1. What one advertisement elicited the most response and why?
My 21-year-old son Jacob came up with an “OMG” billboard campaign using common text messaging speak. It’s a simple message that is getting noticed. Many people tell me that the billboard really caught their attention. The “O” is a white gold ring from one of our bridal vendors. The three letters are in white, which stands out nicely against the light green and gold—the store colors. We’ve repurposed the billboard image in videos that loop on flat-screen monitors shown in restaurants as well as nail and tanning salons. I’m getting feedback from these places as well. We can’t directly link sales to the billboard, but it’s certainly creating awareness for the store.
2. What ambitious goal do you have for your store?
This year we’re undergoing a major renovation that should be completed by the end of the summer. The goal is to make the store consistent with recent improvements to our website and social media. We want the store to reflect what customers, namely younger bridal customers, see online. [We’ll have] iPad stations in key store areas: namely, bridal, watches, and diamond fashion jewelry. The main page on each iPad will be full of links to vendor websites for additional product images and information. We’ll also have more of our own inventory digitally photographed and available in image databases on the iPads. Seven to eight large flat screens will also be visible throughout the store showing looped videos and product shots. Plus, the store interior will have a more contemporary look that we think will appeal to younger shoppers.
3. What are your best sellers and how do you keep them selling?
With almost all my marketing messages I’m communicating directly to young women in the bridal demographic age, roughly 21 to 35. Be it print magazine ads in local lifestyle magazines or a billboard, it’s all about pushing out the message that we’re focused on bridal. Also, contrary to trends in other markets, white gold and platinum dominate my bridal sales. We stay current on designs from a select group of vendors and do customer outreach, especially during the holiday season, to go after the accessory sales such as matching diamond studs and diamond bracelets.
4. What has been your biggest business challenge?
The biggest challenge in my business is the factor I control the least: the economy. Beyond engagement and wedding jewelry, no one really needs what I’m selling. I’ve refocused my marketing and inventory on bridal. To augment my monthly income, I’ve returned to working in the wholesale markets. My brother and I started selling pre-owned luxury and exotic watches and jewelry. There’s a lot of research, calling dealers, and attending trade shows, but it has added to our bottom line each month.
5. What is your single best money-saving initiative?
I haven’t replaced some full-timers that left in recent years. I’m doing more of the tasks that were once delegated to full-time people. I’m using outside contractors and part-time help for monthly financials. I don’t have exact dollar figure savings, but anecdotally, it’s easier to pay the bills.