Why Paul Knappett of Ontario’s Knappett Jewelers Says, “Just Be You”

For this Ontario jeweler, success is working hard and living your dream

1. What’s your most memorable sale?

A few weeks ago a customer came in and wanted to redesign two rings. She had a 2 carat ruby and a 0.69 carat ­princess-cut diamond set into rings that didn’t show them off well. I sat down and sketched two designs. She saw a three-stone princess-cut diamond ring in my showcase, but said she never dreamed she could have one that beautiful. I supplied two more princess-cut diamonds to make one of her rings a three-stone ring. When she picked up the rings…she couldn’t hold back the tears. She works at the police station and showed everyone her new rings, [saying] what an amazing job Knappett Jewellers had done.

2. What one advertisement or promotion elicited the biggest response, and why do you think it worked?

One great promotion we did was a nine-hour sale that lasted a single day. We had different specials every hour throughout the day. We did $10,000 [in sales] the first year, and the fourth year we did $32,000. People have become insensitive to discounts and sales, though. Years ago, a 30-percent-off storewide sale would bring a crowd of people into your store. Today, they give it very little thought. And if you have too many sales, people wait until an item is on sale, and you will find it difficult to sell anything at regular price.

3. What was your finest hour in the realm of customer service?

We also sell clocks. This past Christmas, a customer purchased a Howard Miller grandfather clock. The problem: They lived in Ottawa—around a five-hour drive. I delivered the clock [myself] on a nice sunny day in March. The trip took 12 hours and cost $140 in gas, and I did not charge the customer for the delivery. A few days later I received a beautiful thank-you note with a restaurant gift card. That’s worth more than money to me; you’re only a customer once at Knappett Jewellers, then you become a friend. The respect and friendship that have been nurtured will lead to more sales and word-of-mouth advertising.

4. What nightmare scenario did you turn around to save the day?

I had an insurance replacement for a 1 carat diamond earring set with 36 other diamonds. The cost for one earring was $10,400. It turned out the [new center] diamond was not a 1 carat but a 0.9 carat. My client became very upset. I agreed to make a new earring, absorb all additional costs, and have it ready before Mother’s Day. I actually ended up making both earrings brand-new. He was so pleased, he insisted on paying for the additional costs. He also called the insurance adjuster and told her how pleased he was with the quality and integrity of our service. Guess who that adjuster is going to call the next time she requires a replacement?

5. How do you differentiate your store from the competition?

I don’t worry about it. Just be you. Stock quality merchandise and display it better than anyone else. Keep the store spotless. Train your staff and invest in them. Inspire them to do better. Be ­confident in all you do. Work hard and live your dream.

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