Retailer Dorothy Vodicka Charms Tallahassee’s Finest Customers

The Gem Collection owner is bejeweling and beautifying the women of Florida’s capital city 1. What is your single best money-­saving initiative?Over 20 years ago, we took our sales staff from a small salary and small commission to a full commission with a weekly draw. The decision wasn’t popular at first: We lost all of our sales associates. New ones were hired knowing this was a commission-only store. Before the decision, each person was selling about $100,000 on average each year. In recent history, associates are selling 10 times that—with two $1 million sellers. The payment structure changed the way staff were paid, but also changed the way we advertised and purchased jewelry. With a commission-only structure, our sales associates are like five small business owners. To help stimulate everyone’s business interests, we increased our ads, expanded from print to TV, and differe

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