March 2007

Vacheron Constantin Offers Look at Traditional Watchmaking

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Case Study: Von Bargen’s Jewelry, Springfield, Vt.

von bargen’s jewelry, a successful four-store chain headquartered in springfield, vt., is “relentless on [implementing] the concept of long-term branding,” says founder and president john von bargen. he started his company in 1975 (“i just love vermont,” he says, explaining the reason for the location) and focused initially on silver jewelry, later expanding to include …

Trend Alert: Birds

bird is the jewelry industry’s word lately, as numerous designers craft metal-feathered versions of their favorite fowl. inspiration comes from ancient civilizations, romantic notions, and even traditional american tattoos. sparrows are a favorite among designers, but other varieties can be spotted flying just below fashion’s radar.

Harder Honored at Gala

ronald r. harder, chief executive officer of jewelers mutual insurance, was recently honored in new york city by industry leaders in advance of his retirement in may. the jewelers mutual gala, held at the marriott marquis hotel on times square, had a tongue-in-cheek james bond theme—playing off harder’s unassuming nature and the company’s insurance “agents”—…

Don’t Rest on Your Laurels, Part 2

last month we discussed adding a new line of jewelry. now let’s examine how to launch that line as part of your ongoing marketing, advertising, and communications. treat the launch like the birth of a child. if allowed by local zoning or mall rules, hang a handsome, specially produced vinyl banner outside your store announcing the line’s arrival.

The Human Element of Your Store Brand

in considering your sales associates’ role in representing your store brand, it’s essential to understand what a brand is. it’s not a name, a building, or a product. it’s a promise that’s publicly conveyed to customers at every point of contact. your sales associates represent your store to the public and are responsible for delivering on that promise consistently.

Gallery of Diamonds Relocates

gallery of diamonds, established in 1991 in costa mesa, calif., has moved to plaza newport shopping center in newport beach, calif. the store also held its 15th annual why mom deserves a diamond contest. gallery of diamonds awarded two students each a 0.25 ct. brilliant-cut diamond with a retail value of $500 for best expressing why their mother deserves a diamond.

Jewels, Golden Globe Style

a more laid-back cousin of the academy awards, the recent golden globe awards nonetheless gave a sneak peek at red-carpet trends for the coming season. the awards also showcased some of hollywood’s finest independent thinkers, from hilary swank, who sported an enormous bejeweled flower tucked just behind her ear like a flamenco dancer who hit the lottery, to ever-the-convention-bucker angelina …

Thinking Beyond Tomorrow

as 2006 was drawing to a close, i was asked to moderate a discussion at an industry breakfast that i regularly attend in new york. the attendees come from every corner of the trade on the supply side and are experienced and knowledgeable people. our early morning roundtables are open and frank discussions of many important issues.

Case Study: Shreve & Co. Jewelers, San Francisco

in 2006, shreve & co. jewelers, san francisco, held a yearlong promotion tied to the centennial of the san francisco earthquake. the 146-year-old company’s flagship building at post and grant streets—opened in april 1906, a month before the great quake—was one of very few in the city to survive intact.

West Coast Jewelry Show Adds Free Hotel Rooms

the west coast jewelry show has added a complimentary hotel room program for retailers attending the show from 50 or more miles away. in addition, the show has shifted to later dates, sept. 9–10. the location will again be the anaheim convention center, hall e, anaheim, calif. this year the holiday boot camp educational seminar program will take place on the show floor, with extra sess…

A Hands-On Guide to Transforming Your Business

when de beers began the strategic review that ultimately led to its supplier of choice program in 2000, the diamond industry was shaken to its foundations. whether soc has been better or worse for the industry is a matter of opinion, but in view of the industry’s overall financial health (see “2007 forecast: moderate growth, despite pressures,” jck, february 2007, p.

The New Judaica

move over italy, brazil, and germany. israeli jewelry designers, long lost in the shuffle of countries looking for global exposure, are making a move to correct that. a newly formed group of israeli jewelers named the holy land group aims to introduce israeli designs to consumers beyond their borders.

On the Road in Madison

it’s the coldest weekend of the year when i visit madison, wis. the windchill factor is –25. it burns exposed skin, freezes tears, and nearly persuades me to fly back to new york to conduct phone interviews from the warm safety of my cubicle. the jewelers of madison are unfazed by the weather. owners and sales associates are inside their stores conducting business as usual and treating me…

Levinger Acquires Speidel

fred levinger, the former ceo and owner of colibri, has acquired certain assets of speidel, the east providence, r.i.–based manufacturer of watchbands, watches, and other accessories. “since june 2005, i’ve been semiretired, but i think i’m going to flunk retirement,” he quipped in an exclusive interview with jck.

Br@nding Your Store Reference Guide

have you ever tried to grab hold of a live fish? it’s hard to grasp. and so, it seems, is the concept of a store brand for many jewelers. while two out of three respondents to a 2006 jck national survey said they have a store brand, many identified it as their store name, longevity in their market, their logo, or exclusive distribution of a product.

JCK Events Announces Las Vegas Dates

luxury by jck will take place may 29–31, at the venetian hotel. premiere by prestige promenade will take place in conjunction with luxury by jck on the same dates. the jck show ~ las vegas will be held june 1–5, at the sands expo & convention center, las vegas convention center, and venetian resort hotel.

Sterling Steps Up

there’s a golden rule in track and field: when you’re ahead, don’t look back. that seems to be the motto, too, of sterling inc., the largest u.s. specialty retail jeweler, based in akron, ohio, which focuses on marketing and growth strategies rather than on its competitors. in the past couple of years, sterling—the 1,297-store u.

Appointments

The Colibri Group Inc. has appointed Michael McCombs as executive vice president of global sales. McCombs began a 25-year career at Gillette as a territory sales rep and also served as key account manager, district supervisor, district sales manager, and regional marketing manager. Most recently, he held the position of vice president, account development for…

Finding Your Store Brand’s Target Customers

who are your target customers? here’s what some jewelers told jck recently: “the community.” “everyone.” “whoever comes into the store.” here’s what others said: “females, 20 to 30 years of age, planning to get engaged or married.” “customers aged 20 to 40 years.

From the JCKonline.com Blogs

why we love this business at the jck show advisory board dinner, i was chatting with anna martin, senior vice president of abn-amro bank, and a lovely lady i’ve known for years. our conversation wasn’t about business, it was about “the business.” i began to say “it either gets into your blood right away and you’re in it for life,” and anna finished my s…

How Can a Salesperson Increase Sales?

there are three basic ways that anyone selling can boost what they sell. all this takes study, practice, and application. nothing is easy. dedicate yourself to learning one new skill a day and you will be well on your way to increasing your personal sales. author, trainer, consultant, and speaker brad huisken is president of ias training and the author of the books i’m a salesman! not a ph.

De Beers Launches Supplier of Choice 2

the diamond trading company recently unveiled supplier of choice 2, a policy that modifies many aspects of its industry-changing supplier of choice program. the basics of the new policy are: the new direction was generally welcomed by sightholders. “it’s a big step forward,” says hertz hasenfeld of hasenfeld-stein.

Brand Promise: Providing the ‘Second Wow’

several years ago, i was entertaining customers at dinner. after salads were delivered and the waiter left, one customer said she didn’t like carrots. when the entrées were served, everyone’s side dish had a medley of broccoli and sautéed carrots—except the one set before the guest who disliked carrots.

Happenings

the museum at the fashion institute of technology in new york examines colors in its new exhibit, “she’s like a rainbow: colors in fashion.” the exhibit explores the history, symbolism, science, and psychology of color in fashion via a dizzying array of clothing from the past 150 years.

Three Case Studies: Twist, Nahoku, Preston’s Rocks

twist, seattle in the pacific northwest, three twist boutiques have an employee dress code that emphasizes comfort: high heels and neckties are strictly forbidden. the owners of twist, which sells beautiful, colorful designer objects, including jewelry, enforce the rule: “you can be sent home for being overdressed,” says paul schneider, co-owner with his wife, lauren eulau.

The JCK Industry Fund

did you know that the jck publishing group (publisher of jck, jck luxury, jckstyle, and jckonline.com), along with the jck shows, have given $3,600,000 back to the industry since 1998? many people don’t know this, and we think it’s time they do. the jck industry fund was established in ’98 as a way for the jck publications and shows to express their appreciation for industry s…

Resources

consultants crown luxury consulting 9229 hidden bay lane orlando, fl 32819 (407) 876-8720 crownluxury@aol.com marketing, merchandising, distribution, product development, etc. ab kohler & company promotional products division 150 river rd., suite #0-4 montville, nj 07045-9441 (973) 263-2498 e-mail: info@abkohler.

What is a ‘Store Brand,’ Anyway?

there are watch and jewelry brands; grocery, toy, and auto brands; soft drink brands, cosmetics brands, and clothing brands. but what’s a store brand? many jewelers surveyed by jck assume it’s synonymous with their name, logo, niche marketing, or even the well-known brand-name products they sell. they’re wrong.

JVC: Class-Action Suits OK

industry members should not be alarmed if they are solicited by companies offering to help them file claim forms to receive a settlement from the class-action lawsuit against de beers, reports the jewelers vigilance committee. cecilia gardner, jvc executive director and general counsel, tellsjck she has received two or three calls a week from industry members asking if these companies—…

History Channel Airs Blood Diamonds Doc

as part of the media hype surrounding the movie blood diamond, in december the history channel aired a two-hour documentary on the issue. the film, blood diamonds, includes appearances by de beers spokesman andy bone, cecilia gardner of the world diamond council and jewelers vigilance committee, and saul goldberg of the william goldberg diamond corp.

Gem Pricing

the february gem shows confirm that demand for colored gems is improving, especially for high-end, extra-fine-quality material. prices for extra-fine ruby and sapphire are high and rising. dealers say material is scarce as overseas buyers compete for product, and there’s frustration at the lack of 3.

Choosing the Right Brands for Your Store

lee michael berg’s grandmother used to tell him, “you’re known by the company you keep.” her old-fashioned wisdom is truer than ever in today’s marketplace. berg, president and chief executive officer of lee michaels fine jewelry, with eight stores in louisiana, mississippi, and texas, says the lee michaels name is the company’s most marketable asset, but its…

To Break the Loop, Find the Root

in working with sales managers i am sometimes reminded of bill murray in groundhog day. murray’s character, phil, becomes caught in a time loop in which he awakens each morning to live the same day again and again as he desperately searches for the behavior that will set him free. sales managers can get caught in their own time loop in which they wrestle with the same problem day after da…

The Power of Fantasy

here in the jck magazine offices, we have a running joke about my editorial page versus publisher mark smelzer’s monthly letter: i rant, he raves. one of my pet rants is the shopping experience, which, i’m happy to note, is becoming a prominent topic of concern in the industry. at the centurion jewelry show in tucson, ariz.

JA Not Happy About NGO Survey Questions

a new ngo survey of jewelry retailers has led to protest from jewelers of america, which claims its questions are “likely to blindside” retailers. the controversial questions include “what actions are you taking on smuggling from the ivory coast?” and “[what are] your policies for ensuring that your suppliers are responsibly sourcing diamonds?” ja chairman…

NYPD Chief Hails Jewelers’ Security Alliance

new york city police commissioner raymond w. kelly, speaking at the jewelers’ security alliance’s annual luncheon, hailed jsa for its cooperation in the fight against jewelry crime. he noted that losses in the jewelry industry have been cut in half in the last nine years and jsa has been a major part of that effort.

Case Study: Luisa Graff Diamonds & Jewelers, Colorado Springs, Colo.

a focus on fun has helped luisa graff diamonds & jewelers, colorado springs, colo., increase sales from $1.6 million to $3.5 million in five years. it also has helped the store win a number of local “best jewelry store” awards in colorado springs for four consecutive years, and graff will soon open a second store in the area.

Samuels Acquired by Indian Sightholder

in another sign of vertical integration in the jewelry industry, 97-store chain samuels jewelers, based in austin, texas, was recently acquired by indian jewelry manufacturer gitanjali for $45 million. gitanjali, a dtc sightholder and one of india’s largest exporters, owns 750 retail outlets in india.

Northeastern Fine Jewelry Aids Ronald McDonald House

northeastern fine jewelry, albany, n.y., earmarked a portion of all november proceeds to illuminate the ronald mcdonald house in traditional holiday lights and to purchase holiday gifts for its young residents. partial proceeds from the sale of jewelry in november also went toward purchasing thousands of dollars’ worth of presents for children staying at the house and others returning for a vis…

Congress Jewelers Opens Coastland Center Store

congress jewelers has opened a store in coastland center, fla. it’s the first store in collier county and the eighth in the nation to introduce a rolex boutique. it features designer jewelry by john hardy, leslie greene, louis glick, roberto coin, and others as well as timepieces from both breitling and rolex.

Smart Budgeting for Smart Store Branding

is your store successfully targeting your market with “bbs”—brand budgeting—or are you shooting blanks? a number of jewelers surveyed by jck say their storebrand strategy (if they have one) has little or no effect on their operational budget. for most, the only effect is deciding how much of gross sales to allot to advertising.

Exclusive: A Diamond Scam No One Is Talking About

a recent incident in antwerp, belgium, has shed light on an apparent scam in which con artists defraud diamond dealers by selling colorless topaz as diamond rough. the incident began on jan. 17 when antwerp diamond dealer eddy elzas got a call from a diamond buyer who said he was at an airport in switzerland “buying rough in the duty-free zone.

950 Palladium Bench Guide

this palladium bench guide reviews the working characteristics of palladium for the bench staff and provides an overview of the advantages and benefits of palladium jewelry for managers, sales professionals, and consumers. here, find some commonly encountered palladium jewelry scenarios and the related materials available in the industry today.

Case Study: Arthur Gordon, Oklahoma City

arthur gordon, a third-generationjeweler in business for two decades, has focused in recent years on marketing his award-winning jewelry (50 percent of his business in 2004). the goal was to set his store apart. “there are lots of jewelers named ‘gordon’ in this town,” he says. success led to the decision to create a new brand for his store.

Quality Gold Named Exclusive Distributor for Michael Anthony

quality gold has become the exclusive distributor of the michael anthony line to u.s. independent jewelers. michael anthony supplies cast charms, earrings, bracelets, and specifically licensed jewelry. it recently expanded its selection to include more than 5,000 new designs in precision laser-cut nfl and mlb licensed pieces.

Case Study: Martin Binder Fine Jeweler, Valparaiso, Ind.

martin binder fine jeweler has been a successful business in valparaiso, ind., for 65 years. the retailer has a good fix on its store brand identity and promise. “it’s based on customer service, loyalty, and integrity,” says marketing manager helen flude. “our customers know that the martin binder brand assures them of cohesive product quality and honesty.

Botswana Bushmen Win Land Dispute

another controversy lurking around the diamond industry seems to have been settled. in december, a botswana high court ruled that the country’s san bushmen could return to their ancestral homeland in the kalahari desert. activist groups like survival international had insisted that diamond mining, and de beers in particular, were behind the evictions.

‘The Gun Is Still Pointed at Us’

at a recent meeting of the jewelers vigilance committee there was yet another discussion of the film blood diamond. this time, the meeting attendees congratulated themselves on a job well done, since the film’s impact appeared to be insignificant. the consensus opinion was: the industry dodged a bullet as a result of a concerted effort on the part of many industry groups and leaders to address …

Revere Holds 10th Masters Symposium

plique-á-jour enameling and filigree wirework, japanese inlay, textile techniques in metal, argentium, and dental techniques are five of the subjects that will be offered during the revere academy’s 2007 masters symposium, to be held april 7–29. the academy will host eight master craftspeople from around the world teaching two- and five-day workshops in their specialized areas.

The Power of the Private Label

“our store brand is our face in the market, the one we want people to know. so we try to do as much as we can to support it with our private labels, blending them with the store’s strategic interests and advertising.” so says virginia beach, va., jeweler david nygaard. like many jewelers, he uses private-label products—made by or for the jeweler and bearing the store name or …

MarketingYour Store Brand

paula k. peterson, president of crown luxury consulting, orlando, fla., is one of the industry’s most savvy marketing experts. she has launched wholesale businesses for van cleef & arpels, harry winston, and tiffany; created new market opportunities and strategies for companies such as harrods of london and cartier inc.

Santa Fe Symposium Advances the Science of Adornment

it began in 1987 in santa fe, n.m., as a gathering of manufacturers interested in exchanging ideas on metallurgy and other jewelry-manufacturing processes. eddie bell, chief executive officer of rio grande, and his friend and colleague dave schneller created it to address what they saw as a lack of available information on those topics.

Visual Merchandising and Your Store’s Brand Image

the visual presentation of jewelry is a critical component of your store brand because of its close proximity to the merchandise itself. pieces sit on risers, necks, and trays, which are stages for presenting products in their best light. these displays must attract attention to jewelry, help create interest, fuel desire, enhance perceived value, and do so without drawing attention to themselves.

Design Focus

this installment of design focus was sponsored by gemvision corp. for information related to gemvision products and services, visit www.gemvision.com, call (800) 357-6272, or e-mail: info@gemvision.com through the doors of the philip rickard honolulu headquarters you’ll find a warm and inviting retail destination that not only displays original hawaiian heirloom jewelry but also offers vi…

I W Marks Named a Top 10 Arts Supporter

the business committee for the arts has named i w marks jewelers in houston one of the 10 best companies supporting the arts in america. the national list—the first of its kind created by a not-for-profit organization—was initiated by bca in 2005 to recognize 10 companies each year for their exceptional support of the arts in the united states.

Every Package Tells a Story

packaging is a key element in creating and maintaining a brand for your store. that’s because the package is the one item, besides the product, that comes home from the store with the customer. pam levine, founder and president of levine design group, which provides marketing, advertising, packaging display, graphics, and design services for luxury goods companies, says a good packaging progra…

Cultured War: Trade Wants C-Word Terminated

jewelers vigilance committee and nine other industry trade associations want the federal trade commission to amend its jewelry guides to disallow the term cultured as a description for laboratory-created diamonds. “we really felt it was time, given the increased interest in synthetics, to get clarity on the subject,” says cecilia gardner, jvc president, chief executive officer, and …

Review Store-Brand Strategy to Stay on Track

regular review of a jewelry store’s brand and brand strategy should be a constant in its operations, says frank proctor, of the luxury group, a marketing organization for the jewelry industry. “store branding is a long-term strategy, executed over several years, so it should be monitored closely, with evaluation periods built in to the overall program,” he says.

House of Taylor Jewelry Launches Branded Diamond Collection

house of taylor jewelry inc. has announced that the company is enhancing its loose, solitaire, and certified diamond offerings to retailers and the jewelry trade. as part of its new house of taylor jewelry diamonds collection program, the company is now marketing certified and uncertified diamonds through added distribution channels to expand market penetration and position itself as a competit…

Palladium’s Progress

in early 2006, the well-known platinum jewelry designer scott kay sent a letter to fellow jewelers singing the praises of palladium. the price of palladium was $371 per ounce and though buzz had been minimal, kay predicted it would be the top white metal for the industry within two years. a closer look at the inner workings of palladium production, as well as feedback from suppliers and retail…

Patek Philippe, Seiko Get New Presidents for U.S.

two top watch brands have new presidents for their u.s. operations. patek philippe usa larry pettinelli is the new president of the henri stern watch agency (also called patek philippe usa), the u.s. division and distributor of patek philippe, one of the best-known swiss luxury watch brands in the u.

Newswire

Swiss watch exports for 2007 should increase 9 to 10 percent, “which can be considered extraordinary,” predicted Jean-Daniel Pasche, president of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, in an interview with a Swiss paper in December. He said 2006 was “an excellent year [and a] record year in terms of value [of exports].”…

Is the Wristwatch Past Its Time?

total u.s. watch sales slipped 4.9 percent between 2001 and 2005 to $7.6 billion, says the 2006 u.s. watch and clock market report of packaged facts, a product research firm. the report cites cell phones, cable boxes, computers, personal digital assistants (pdas), ipods, and even dvd players as providing “all the time readouts one needs.

Vacheron Constantin Offers Look at Traditional Watchmaking

swiss watch luxury brand vacheron constantin, the world’s oldest watchmaker in continuous operation, recently hosted métiers d’art, an exhibition of traditional watchmaking skills and decorative arts, at sotheby’s auction house in new york city. this was the first time the brand has demonstrated its crafts-people’s expertise to the public outside of its home in geneva.

Blood Diamond Director Appears at Conference

ed zwick, the director of blood diamond, appeared at the rapaport diamond conference in january, giving a speech that was unsparing in its criticism of the diamond industry. billing himself as the only attendee “with no discernible agenda other than my own,” he said making the film changed his perspective on the world.