JCK Show: Collecting collectors

Every customer who enters a jewelry store has the potential to become a jewelry collector, said conference speaker Cynthia Renee of Cynthia Renee Company. Jewelry collectors, however, must be carefully cultivated through communication and understanding.

Collecting, she said, is a primal instinct that shows up from childhood-think baseball cards-through adulthood. Combine that with the instinct for ornamentation, and the result is a public ripe to be tapped for collecting fine jewelry.

The first step toward capturing that audience is to develop a collector culture, she said. “Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Swim out to it.”

Customers can be developed into any number of collecting specialties, whether it’s charms, Black Hills gold, antique jewelry, unique gemstones, or designer pieces.

Among the best collectors to cultivate are female self purchasers, Renee said. She noted that American women represent the group controlling the majority of income in the world. To develop this group into collectors, relationship building is key. To accomplish this, the jeweler must keep notes on each customer and maintain regular, personalized contact. Renee suggests, for example, sending magazine clippings pertaining to the client’s favorite gemstone.

To make the jewelry more special, present the piece with a special display case, a copy of the rendering, or a related book.

“People don’t just have a desire, you have to create a desire,” she said.

Communication with each customer will help a jeweler identify her particular interest. Each customer contact should be documented with information that includes details of any purchase, the date of the visit, the price range of any items of interest, and personal notes from the conversation.

“You really have to organize for it,” she said. “If you don’t, well, then it’s just a dream.”