store has worked diligently over the past few years, and especially during the coronavirus pandemic, to maintain strong ties with customers online and via social media. Hotel partnerships also help—another area hotel keeps a small display of Croghan’s jewelry in its lobby, and a QR code on the display box directs people to the jeweler’s website.
“People are so thirsty for connection right now,” Outten says. “In the digital world, you can create an experience that’s not as intimidating [as shopping for a ring or jewelry in-store]. By looking online, they know we have prices that will meet anyone’s budget. We want everyone to leave here, whether they spent $5,000 or $50,000, to feel like it was awesome and they got just what they wanted.”
Top: Croghan’s Jewel Box is wooing engaged couples with local promotions and savvy social media. (All photos courtesy of Croghan’s Jewel Box)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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