Preferred Jewelers International, a membership organization for independent jewelers based in Miami, hosted its first-ever conference Feb. 1-2 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dallas.
The organization, which re-launched in January after debuting in 2011, is the brainchild of wife-and-husband consulting team Andie Weinman and Joe Murphy, who own Continental Buying Group, a buying firm with a roster of around 100 independent retailers.
The co-founders launched Preferred Jewelers International to give independents an advantage when competing against national chains and web-only retailers. For $400 a month, members receive digital support in the form of social media and search engine optimization management, and the support of other retailers in the organization—via a national warranty stipulating that jewelry bought in your store will be serviced or sent back for service at any of the member retailers around the country (there are currently 80). And, in turn, member retailers agree to service or ship any piece bought at a Preferred Jewelers store.
A screenshot from the new Preferred Jewelers International website, courtesy of Preferred Jewelers International
The give-and-take, says Weinman, ultimately serves the customer, who will ideally have confidence that her investment will essentially be under warranty even if she or he moves across the country. Banded together under the Preferred moniker (and on its website), the retailers will collectively garner better rankings in Google searches.
Which is simply smart business, says Weinman. “When I found out how much the big chains pay for top ranking positions on Google, I was floored—it can be $10,000 a day.” Preferred Jewelers has its own social media expert, handling Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites for its clients, many of whom aren’t versed in digital marketing.
Murphy says he hopes “Experiences That Last a Lifetime,” the trademarked tagline for Preferred Jewelers, will be as ubiquitous as “Every Kiss Begins With Kay” in the next few years. “We’re trying to get that to be known on the consumer level,” he says. “The more doors we have, the easier it will become.” And, presumably, the more cache a membership with the organization will have, thanks to heightened visibility.
The organization’s first membership conference featured a family-style, sit-down dinner, “so everyone could get to know each other,” says Weinman. There was also the unveiling of the new Preferred Jewelers website, speakers from outside the jewelry industry talking about social media and other current topics, and a performance from a touring company of Jersey Boys.