Building a Retailer-Wholesaler Relationship

Q: What qualities should jewelers seek in a wholesale partner?

A: “We look for brands that have a beautiful collection of jewelry and/or watches. The product of one of our watch vendors, A. Lange & Söhne, stands for the pinnacle of watch­making expertise. Their attention to detail and quality is impeccable and critical to the development of a superior product. We also look for ­vendor partners that are not over-distributed within the local and national markets. We want to cultivate our entire collection of fine ­jewelry, watches, and gifts around the mentality that the vendor partners we represent are unique and rare.”
—DAVID WALKER, CEO/owner, Shreve, Crump & Low, Boston

“It’s critical that our wholesale partners have the desire to learn what our business is about before any orders are written. Reasonable terms, price, quality, design, expedient delivery especially on ­reorders, return privileges, employee training, and marketing support are basic expectations from our vendors in today’s retail environment. We also believe that offering flexible return privileges within the first year is critical in helping us both discover what the right product mix should consist of. Turn and reorders are key to growing the business. Lastly, we expect that all our vendors manufacture their products in a social, ethical, and environmentally responsible manner. This last point is non-negotiable.”
—KATHY COREY, vice president of merchandising, Day’s Jewelers, Waterville, Maine

“Trust and honesty, of course, but here are a few [qualities] we’ve found to be a must. 1) Easy to contact: A toll-free number and email aren’t enough. We look for rich websites that offer detailed imagery and specifications of the product. We want to know if that item is in stock and what the price is at that moment. 2) Fast and efficient: Our competition grows fiercer by the day. We need a wholesaler that can receive a request and have product in our hands the next business day, or close to it. 3) Memo: Every last penny we can re­invest into our store and employees pays huge dividends, so wholesalers that are willing to send us goods on memo are imperative to our success. 4) Friendly staff: Whether dealing with a large or small corporation, it is extremely important that we feel valued.”
—JOHN WINTLE, shop manager, Aaron’s Jewelry & Manufacturing, Roy, Utah

“Like retail, it’s about customer service—in this case, we are the customer—but also a knowledgeable staff, and some­one who will stand behind the product. It’s more about the relationship than price. Sometimes I can justify paying a little more for ease and a company that is pleasurable to do business with.”
—JONATHAN M. GREEN, proprietor, AAA Gold & Jewelry Co., Plant City, Fla.

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