No Doom and Gloom Retailers

Hello JCK blog readers. I’m new to the JCK staff and am eager to blog about retail stories. I’d like to start with an anti-recessionary sentiment that seems to be teetering on a movement. Here goes: 

Good ideas come to people at the oddest times. For store owner Dale Condy, owner of Gems of La Costa, his infectious “No Doom and Gloom” campaign hit him while watching a football game. 

“The GIA at that time announced layoffs, there was even more doom and gloom in the industry and there was negativity in my head,” says Condy. “My staff noticed it and their motivation and spirits were dampened.”

Handy with Photoshop, Condy created the “no doom and gloom” round graphic with a red slash through the words to create his now-famous stickers and buttons. After a pep talk with himself and his staff, Condy was ready to share his upbeat message with customers starting with stickers on his counter as part of an in-store distribution effort. “Customers loved it,” exclaimed Condy. 


The new ‘doom and gloom’ button includes the web address.

Condy then brought his message to the industry with the 100 stickers he brought with him to the Tucson Gem Show in early 2009. Howard Hauben, president of H2 Events, liked the idea so much that he used his own money to work with Condy’s contractor of choice Zazzle.com. Hauben purchased 200 stickers, 100 of which were distributed at Basel and another 100 handed out at the AGS Conclave event in early April.

Back at his Carlsbad, CA, store, Condy was receiving huge amounts of news coverage in his local market. And, his customers took notice. “In March 2009, business was down 20%,” says Condy. “By Mother’s Day business was only down 1%. The campaign gave us a huge energy boost.”

In addition to accolades from customers and becoming the overnight local media darling, Condy was on the receiving end of some nice gifts from industry members. “One guy from an engraving company sent me a ‘no doom and gloom’ engraved stainless steel business card holder,” says Condy. The store owner has even made an upscale diamond-set version of the button for his wife Linda.  


The ‘doom and gloom’ button goes upscale.

But what amazed Condy most was the industry’s “overwhelmingly positive response,” says Condy. “For the first time I really felt the power of this industry come back to me.”

Other industry members are picking up news of the upbeat campaign on social networking websites. Condy is linking to many of these websites through his blog at www.nodoomgloom.blogspot.com

As word spreads, Condy has even seen the campaign “go global,” says Condy. “On Google, I’ve seen Spanish, Japanese and Korean versions of the button.”

Closer to home, the anti-recession sentiment has turned into a “movement” of sorts across the US. Susan Eisen, owner of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, is keenly aware of the “no doom and gloom” stickers, but doesn’t want to copy the effort. But in her weekly radio program on KTSM 690 AM News Talk in El Paso, Texas, Eisen encourages listeners not to buy in to the mainstream media’s constant negative coverage of the economy. 

Eisen admits times are tough for jewelers, but she emphasized in a recent phone interview “this is the time for retailers to emphasize their services,” says Eisen. “These days, if all you do is sell jewelry, I feel sorry for you. I’m so busy with appraisals I’ve had to hire an assistant.”

In Mobile, Alabama, Margie and Craig Smith of Private Collection, is another store owner couple who have been busy handing out “no gloom and doom” stickers to customers. A mini-billboard greets customers at the front door, stating “no doom and gloom is spoken here, just great prices.”

According to a report from Alabama’s “Press-Register,” the Smith’s “no doom and gloom” campaign was part of their response to the 3/50 Project. Started by Cinda Baxter of a Minnesota-based retail consultant group, the 3/50 Project encourages consumers to spend $50 at three local retail outlets in an effort to support local businesses.