From art crawls to wine tasting parties, one-day-a-month social events are making jewelry stores a regular part of how people spend their free time. In a two-part blog, find out why some store owners that have been hosting these events for a couple years and since scaled back, while others are adamant about keeping a consistent monthly schedule, and some are just getting started, putting their own spin on these regularly scheduled socials.
In February 2009 Lee Krombholz, owner of Krombholz Jewelers, started hosting “First Friday” monthly social events at his store. The goal was to: “Bring people together in a social setting to develop a culture of people who enjoy being together in our store,” says the Cincinnati-based store owner.
From the start, the events were never about selling. Event-based sales incentives or discounts were never offered. Jewelry display cases even remained locked during the monthly events. But Krombholz would display new collections or unique product offerings such as estate pieces from select vendors to add jewelry and “artistic” elements to his social events.
Different vendors, new collections, and event themes got existing and potential customers, as well as friends, coming to the monthly socials. In the first two years there was always an established event theme, live music, food and beverages, a jewelry component, and a local artist’s work displayed.
But starting in 2011, Krombholz decided to make some changes. The first was to drop artists from the events. “It was a lot of work for the artists but didn’t result in the desired exposure or sales they’d hoped for,” says Krombholz. More importantly, the ambitious schedule was difficult to maintain. Starting this year Krombholz took the best of his First Friday monthly events and expanded them to be bigger and better bimonthly events.
Another major change for Krombholz is changing his no-sales policy at his once no-sales monthly socials. His yearly event schedule is now a mix of the best non-sales First Friday events with his regular store sales events.
So far this year’s scheduled events include an annual sale in March, an extreme makeover event in May (a tie-in to the store owner’s involvement in ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), the exotic and classic car “Cruise-in” in July, Dog Days to benefit a local animal shelter in August, an estate jewelry sale in October, and a special vendor show in December. Each event will get the Frist Friday treatment with the usual crowd-pleasing perks of music, drinks, and food.
With the third of new his bimonthly scheduled events coming up next week, Krombholz realizes that there is some cost in halving his event schedule, but remains confident that his brand of monthly-turned-bimonthly events will continue to achieve their goal.
“We may be missing some people each month, but we’ve established that culture of people who enjoy socializing and spending time with us in our store, which has allowed us to develop many store advocates,” says Krombholz.