Washington Jeweler Celebrates 30 Years with a Treasure Hunt

Finders-keepers events have become a jewelry retail staple, but jewelers still manage to put their own spin on this event. Richard Koven, the owner of Dahlquist’s Fine Jewelry in Poulsbo, Wash., is giving away 30 pieces of jewelry throughout September for every year the store has been in business.

Clues to find hidden gifts can only be found on the store’s Facebook wall by those who have “liked” the store, which is helping give Koven’s new social media initiative a strong start.

Celebrations for Dahlquist’s 30th anniversary started on Sept. 1 with a kickoff dinner complete with a gem cake: a sheet cake that had a colored stone in every serving. Gifts such as jewelry care packages, travel jewelry cleaners, and even ultrasonic jewelry cleaners were given away every 30 minutes at the party. And, on the first day of the month-long celebration, Koven also hid the first finders-keepers gift.

Koven wanted to weave in a social media component to the event to increase the “like” numbers on the store’s Facebook page, which has only been active a few months. The store owner admits he’s come late to the social media game, but he’s looking to make up for lost time with a retailer event that has proven to be customer-, community-, and media-friendly for many retail jewelers across the country. 

Media coverage has given Koven’s finders-keepers event and his Facebook numbers a much-needed boost to encourage people in his market to tune in to the daily clues, which take the form of a poem.

At the start of September, Dahlquist’s Facebook page only had 52 “likes.” On Sept. 9, a local newspaper did a story on the treasure hunt, quickly doubling that number. Four days later, a Seattle-based TV news station aired a story on the finders/keepers event, tripling the store’s Facebook “likes.” This week, Dahlquist’s “likes” will most likely break the 350 barrier, a seven-fold increase in three weeks.

Heather and Peter Blue found this pearl necklace

The media attention to Koven’s event is certainly a big boost. But the store owner is also generating his own social media buzz by giving those finding hidden treasure a follow-up gift that must be picked up in person at the store. Once there, Koven presents the second prize (usually jeweler cleaners, tarnish cloths, and the like) and takes the person’s picture for his Facebook page.

“This is what’s really got people coming to our profile wall, posting comments, liking, and sharing with people,” says Koven.

Koven has been monitoring Facebook closely throughout the month-long anniversary campaign. In one thread of comments, a new customer inquired about custom-made jewelry. Before Koven could respond on Facebook, two customers had already posted strong endorsements for Dahlquist’s custom work.

Response times to finding the gifts have quickly fallen from roughly one hour, down to 15 minutes. “People are watching the contest more closely,” says Koven.

Other evidence that indicates Koven’s market is responding well to the contest is one finders/keepers winner came into the store for his follow-up gift and soon returned with a jewelry repair and some appraisal work for Koven and his staff. 

The Facebook interaction has also given Koven insight into how customers have reacted to the event as it has unfolded. Of course many people were excited about seeing people find a free gift of jewelry, and many were appreciative of the store owner’s generous event. But Koven was also getting invaluable input on how to improve the contest, such as hiding jewelry in neighboring markets, inspiring people to travel 15 to 20 miles to shop at Dahlquist’s.

Gifts hidden in public places are wrapped and placed in a Dahlquist gift bag. A poem of appreciation is handwritten on a card, thanking the finder of the hidden treasure (and other customers) for their support over the years. Of course, the gift also includes the follow-up gift invite.

Jewelry pieces that are part of the finders-keepers event are valued at an average of $100 retail. They include pearl jewelry and silver jewelry set with natural colored stones. Koven and his staff are sprinkling in some higher priced items to create spikes of excitement throughout the month.

To date, one of the more expensive items used in the event was a 14k gold and sterling silver green amethyst pendant and necklace, which retailed for $400.