The Jewelry District, Episode 20: Guest Kate Peterson

In This Episode
In this edition of The Jewelry District you’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates interview guest Kate Peterson, president and CEO of Performance Concepts. They’ll discuss stores reopening around the country, changes in consumer behavior, and educational resources to help your business come out of this crisis prepared.

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Show Notes
00:25 Introduction of Kate Peterson, president and CEO of Performance Concepts.
03:08 Rob asks Kate what she’s hearing about reopenings around the country.
09:10 Kate explains what companies have to do when reopening.
14:20 Kate discusses employee-employer relations.
17:40 Kate explains the best way for people to educate themselves during this time.

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Editor: Olivia Briley
Producer and engineer: Katey Clifford and Kathy Passero

Show Recap

Introducing Kate Peterson
Kate Peterson is president and CEO of Performance Concepts and is based in an old stomping ground of Victoria’s—Montgomery Village, Md. The state of Maryland has begun to reopen, but the area immediately surrounding Washington, D.C., is still closed. Kate started out in the jewelry industry working in a store at just 16. She was director of training at the original Kay Jewelers in Alexandria, Va., and training director of Sterling, as well as vice president of training for Littman Jewelers. This was all before she decided to branch off on her own with a business partner in the late 1990s to create Performance Concepts. Now they work with trade organizations; design training programs for retailers; and work with retailers directly to provide training services, organizational design, management development, and general consulting.

Changing Consumer Behavior
Rob asks Kate what they’re hearing as far as reopening and sales, and Kate says she sees no real consistency across the country. She is, however, seeing some pent-up demand as stores reopen—but that seems to fizzle out after a week. Those who are most successful are those who have put time in over the last two months figuring out what they had to do differently. You’ll hear Kate talk about the biggest changes in consumer behavior and how to prepare for dealing with those changes.

Handling the Reopening
Rob asks Kate how most people are handling the reopenings, and Kate emphasizes that no matter what companies do they must be consistent. Companies must take a stand on their procedures and stick to them—for instance, if they’re requiring people wear a mask. Another helpful hint is to tell people what you can do, not what you can’t—and to think of ways you can present yourself positively to your customers.

Employee-Employer Relations
There are restrictions across the country about how many people are allowed to be in a store at one time—and that includes yourself, your employees, and customers. With such limitations, it’s possible not all of your employees can return to business as usual. Kate suggests if you’re paying your employee to stay at home, you can tell them to volunteer their time toward their community, and also to your customers, to keep them engaged. Kate says the most important interview questions going forward will be about how they spent their time during COVID-19—and it’s important to make the most of it.

Resources and a Return to Work
Victoria asks Kate about some of the best pieces of education she’s come across during the crisis for further research, and Kate gives some great suggestions of webinars and conferences. Rob asks Kate how employers should handle those who are nervous to come back. Kate reminds us to be sensitive to others and to recognize there might be unknown issues at play. Don’t challenge the behavior of your employees and know when you need to bring someone else in for the time being to avoid having to pay the government back. Kate concludes that it is time for us to rise up to the standards the consumers are demanding.

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