Why Not Mac?
“Using Your Computer to Increase Profits” (JCK, May 1999, p. 152) presents a good overview of the conventional wisdom. However, many “turn key” solutions are far from ideal. Your suggestion to “avoid Macintosh” reflects a bias that causes undue aggravation for many jewelers who struggle with prepackaged Wintel PC-based jewelry store solutions. A small group of jewelers succeed by using Macs.
All of our Apple Macintosh computers use Apple’s elegant and reliable built-in networking software on Macintosh computers. For inventory control, job processing with bar code scanning, and customer database we use Filemaker Pro. For accounting, we use Bestware’s MYOB’s networked accounting package. For appraisals, spreadsheets, and general word processing, we use Claris Works. For design work, we use an Apple video capture card that grabs images from our DiaView video microscope. We redeign these jewelry images using Adobe Photodeluxe. Using Apple’s remarkable compatibility software, we input mounting images from Stuller’s free PC CD catalog. We use Claris Draw to produce geometry and engraving layouts to export to Wintel jewelry mold milling and engraving machines in our workshop. We manage our Web site using Claris Homepage. We prepare our advertising using Quark and Adobe Photoshop.
All of this software integrates and interacts seamlessly within the Macintosh environment. Most important, unlike Windows PCs, Macintoshes seldom crash. We back up our files religiously, yet Macintosh has never lost our data. Our employees love their Macs and are very productive using them.
I have years of experience with both Wintel PCs and Macintosh computers. At conferences, I listen with dismay to the computer horror stories that my fellow jewelers relate. When I report that I seldom experience these kinds of troubles they accuse me of not playing fair—because I use Macintosh computers!
Ian McAskill, C.G., Kinnear d’Esterre Jewellers Ltd. Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Jessica Stein Diamond, the JCK editor who wrote “Using Your Computer to Increase Profits,” responds: Like Ian McAskill, I personally prefer Macintosh computers. But I doubt many jewelers would have the time and expertise to master the eight programs he mentions. Also, people who use off-the-shelf software risk sinking time into automating the way they’ve always done things. They often miss the opportunity to adopt new and more efficient ways to manage and analyze information. Software designed specifically for a jewelry store or high-end retailer is a better bet, particularly for firms that manage multi-store inventories.
As a manufacturer and seller of an enhanced gemstone, I want to thank you for bringing up a topic that needs some attention: how jewelers can sell the romance while giving full disclosure (“Enhancements as a Selling Point,” JCK, May 1999, p. 414). Most salespeople shy away from full disclosure because they think a customer may not purchase if fully informed. When you repeat that sentence out loud, it doesn’t sound very ethical, does it?
The television exposés have eroded consumers’ trust level, and they’ll naturally walk into a retail store with a concern in the back of their minds. I would argue that full disclosure helps to quell their anxiety. When a salesperson discloses all enhancements, explaining them in non-threatening words, trust builds. In fact, a lot of customers want a more detailed explanation of the enhancement process. When they get it, the relationship moves to a higher level of trust, that of educator-to-student. In the end, the customer feels more comfortable and the salesperson feels more comfortable. It’s a win-win situation.
Doug Leslie, Doug Leslie & Co., San Francisco
The three photos accompanying the section on engagement rings in the article “Evolving Product Mix: From Toasters to Tanzanite” (JCK, May 1999, p. 124) were from the newly released second edition of Engagement and Wedding Rings: The Definitive Buying Guide for People in Love by Antoinette Matlins and Antonio Bonanno (Gemstone Press, Woodstock, Vt., 1999).
A photo at the top of page 191 of JCK’s May 1999 issue accompanying the article “Truth or Consequences: The Case for Full Disclosure of Ruby Treatment” inadvertently was not credited. The photo was provided courtesy of Tony Laughter.
JCK welcomes letters. Please include your name, address, and telephone number. Letters may be edited for clarity and length. Jewelers’ Circular Keystone, 201 King of Prussia Rd., Radnor, PA 19089; fax (610) 964-4481, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org