Holiday Survival Guide 2016: Retailers’ Tales, Tips, and Product Picks

From diamonds to pearls (of wisdom), we’ve got everything you need for a happy, successful, and nonstressful holiday sales season

If anyone knows how to get through the holidays, it’s your fellow retailers. So in the spirit of the season, we asked them to share their tales from the tinsel-dusted trenches. (One recurrent theme: keeping staffers’ spirits up—and their bellies full. “We always keep a party atmosphere in our stores, because that trickles down to the guests,” says David Rogoway, co-owner of LaRog Brothers in Portland, Ore.) And just in case you need some ordering inspiration, they also revealed what they’re betting on to be their best sellers (surprise, surprise…yellow gold!). We finish off our annual Holiday Survival Guide with a catalog-style showcase of jewels in five trending categories. Because there’s nothing like moonstones to infuse your store with some seasonal shimmer.
John Anthony Jewelers
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
“We always get a last-minute rush. People procrastinate all the time. Guys don’t think about this stuff until the tail end. People come in the night before Christmas. You have to tell them that there is not a lot of product available. They have to choose from whatever is in the cases. In most instances, you can find the guy something. You don’t want him to get in trouble.”

His holiday season product pick:
“People have been looking for large statement necklaces and large pearls.”

Necklace with 9 mm–14 mm South Sea pearls and 2.14 cts. t.w. diamonds in 18k gold; $35,000; Yoko London, NYC; 212-819-9400;

Chief inspiration officer
Jones Bros. Jewelers
Peoria, Ill.
“During the holidays, we always have food brought in on the weekends for the staff. We try to get food that’s high in protein, because it sticks with us the longest. A well-hydrated and well-fed crew is the key to a successful selling season!”

His holiday season product pick:
“Alex and Ani and their ­mission are awesome. We will load up on their product.”

#1 expandable wire bangle in Rafaelian Silver; $28; Alex and Ani, Cranston, R.I.; 800-725-7822;

Ferro Estate & Custom Jewelers
Stowe, Vt.
“Our staff has a series of parties leading up to and during the holidays, and this keeps us happy, calm, and composed. We also invite our customers for special previews of our holiday collection and ask the wives to share their wish lists.”

His holiday season product pick:
“Yellow gold is back, and we think it will be a huge hit this season.”

Attalos bracelets in 18k gold; $2,260–$2,520; Ilias Lalaounis, Athens, Greece; 30-210-620-5721;

Corinne Jewelers
Toms River, N.J.
“We sold a $200,000 pink diamond at Christmas two years ago. One of our best customers had always admired colored diamonds. We felt the time was right and brought in a breathtaking selection for her and her husband to choose from and learn about them. We chased the sale until it was done, and it made for a record-breaking holiday. The moral of the story: Dream big.”

His holiday season product pick:
“The two-tone category: Its ­emotional value is great.”

Duo 14k white and yellow gold diamond ring; $2,195; Effy, NYC; 212-944-0020; 

Thomas Hill Jewelers
Hinesville, Ga.
“Eat healthy and get plenty of rest. The new term is hangry when you are busy and miss meals, and I think that’s actually true! It’s hard to deal with people when you’re not at your best.”

Her holiday season product pick:
“We sell a fair amount of gold chains from ­Leslie’s and Royal Chain.”

Layered Gold collection necklace in 14k yellow gold; $375; Royal Chain Group, NYC; 212-382-3340;

B&E Jewelers and Gemologists
Southampton, Pa.
“A customer calls us from the watch department of Kohl’s. He is looking for a Citizen watch, saying he doesn’t know how to set the watch, and nobody there can teach him—can we help him? We thought this was a joke. So the salesperson tells him, ‘Maybe you should come here; we can sell you the watch, and teach it to you.’ An hour later, the guy comes in here. The irony is, it turned out to be a radio-controlled watch that set itself.”

His holiday season product pick:
“Gabriel & Co. silver jewelry is going to be a hot item.”

Drop earrings in sterling silver with rock crystal, purple jade, and white sapphire; $240; Gabriel & Co., NYC; 800-886-5422;

Vice president
Providence Diamond
Cranston, R.I.
“We’re all foodies at the store, and delicious healthy food equals a happy team. And a Taco Tuesday never hurt anybody!”

Her holiday season product pick:
“18 karat gold ­necklaces from Marco Bicego and David Yurman.”

Lunaria 18k gold medium graduated collar necklace; $6,100; Marco Bicego, San Francisco; 866-424-2346;

Fox Fine Jewelry
Ventura, Calif.
“I’m really looking forward to our gem roundtable, which we have started to have every year in the beginning of November. We invite a gem cutter into the store for a private RSVP’d event and have 10 to 20 people around a table. It’s an opportunity to learn about stones, have drinks, and of course, buy gemstones at lower-than-normal prices. The benefit for us is that we get custom work. It’s really good to do it at Christmastime. We select people ahead of time—animated, fun people who are really into color.”

Her holiday season product pick:
“Our price-sensitive clients want big looks for their spend, like Freida Rothman.”

Two-tone large hammered earrings in 14k gold and black rhodium–plated sterling silver with CZ; $395; Freida Rothman, Brooklyn, N.Y.; 718-513-4114; 


Top: photograph by Greg Sorensen, styling by Catherine Peridis

Market editor: Jennifer Heebner. Makeup by Alexis Williams for The Brooks Agency. Hair by Gusléne Bubak. Hair Provided by Lo Bundles. Manicure by Jasmin Cameron. Top by Lisa Marie Fernandez.

Circle drop earring in 14k gold, $2,640 (pair), long tassel drop earring in 14k gold with diamonds, $2,255 (single), Fern Freeman, NYC, 917-217-1727,; graduated curved collar necklace in 14k gold with diamonds, $3,590, Mizuki, NYC, 212-941-0332,  

Inset: Galaxy collection mini comet earrings with 2.5 cts. t.w. rainbow moonstone and 0.8 ct. t.w. diamonds in 18k yellow gold; $3,840; Arya Esha, Jacksonville, Fla.; 305-812-4986;

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