Emma Beck is guest blogging for Emili Vesilind this week.
Leo Faubion, president of Dallas-based Faubion Associates—the architectural millwork, retail fixture, and custom casework manufacturer whose products Rolex reportedly recommends its retailers use to thwart (or at least slow down) smash-and-grab thieves—recently chatted with JCK on the subject of showcase-based security.
Retail installation created by Faubion Associates (Photo courtesy of Faubion Associates)
JCK: We’ve heard your glass cases referred to as “Faubion glass” within the industry. What makes it so special?
Leo Faubion: It’s not just the glass. It’s a combination of the glass and how you attach the glass to the case. Just the glass alone doesn’t give you any security. It depends on the design of the case; you have to accommodate the design, and you can’t bastardize the design of the case to make it secure. It’s not just a type of glass—there are lots of glasses. You really have to look at the application of what you want to accomplish. Glass is glass.
Tempered glass is not secure. Tempered and laminated becomes more secure, and then the issue becomes how much it costs. We can make glass more secure depending on how much money a [retailer] wants to spend. We recommend a laminated glass that has a .090 insulator—a lamination in the middle. Then you have to securely attach that glass to the showcase with a combination of mechanical fasteners.
JCK: Why do you think there is so much focus on case security these days?
LF: We’re seeing awareness because thieves are so aggressive, and merchants are getting more and more aware about how important it is to make it difficult for that thief to smash your case. Yet you don’t want it to be so difficult that they come in and shoot somebody.
There’s a lot of technology to deal with the product after hours. But in the daytime, retailers have to be able to get the product out to the customer. And for the customer to see it, they have to be able to see it in the showcase.
Rolex is being attacked quite frequently with folks coming off the street. [Showcase security] wasn’t so important several years ago. Now it has become more and more.
JCK: What do you see in the future for display glass?
LF: It’s a Catch-22, because you have to allow the customer to see your product, so it needs to be under glass. There are some places that have gone from having a product out [to having customers] just looking at a video. But that’s never going to be like seeing it or handling it.
I don’t know that there is going to be much change. Over the last several hundred years, people have been looking at jewelry. If they’re really interested, they want to touch it and see it, so makes retailers vulnerable. You can’t take that interaction away, because then they’ll go somewhere else.
You can make everything stronger, but then you start to distort the vision of the product inside of case. That’s not a pleasing experience. In the jewelry industry we have to be careful to not distort the view and color, that’s very crucial. Necessity is the mother of invention. We’re striving to do better and better to not distort the view but do better than the crook. It’s a complex business!