The Jewelry District, Episode 64: Guest Holly Wesche


You’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk with Holly Wesche, owner of Wesche Jewelers about everything from rocket launches to lessons learned in the past two years.

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Show Notes
01:20 The JCK editors introduce Holly Wesche, owner of Wesche Jewelers.
03:50 Holly describes how she got started in the jewelry industry.
07:10 Holly remarks on the tremendous success Wesche Jewelers has seen in the past two years.
09:00 The group discusses the paradigm shift that has occurred in the past two years in retail.
17:20 How have store events changed at Wesche Jewelers?
19:30 Victoria asks what product trends Holly has seen.
21:00 Rob asks Holly about the benefits of her involvement in associations.

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet
Plugs: jckonline.com@jckmagazine

Show Recap

Introducing Holly Wesche
Rob and Victoria introduce their guest, Holly Wesche, owner of Wesche Jewelers. She is based in Melbourne, Fla., on “the space coast,” near Cape Canaveral. They move on from rocket launches to how Holly’s career launched. Holly describes how, despite her family’s business, she fell into jewelry retail by chance. Growing up, she had not considered entering the industry. When Holly was in school studying journalism, she started a part-time job at a jewelry counter to make a little money. That’s when she was “bit by the jewelry bug.” When Holly got serious about her new career path, her dad had a heart-to-heart with her about taking up the family trade. He warned her to know how difficult it is to own one’s own business, but he knew she would be successful.

Wesche Jewelers’ Success Amid The Pandemic
Wesche Jewelers has had a strong few years recently. In 2021, they were up 48%—and that was after a very successful year. Wesche has experienced double-digit growth over the past two years, which surprised Holly and has caused her to feel gratitude. During the quarantine period, Wesche Jewelers was closed for six weeks. While the store was closed, Holly looked at the store’s budget and mapped out worst-case scenarios. However, once the store reopened, business immediately began to boom. At first, she thought it was the boomerang effect and waited for the bubble to burst, but it never did.

Dealing With a Paradigm Shift in Retail
Holly describes how things shifted for Wesche during the pandemic and how her team was able to adapt. They were already doing curbside pickup and virtual sales, but these used to be the exception instead of the rule. Her team was well-equipped to take those skills and put them into their everyday business practice. Another example is online payments. Wesche had been looking into the Podium payment platform before the pandemic, but COVID accelerated their adoption of it. The company also improved e-commerce on its website. One of the big lessons Holly learned from this experience is always to look forward and not wait for a disaster to force her to think outside the box.

Setting Intentions
The pandemic forced retailers to improve e-commerce and adapt to meet customers where they are. Holly describes the different ways Wesche has adapted to become more intentional about the digital side of its business. She asserts that the in-person and digital experience are very intertwined, and Holly strives to keep both these experiences in sync. For example, Wesche now has a designated office space for salespeople to hold their virtual appointments. The sales associates send clients videos of jewelry worn outside in the sun and include narration, instead of simply sending a photo of the piece inside the store.

Evolution Of Store Events
Before the pandemic, Wesche Jewelers had an attitude of “the more, the merrier” when it came to store events. It was almost unheard of to close down the store for an event. Now, Holly has learned that for some events, closing the store can have its advantages, though it used to be counterintuitive. Guests loved the exclusivity, and salespeople enjoyed the attention they were able to devote to the attendees without being distracted by walk-in customers. The end result was that those events were more successful than before.

Tracking Big Trends
Holly hasn’t noticed overarching style trends—everything is selling well across the board. But one trend she has picked up on is that people are going for bigger diamonds. When asked how she feels about brands encroaching on independent retailers, she says that she isn’t worried. The relationship with the client and experience in the store is difficult to replicate elsewhere. Her caveat is always to pay attention, evolve, and stay relevant. She encourages retailers to get involved in associations, learn what others are doing, and how to apply it within your own business.

(Photo courtesy of Jewelers of America)

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