Georgia on Her Mind: Talking to Brown & Co.’s Amy Greene

Amy Greene and her 45 smiling sales associates help shoppers sparkle and shine

1. What one advertisement or promotion elicited the biggest response, and why do you think it worked?

We have an event called Sparkle & Shine where we offer a professional jewelry cleaning for customers. There is almost no cost involved; we do it during store hours over a couple of days. We promote it through a direct mailing, and it always gives us a boost. Customers can bring in the whole jewelry box—the more they bring, the longer it takes, and that’s wonderful because we can entertain and entice them. It’s super casual. Like hanging out at a luxury carwash.

2. When you walk through your door, what do you like most about your store?

I love the faces and smiles of the sales associates. We have 45 associates between the two stores, and we don’t have any toxic personalities. Everyone really wants to perform well and genuinely be a happy person. We made this decision a while back that after any interview I would ask myself, “Do I like you? Do I want to have a beer with you or a cup of coffee?” Everyone says good morning, and we have a coffee bar so we get a coffee before we open. We always used to joke that no matter how bad the recession got, we’d never get rid of the coffee bar. We work way too hard and spend too long away from our families to not enjoy where we work.

3. What has been your biggest challenge, and how have you resolved it?

Managing people. You have to keep employees motivated, which is not easy. And you have to identify different talents and try to maximize those talents. We promoted within without the necessary management training at one time. Now we do a lot of management education. And we instituted exit interviews, which led to us learning a lot about who we are as a company. I’ve definitely [received] some nuggets of information that have made me think, “Wow, okay, we can fix that; we can work on that.”

4. What ambitious goal do you have for your stores and how will you achieve it?

I have an ambitious revenue number to hit between the two stores. In order to hit that, we’re going to roll out a ­multifaceted [plan]. Marketing and advertising has become a real focus for us. We are focusing on the right events. We are also going to start opening ­Sundays, which is something we haven’t done before. Customers shop on Sundays. We’ve dragged our feet for a while, but it’s time.

5. What has been your most memorable sale?

We have one customer who is blind, but she really loves jewelry. It takes hours to “show” her pieces because you sit with her and she feels the pieces while you explain about the gemstones and the colors and the metals and shapes. You have to go to that place inside where you are purely excited about jewelry. She appreciates jewelry on such a unique level, it makes you remember why you love it.

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