Not every jeweler felt the love this Valentine’s Day, but those that did well scored big business with special orders, engagement rings, and charms.
Some happy retailers, like David Rotenberg, owner of David Craig Jewelers in Newtown, Pa., had their best Valentine’s Day ever.
Driving traffic this year, he says, was a promotion where the store offered free roses and a greeting card with every purchase.
“We made it a one-stop shop,” he says. “I never expected much from it, but it was over the top. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it 10 years ago.”
Peter Manka Jr., owner of Ben Garelick Jewelers in Buffalo, N.Y., also pronounced himself pleased with the holiday. His overall sales increased 15 percent, and his biggest seller was Pandora, with sales up 40 percent.
“We had a lot of special orders for engagement rings in the beginning of the month for Valentine’s Day and some just made the deadline,” he says. Popular purchases included diamond pendants from Hearts On Fire and Simon G, “as well as lots of Honora pearls.”
Lindsey Smith, salsesperson at Buttermore Jewelers in Parkersburg, W. Va., also scored a “great holiday.”
“We had quite a few bridal sales and also sold a wide range of other items including Kameleon, Trollbeads, and infinity silver with diamonds,” she says.
Buttermore’s success stemmed in part from advertising on Facebook. “Facebook is great for us—I sell everything on there,” says Smith. “I have a buyer for the blue diamond I posted last night already.”
The promotion effort also relied on old media, including several radio ads. “We have people let us know that they heard about our Troll trunk shows on the radio,” says Smith. “We feel it is pretty good advertising and it is what we spend a good bit of our advertising budget on.”
Ryan Blumenthal, owner of Corinne Jewelers in Toms River, N.J., also calls business “great.”
“We had a great Valentine’s Day last year and we are 10 percent up from that,” he says. “The primary driver was bridal and we did a lot of Hearts On Fire engagement rings and Pandora.”
He partially credits his store’s increasing investment in online advertising.
“Whether it’s through an email blast or online advertising or through Facebook, this is how people are finding us,” he says. “It’s cost-effective and a fraction of what broad-based media cost and we can measure it. The same way people used to go to a number of stores, now they look at a number of stores online.”
Even though his area was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, Blumenthal says the consumer mood was upbeat.
“Most people around here have gotten their lives back together, although a lot of people are still waiting for insurance,” he says. “The silver lining is what happens when the insurance money comes in and the contract money comes in. You don’t want it to come in that way, but our local economy is going to wind up very busy with all the recovery efforts.”
Byron Strickland, manager of Strickland Jewelers in Enterprise, Ala., says his sales were only slightly up.
“We were happy to have more foot traffic,” he says. “Pandora was especially strong. We saw a small increase in diamond jewelry, although there were fewer sales on big ticket items.”
Things were more subdued in Honolulu, where Brenda Reichel of Carats and Karats says her average price was up, but the number of sales was down.
“It was definitely slower,” she says, noting that many consumers remain concerned about the economy. “I did have several calls and [requests] from Facebook in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day with men wanting to special order. But it would be late. All I could do was say: Hit the flowers.”
Meanwhile, Jennifer Boudrot, office manager of Bradley T. Harris Jeweler/Goldsmith in Atlanta, says that Valentine’s Day sales dropped from last year, although she adds that the holiday “has never been a big time for us.” She did have some people come in for custom designs and engagement rings.
Kristin Balliet, marketing and advertising director for Source Fine Jewelers, in Rochester, N.Y., also saw sales fall. Her top-selling items, like Pandora, had lower-price points.