A Good Education With Nettles Fine Jewelry’s Clay Nettles

Clay Nettles, owner of Nettles Fine Jewelry in St. Augustine, Fla., thinks jewelry retail is ripe for reinvention. There are typically two types of experiences consumers have when buying fine jewelry, he insists: “It’s either the pawnshop, haggling experience, or it’s so high-end that unless you’re planning to drop $2,000, you don’t even want to go in.” The second-generation retailer, who took over the shop from his father five years ago, offers a third kind of experience—one that “makes the transaction itself the smallest part.” Creating fun, memorable moments—from kids engaging in a scavenger hunt to adults sipping on a perfect gin martini—is the focus at Nettles. “When I took over,” he says, “I knew that the whole model of the traditional jewelry store had to change.”You describe the buying experience at Nettles as “experiential.” What do you mean by

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