The Mental State of the Industry

Many jewelers I talk to are burned out, fed up, and frustrated with the jewelry business.

I predict an explosion of store closings in the next few years, not because of shrinking margins, not because of the Internet, and not because of Wal-Mart or Jareds, but because many lack a positive mental attitude and action plan in the face of difficult and changing times. The pace of the crew is the pace of the leader. Many store owners today simply have run out of steam and lack the intestinal fortitude needed to stay in the game.

More than capital and inventory, it takes a lot to get through each day; an untold amount of physical, mental, and emotional strength. It takes an open mind and the courage and conviction to try something new. It takes humility and it takes failure. (We learn more from our failures than from our successes.) It takes analysis, investment, reinvestment, and, most important, it takes action.

It doesn’t take hope, prayer, the magic pill, or Prozac. In today’s fiercely competitive environment, doing your best isn’t enough. It’s doing whatever it takes.

We have been over-retailed for many years, and, since our products have little or no planned obsolescence, jewelers were able to live and survive off fat inventories.

There are three types of jewelers. Those that are making it happen, those that are watching it happen, and those that are asking what happened. As the party draws to an end, the jewelers left standing will be those that are executing, implementing, and making it happen.

It can be summed up simply: If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got. It is said that stupidity is doing the same thing every time but expecting a different result.

Communicating with customers and prospects has never been easier, more affordable, or more effective, thanks to technology such as digital printing and the Internet. Further, there are marketing strategies that can pinpoint new prospects like a laser beam that are easily measured and tracked.

For those that can stay in the business, reinvent themselves, and tap their inner strength, the future looks bright. Retail jewelry sales are expected to grow 4 percent to 6 percent a year. Better and fewer jewelers will find a bigger and healthier piece of the pie.