From the Blogs

Fine Jewelry for the Cost of an iPod

Turn off the news this weekend and indulge yourself in a pick-me-up present! It is the right medicine to combat all the infectious doom-and-gloom news on television. Nothing cheers you up like retail therapy, and there is no better time than now to shop.

While Hallmark has yet to recognize a “National Fine Jewelry Appreciation Day,” I urge industry to spread its enthusiasm for jewelry even more by removing ‘wow’ pieces from locked cases and putting them on your person. Layer up your necklaces and put pins on all your lapels! The news may be glum, but our product is anything but; jewelry is a constant source of beauty which never fades or fails to catch someone’s eye when the sun shines. Celebrate what you sell and tactfully ‘stick it’ to the news by wearing more of it.

Jennifer Heebner, “Style 360,” Nov. 14

A New Jewelry Store Concept

For at least five years now, I have been posing a rhetorical question to the jewelry industry at large: Why is there no jewelry-store equivalent of Crate & Barrel? I’ve heard a variety of theories, but no real answer. Now, however, I’ve gotten my answer: yes, it can be done.

Tanishq, the Indian jewelry company that’s part of the behemoth Tata group, just opened its second U.S. store in Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. Its first is in Schaumberg, Ill. …

To a degree, it does look like a jewelry store—let’s face it, when you’re selling small precious items that can walk away in a customer’s pocket, you have to lock them up—but it doesn’t look anything like a typical mall jewelry store. It is, to my mind, the long-awaited answer to my unanswered question: it’s a jewelry-store equivalent of Crate & Barrel.

What I mean by that is a retailer that’s design-driven, accessibly priced, and lifestyle-focused. Price points at Tanishqrange from under $500 to above $10,000, but the bulk of product is under$3,000. Its target is the demographic I’ve often exhorted jewelers to woo:fashion-conscious women, especially those in the demographic segment that apparel makers ignore, the over-35 customer.—Hedda Schupak, “JCK Voices,” Nov. 14

Customer Watch: Jewelry for the Professional Musician

At a customer workshop I presented at a retail jewelry store last week, an interesting mix of professions were represented. One of the attendees was a professional pianist, a tall, elegant woman who explained to the group her very specific jewelry needs. …

The pianist told the assembled group that she doesn’t like to wear rings or bracelets when she performs because she feels they weigh her hands and arms down. …

She further mentioned that she avoids earrings that dangle and distract too much, although a bit of sparkle near her ears is fine. What was even more unexpected was her comment that she doesn’t like to wear necklaces that swing out when she leans over the keyboard (or, no doubt, when she takes her bows). …

There are a couple of lessons here.

First, don’t assume that because you know what someone does for a living, that that information alone is enough on which to draw conclusions about her jewelry preferences. Showing a concert pianist flashy rings might seem appropriate and expected but in this case, would be entirely wrong.—Cynthia Sliwa, “Jewels on Jewels,” Nov. 12

Art in Cyberspace?

I’m hearing a lot right now about one-of-a-kind and custom work. In an age when independents (and most designers, for that matter) truly need to differentiate themselves from online and chain-store competition, this is one area that many are discovering as a way to stand apart from the crowd.

Interesting, then, the juxtaposition when I came across, a website dedicated to art jewels. It seems to me that this is one category in which customers would ESPECIALLY want to see, touch and feel the pieces they are buying. But, on the other hand, we once said that about all fine jewelry.—Carrie Soucy, “Style 360,” Nov. 12

Do You Conduct Employee Exit Interviews?

Exit interviews should be structured to elicit frank responses. How can you do that? For starters, don’t conduct exit inter-views on an employee’s last day. In fact, don’t conduct interviews at all until after employees have left the job.

How can you be sure they will participate once they’ve left your organization? On their last day, explain that your organization is instituting an improvement program and that their opinions will be a valuable part of this program. Then ask if someone can call in about a week for an exit interview. This gives departing employees a chance to think about their responses and makes it more likely that they will respond.—Shanu Singh Guliani, “Behind the Counter,” Sept. 27