Why Retailer Craig Husar Is a Hopeless Romantic

Step up to the Tacori Bar at Lyle Husar Designs, where bridal is on tap and romance is big business

1. What has been your biggest business challenge—and what have you done to resolve it?
I spent 14 years working outside the family jewelry store. Since coming back to the family business in 1998, I’ve spent the last several years mentally preparing myself for the g­enerational tran­sition—namely, ­becoming more familiar with the numbers. We have a phenomenal accountant that helped me get my mind around spreadsheets and crunching numbers, two things that are totally against my nature. With my daughter, Becca, entering the family business this year, these are some of the key things I’ll share with her when it’s her time to hand over the business to my grandchildren.

2. What advice have you received from a fellow retailer that changed how you run your store?
Years back, Joel Hassler, owner of Rasmussen Diamonds in Racine, Wis., shared with me his policy of having a four-day work week. Given that we’re open on Saturdays, like many other ­jewelry stores, many of my employees have two consecutive days off (Sunday and ­Monday), plus another single day off. My staff enjoys the flexibility it gives them and their families, and it’s a great selling point in job interviews.

3. When you walk into your store, what do you like most about it?
A few years ago I made some big changes that are now an integral part of our store experience and brand identity. One is a dramatic ceiling feature of two interlocking rings. This was done with custom soffits, along with direct and indirect lighting, and a crystal chandelier as the centerpiece. At the same time I also decided to make purple our new brand color. It may be an underrepresented color in ­jewelry retail, but it is visible at every level of the store, from in-store logo signage to gift boxes, and of course in our ads.

4. What one advertisement—news­paper, magazine, billboard, radio, TV, Facebook, or Twitter—elicited the biggest response, and why did it work?
A recent Ladies Shop Night that was promoted exclusively using social media. We focused on Facebook and email, resulting in a 98 percent cost savings versus print and postage. Over 100 women responded. Our Facebook traffic exploded by 300 percent, and we experienced the highest open rate ever on our Constant Contact e-newsletter. The email blasts to customers contained a call-to-action to print a $50 gift card by liking us on Facebook. This resulted in 120 new fans.   

5. What are your best sellers, and how do you keep them selling?
Tacori is our best seller. It helps that we’re the exclusive Tacori retailer in southeastern Wisconsin. We recently created a special “Tacori Bar,” unique to any store in the country. The centerpiece is a circular six-foot granite island featuring eight museum-style showcases at two levels. Customers and salespeople interact differently here because they stand shoulder to shoulder—like friends in a social ­setting. It breaks down the usual “salesperson” barrier and allows us to work with several bridal customers at a time. It’s a very European style of ­selling, and our customers love it.

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