JCK Show: Hearts On Fire breakfast wows attendees

Loud chants of “Hearts On Fire” are the preferred alternative to clapping at meetings of retailers who sell this diamond brand. At a breakfast meeting on Friday at the Sands Expo Center, several hundred HOF retailers met to hear from company officials about some new initiatives. Among them is a healthy new ad budget to promote the HOF brand in numerous markets nationwide.

Principal Glenn Rothman announced that the day after the 2002 HOF University-slated for Sept. 27-new consumer television and radio ads promoting the brand will enter 35 specific markets. “By the end of 2004, we hope to have the ads airing in 100 markets where HOF retailers are located,” Rothman said. HOF aims to spend $30 million over a 27-month period, with a quarter of that sum scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2002. Rothman said the amount set aside for the ads was a group decision made by HOF, its European partner Eurostar, and HOF retailers.

The lighthearted ads were a hit with HOF retailers, and laughter rippled throughout the room as they were shown. “And many of the ads originated in-house,” boasted Rothman.

Other meeting highlights included news of a new HOF bridal jewelry line, a new free e-mail service to retailers at HOF.com, and a new annual retailer-of-the-year award. The inaugural award was given to HOF retailer Gary Hill of Leo Hamil & Co. in San Diego, Calif. Hill earned the recognition for extraordinary growth in annual sales in a three-year period-from $21,000 in his first year selling HOF diamonds to $680,000 in his third year-and for impressive gross margins and a healthy inventory turn.

As a treat to loyal retailers of the HOF brand, the company also brought its $5 million diamond-studded, Oscar-renowned gown to the breakfast for all to see close up. A model walked around the room showing off the gown, which bears some 2,500 HOF round brilliant stones. Company head Susan Rothman said this was the gown’s first public appearance since being worn at the 2002 Oscar awards by TV personality Jules Asner.