April 2010

Up Year in a Down Economy

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Donald Ritchie: Harry Ritchie Jewelers

what is your single best money-saving initiative? harry ritchie jewelers has 31 stores in the pacific northwest. of our 31 store managers, we selected five to become regional managers. the main mission of regional managers is to work in each store in the region for a week. they observe and report on day-to-day operations on how each store is utilizing the sales and management tools from the cor…

Retail Jewelry Innovators

make it convenient ronda daily, owner of bremer jewelry, with stores in bloomington and peoria, ill., wants to make jewelry shopping convenient for “guests.” (daily doesn’t use the “c” word—customer). in 2008 she opened her peoria store on sundays from noon to 4:00 p.m., but later discontinued the sunday hours for six months.

Case Study: @BenBridgeGirl

the advent of twitter lists has made finding others to follow much easier, but if you still need some advice, i suggest you check out the feed of veronica wei sopher, who is @benbridgegirl (www.twitter.com/benbridgegirl). sopher maintains her own twitter list @benbridgegirl/industry-professionals, a blog (www.

Use Events to Build Business Connections

networking events only work if you work them. you may already attend networking events hosted by your local chamber, jewelers’ group, alumni organization, faith community, or hospital guild. if you go, decide to make yourself approachable. then set a purpose determined by your current need. do you need a mentor, such as another small-business owner who can help you consider how to incorporate a…

JA Pushes for Sales Tax Fairness Legislation

jewelers of america has launched a campaign to have congress to reintroduce and pass the sales tax fairness and simplification act, which would authorize states to collect sales taxes from online merchants, most of which are now exempt from the requirement. ja public affairs manager susan thea posnock says that internet retailers not charging sales tax have “put traditional retailers at a disad…

Big Names in Trademark Battles

some big names were involved in trademark lawsuits recently: sterling jewelers sued two new york jewelry companies, classic imports and key items, alleging that both are engaging in “the unauthorized copying” of its copyrighted open hearts by jane seymour line. (see “jane seymour opens her heart,” jck, june 2009, p.

Stepping up to the Plate

we are experiencing a national spectacle on health reform. i repeatedly hear about people who will go without insurance, betting on good health. forty years ago president johnson pushed through medicare in the face of mounting costs and the uninsurability of the aged. today, political insanity trumps medical sanity.

People

coming + going designer jewelry line lagos has named christopher cullen its new president. cullen was previously vice president of sales and marketing at the company. silverman jewelry consultants has added sean jones as an inventory control specialist and channing botts as administrative assistant. previously, jones spent seven years as a supervisor at wal-mart.

Jeweler by the Falls

three years ago, when a realtor showed larry bruno the land on which his new store sits, the jeweler instantly grasped the possibilities. he could site the store at the edge of the glacial gorge of scollard run, directly across from springfield falls, a beautiful natural wonder, which is now mostly on his property.

Jewelers Defy the Downturn

tracy martin, owner of martin and son jewelers, in metuchen, n.j., admits to having second thoughts about moving into a new, far larger store during the worst economic downturn in recent history. “i thought, what am i, crazy?” she recalls. “but then i really sat down and gave it thought and discussed it with my family, and we just decided let’s go for it.

Merchandising 101 and the More Things Change

for whatever reason, the independent retail jewelry world seems to be impervious to a basic tenet of retailing. marshall field, the man, many years ago coined the phrase “give the lady what she wants.” very simply, field summed up this basic principle of any business, but particularly retailing. early in my career as a sales representative for lenox china, i encountered an objection that i didn…

Tennis Lessons: Longines Helps Agassi Serve

today, andre agassi is renowned as one of the greatest tennis players in the history of the global sport. tomorrow, he may be better known as an education reformer. and swiss watch brand longines is helping him. agassi is ranked with the top tennis players of all time. his triumphs include winning the men’s singles title in all four grand slam tournaments (australian open, french open, u.

Improve Through Consultative Selling

in consultative selling, a jewelry sales associate acts as a consultant to a buyer. a consultative salesperson doesn’t pitch products, but recommends jewelry that solves a shopper’s fashion, accessory, or jewelry problem. consultative selling creates long-term relationships built on trust and promotes referrals.

Hearts On Fire Drops 100 Retailers

hearts on fire has closed over 120 retail accounts in an attempt “to consolidate and strengthen its family of independent retail jewelers,” it says. mark israel, president and chief operating officer of the company, said the accounts “weren’t committed” to the brand. “it wasn’t right for them,” he said.

Jersey Jeweler Gives Hope and ‘Bling’

when christine ferdinand, co-owner with her husband, bill, of ferdinand jewelers, in new providence, n.j., discovered that her favorite customer, barbara, had ovarian cancer, she could empathize. in 1991 the retailer’s mother died of the same disease. barbara, worried that her jewelry might get lost or stolen during hospital stays, said she would “miss her bling.

Put Money Back in Your Pocket

matthew focht, president and founder of tru, a consulting firm specializing in payment processing, says online payment processing services can improve efficiency and security while saving money. here’s how:

Latest Tales from Zale

after most of its top management resigned in january following a decline in holiday sales, speculation about zale corp. has grown. among the latest developments:

B.C. Clark Jewelers’ Jingle Rings Bells

in 1956, b.c. clark jr. paid a local ad agency $300 to create a jingle. five years later he thought the catchy jingle had lost its impact and aired a new one. a barrage of complaints during the 1961 christmas season quickly persuaded him to put the original back on the air. back then the son of the store’s original owner realized the jingle was more than a seasonal promotion.

Stores

northeast peter indorf jewelers, new haven, conn., recently held its annual valentine’s contest, with winners receiving a $500 gift certificate for best valentine’s day card. arthur groom, a well-known emerald dealer and ridgewood, n.j., retailer, has declared chapter 11. groom is best known in the trade for developing the excel enhancement process for emeralds.

Gem Pricing Report

market activity continues to improve on cautious optimism sparked by a successful tucson gem show. retailers buying for inventory remain cautious and unwilling to deviate from price levels that proved reliable during the 2009 holiday season. these are typically under $1,000 or well above it. the $2,000–$4,000 range remains slow for most products with the notable exception of pearls.

Industry

companies two italian jewelry brands made announcements recently: calgaro will remain based in milan, italy, and produce goods in vicenza. rosato has offices in italy in arezzo, tuscany, and milan, and a u.s. office in burbank, calif. rio tinto is working with its customers to ensure they are certified members of the responsible jewellery council by 2011.

From the JCKonline.com blog comments

[a]s a jeweler you should know what you are dealing with before making a decision to do business with any brand. know who they are, what they do, how they do things and why, before jumping in. if your preference is to run your business on your own terms, be careful about which vendors you choose. if, however, the perceived strength of a name and its product offerings outweigh letting go of part…

Two Books Worth Reading

i recently came across two interesting books for anyone in a retail business. those on the supplier side also may find the information useful. the first is shoptimism: why the american consumer will keep on buying no matter what, by lee eisenberg. eisenberg is the former editor-in-chief of esquire, but he also spent time in the retail world as an executive vice president at lands’ end.

Cash4Gold Investigated

the florida attorney general’s office recently announced it’s investigating cash4gold, the mail-in gold service based in pompano beach that made headlines last year when it aired an ad during the super bowl. “there is a pattern of complaints from consumers who allege that they are not paid nearly enough for the gold they send to cash4gold,” said a notice on the attorney general’s web site.

Motivate Your Staff—and Have Fun—With Sales Contests

you can use sales contests to increase sales and profits while making the sales job fun. salespeople tend to be competitive, so make the most of their competitive spirit. remember the following when designing a sales contest: visit www.iastraining.com to subscribe to brad huisken’s free weekly newsletter “sales insight” or for any of his training programs.

Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

what makes a customer decide to buy from a competitor when your item was clearly the better choice? what do a lovesick college freshman and making a bad hiring decision have in common? what can a fatal plane crash in tenerife teach us about how intelligent people make bad decisions? in their book sway: the irresistible pull of irrational behavior, ori and rom brafman provide insights into those…

How to Attract the New Bridal Customer

the new bridal consumer is a millennial, one of 76 million people under the age of 29 who approach shopping far differently from their baby boomer parents. connect with millennials on their turf and their terms by engaging them on their computers, smart phones, and facebook and twitter pages. this is where they live, learn, connect with friends, and investigate shopping options.

Dispatches from Tahiti Cyclone Oli Strikes

imagine driving down the freeway at 100 mph, then sticking your head out the window. the sound is deafening, you have to squint, straining your neck against the force of the wind. this is what tahitian pearl farmers went through recently—but without the car—with the passage of cyclone oli in polynesian waters.

In this economy, can jewelers maintain a strict no-sales policy?

“even in a tough economy a jeweler should stay true to their principles. if your store is known for good customer service and better-quality jewelry, stay faithful to those principles. if you change policy and attract customers on price, then you’re one of many options for low-cost, lesser-quality jewelry—like wal-mart.

Measuring Your Return on Investment

the sales figure in the chart of $1,003,916 is made up of the 6,886 items sold multiplied by the average sale value of $145. this month, our emphasis is on return on investment, or roi. this is a measure of how much you get back for every $100 invested in inventory. it is a multiplier of markup and stock turn—in other words, how much profit you make on each item you sell times how often y…

Pandora Going Public?

bead maker pandora may go public with a $1 billion initial public offering, according to a report in reuters. the story says pandora sold over half a billion dollars in beads last year, with sales up nearly 60 percent (in danish crowns) from the year before. the numbers are evidence of the company’s meteoric rise, considering it didn’t introduce its hit charm bracelet until 2000 and didn’t have…

James Currens

location and contact j.w. currens, new york; (212) 944-1222; www.jwcurrens.com. signature style and inspiration pieces feature rare stones and are based on artistic and spiritual concepts as well as real-life issues, such as the declining bee population. he has won 14 american gem trade association spectrum awards and four manufacturing jewelers & suppliers of america awards.

Cause-Related Marketing

when disaster struck in haiti in january, many jewelry stores stepped in to do what they could to help. by doing so, a lot of them did some good for themselves. they got significant media exposure and reinforced relationships with customers. it’s called cause-related marketing, and every smart jeweler should do it.

Set Goals

goals are not a to-do list. you should have one or two in each category. you don’t need to know how you’ll accomplish a goal; just that it’s something that will make you happy or fulfilled once it’s accomplished. think about the list as items make their way onto the page. if you start to feel worried or burdened, reconsider whether an item belongs.

Style

most wanted donna chambers’s new sterling line features the same beautiful antique mother-of-pearl game chips starting at $200 instead of $600. red carpet real-life interpretations of celebrity jewels for a good cause nancy grando, president, grando jewelry, los angeles, has reintroduced her jewelry with a heart line of pins and pendants to raise money for heart disease research.

Up Year in a Down Economy

some jewelers are flourishing despite the economic downturn. we asked three to share the strategies that helped them beat the recession blues.

Better Mood at Tucson

the mood at the recent agta gem fair, in tucson, ariz., was far more upbeat than it was at last year’s fair, exhibitors told jck. “the retailers who are at the show this year are the ones who had a better-than-expected 2009,” says anil maloo, president of baggins, a los angeles pearl company. “retailers are buying carefully and are cautious about the future but know they need to restock for 2010.