Fresh ideas for store promotions are great for business but can be difficult to create. However, if you’re Susan Morgan, head of her own marketing and public relations firm in Richmond, Va., the ideas flow freely. Morgan is the innovator behind several promotions that her fine-jewelry clients frequently employ with success. Her ideas have boosted store traffic, helped increase revenues, created good will in the community, and even helped fledgling artists get recognition for their work. Following are examples of some of Morgan’s best projects, which she created for Schwarzschild, a well-known Richmond jeweler.
Women of Style. Held in Richmond, this event raises awareness and interest in the Valentine Richmond History Center’s Costumes & Textiles collection; raises the profile of Schwarzschild, which always aims to reinforce the jewelry-as-fashion message; and partners with a local newspaper, ensuring press coverage. “Women of Style” is a contest that invites newspaper readers to nominate local women with distinct personal style; the women can be any age and from any walk of life. Ten winners are selected by a panel of local judges for their unique personal aesthetic and receive the “Women of Style” title. The newspaper photographs and interviews the honorees and presents each with a plaque. Each woman also selects from the Valentine collection an antique accessory that best represents her style; the item is highlighted in Schwarzschild stores and a photo of the piece appears with the photo of the style winner in her newspaper article. Each nominee also receives a piece of designer jewelry from Schwarzschild. An invitation-only celebration is held at the Schwarzschild Cary Street store to publicize the affair and congratulate the winners.
Tablescapes at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Six local interior designers are chosen by Morgan and the museum to create elegant table settings, using merchandise sold by Schwarzschild, and guests vote for their favorite look. The creator of the winning tablescape receives a special piece from the featured tabletop collection. Snacks and beverages are served, and the event lasts for a couple hours. The first part of the event is a short lecture by a tabletop designer. One year, artist Lynn Chase talked about wildlife conservation, a topic important to her. Attendance is by invitation only, which is extended to museum members and Schwarzschild customers. One year, Schwarzschild’s Regency Mall store rang up $20,000 worth of china the day after the event. In addition to the publicity generated, the event also allows Schwarzschild to build relationships with the members of the museum.
The Genesis Awards with Schwarzschild Jewelers and the Virginia Commonwealth University. This annual event exposes student jewelers to industry critics, media, and established designers; lets them compete against their classmates in a good-natured contest; and provides a chance for them to win scholarship money. For Schwarzschild, the affair is about good will, not sales (one year, the store permitted a consumer to buy the grand prize–winning piece from the creator for no commission). VCU alerts students to the competition; Schwarzschild pays for a JCK editor, a national jewelry educator or designer, and a decorative arts expert to attend and judge entries. Findings firm Hoover & Strong, based in Richmond, provides the silver for contest participants, and San Francisco toolmaker Otto Frei helps Schwarzschild sponsor several scholarship prizes. Sometimes other industry figures, such as Steven Lagos, donate loose stones. Students and the retailer send out invitations, and an in-store party is held at Schwarzschild’s Cary Street store to announce winners.