May 2010

Gold Rush

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Netflix for Jewelry?

the biggest boost for the site formerly known as bagborroworsteal.com came in 2008’s sex and the city movie. while interviewing a prospective assistant (played by jennifer hudson), carrie bradshaw (sarah jessica parker) suddenly blurts a question: “how does an unemployed girl with three roommates afford a patchwork denim louis vuitton bag?” “it’s rented,” comes the reply.

Wonderland of Jewelry

if fashionist as are suffering frugal fatigue, then the decadent embellishments from the fall runways will definitely knock them off the anti-indulgence wagon. feathers, beading, sequins, golden fabric, and other embellished designs signal hopeful moods ahead, thanks at least in part to more robust economic forecasts.

Diamond iPad Makes a Splash

it was featured everywhere from business week to cnn. at press time, google news said there were nearly 1,000 stories about it. not bad for a product that, its creator admits, doesn’t yet exist. mervis diamond importers’ diamond ipad was born when jonathan mervis, digital strategist for the five-store washington, d.

Connect With Local Blogs

everybody’s got one—the person who knows everybody, seems to know everything, and is aware of every bargain you can find anywhere in the community. such people once maintained their networks through crude tools like the telephone. today, they have blogs—blogs that you need to be on as soon as possible.

Why Flash Sales Are No Flash in the Pan

there’s a red-velvet-ropelike air of exclusivity around so-called “flash” web sites that sell discounted name-brand merchandise for a limited time. one must be invited to join (though invitations aren’t hard to get); only members can purchase their heavily discounted offerings, including jewelry from leading designers; and they don’t show up on comparison shopping tools like froogle.

Valentine’s Day Pearl Giveaways

in the lead-up to valentine’s day, vicki cunningham and her husband, howard, of cunningham fine jewelry, responded to the devastating job loss news in their tulsa, okla., market where 130 police officers lost their jobs. the recent pearl necklace and chocolates giveaway, however, wasn’t just for the public servants who received layoff notices in early january.

Springtime in Basel

spring arrived during the basel fair with perfect weather. it felt like a rebirth of hope and confidence, as confirmed by the sentiments of many vendors. i even heard from one vendor that it was his best show in years and that a surprising number of american retailers visited his booth and bought well.

People

stuller has appointed craig race its new bridal jewelry vice president. prior to stuller, race served as vice president, merchandising, at goldstar jewellery. bonhams appointed susan abeles vice president, head of jewelry, united states. abeles has over 29 years of experience in the auction house and private dealer fields.

Jewelry Puts on Its Fashion Face

fashion and jewelry go hand-in-hand, yet few women think of their local jeweler as a place to find fashion-forward jewelry. that’s because few jewelers understand a key element of the fashion business. retail management consultant kate peterson, of performance concepts, montgomery village, md., explains: “most jewelers don’t have a handle on fashion, because it’s a seasonal business and they’re…

Vender Vetoes Plans for Carlyle

russell cohen’s plan to resurrect carlyle is all but dead, after a leading vendor withdrew its support. cohen, whose family founded the chain nearly 90 years ago, purchased the carlyle name and 14 of its stores following the bankruptcy of former owner finlay enterprises last year. (see “congress, carlyle owners buy stores back,” jck, january 2010, p.

Health Care Reform What It Means to You

the patient protection and affordable care act, the sweeping new health care law signed by president barack obama in march, will likely not directly affect most of the mom-and-pop stores in the jewelry industry, experts say. the law offers a variety of incentives and penalties to prod businesses to offer health insurance to their employees.

The Silver Lining

i believe most americans have a positive outlook. this morning’s wall street journal is a good example of the search for the positive out of the lousy economic times we’ve endured for 15 months. a lead story titled “markets approach milestone levels” stated that “… the outlook brightened following a string of reports showing signs of a pickup in the labor market, service sector, and housing.

A Safer Decade for the Jewelry Industry

the first 10 years of the 21st century may have been the safest decade yet for the u.s. jewelry industry. since 2000, violent deaths, airport thefts, and on-the-road robberies have dropped sharply. more robbery suspects have been arrested, thanks to vigorous post-9/11 law enforcement, information sharing by jewelers, and ongoing efforts by jewelers’ security alliance to raise awareness among po…

Happily Ever After

tim burton’s alice in wonderland film has inspired a bevy of new collections from designers all over the world. from russia to france to brazil, fans of jewelry and fairy tales have ample opportunities to show their affinity for fantasy through some newly launched lines. jewellery theatre’s fairytales, h.

De Beers Execs Visiting More Often

in a sign of de beers’ increasing comfort with doing business in the u.s., its executives’ u.s. trips are becoming more frequent. de beers marketing executives dominic brand and janet sussens recently visited participants in the everlon program. in addition, diamond trading company managing director varda shine was spotted at the 24 karat club dinner in january.

Industry

trade shows glashütte original’s senator chronometer was named men’s watch of the year by a reader’s survey conducted by a german newspaper and magazine. for women’s watches, the top vote getter was baume & mercier’s hampton class 8811. mjsa expo new york, held march 14–17, attracted 3,000 attendees, up from last year, the organization announced.

Mark Motes, COO, Smyth Jewelers, Timonium, Md.

1. what is your best money-saving initiative? last year i asked the managers to reduce their departmental expenses 15 percent. we had to lay off some people. some were hired back, and we hired additional people when we started buying gold, but we needed to let some non-performers go and do more with less staff.

Style

most wanted diamond earrings in the floral collection have just the right blend of contemporary styling and feminine details. in 18k gold, they start at $1,573. what’s your inspiration? pieces in the cougar collection feature diamonds set in 18k white and black rhodium-plated gold and start at a suggested retail price of $7,465.

Diamond Dealers Club Lawsuit Dismissed

one the bitterest disputes in the diamond dealers club’s history has just been tossed out by a new york court. in march, the new york supreme court dismissed a lawsuit by former vice president david abraham against the bourse. the suit contested the club’s two most recent elections. abraham had asked the court to invalidate a referendum that repealed the club’s traditional term limits.

Jewelry Store Murder Makes the Point Don’t Resist

the murder of a 71-year-old new york jewelry store worker shows the importance of not resisting armed robbers, security experts say. according to local news sources, in january an armed robber entered r.s. durant, a small store on the upper east side of manhattan, and ordered two bags filled with jewelry.

What did you buy at the AGTA GemFair, in Tucson, Ariz.?

“i purchased a lovely 40.00 ct. moonstone. i expect to display it for now and possibly make a custom pendant with it later. i purchased another 20 moonstones to be used as accent stones in finished jewelry. i also purchased some boulder opal doublets. i like the stone, and it’s always a good color value for the money.

Here’s to Hope!

i talk to hundreds of retailers on a regular basis, and it still amazes me how many are hoping the economy turns around. hope and about two dollars will get you a cup of coffee at starbucks. if you have a competitor or two in your town, you have an opportunity to increase sales and profit. if a competitor or two has gone out of business recently, you have an opportunity to increase sales and pr…

Customers Waiting on You

it isn’t uncommon to have no customers in a store and suddenly have several. when this happens some customers have to wait, and their waiting experience can significantly affect sales. most will wait for a sales associate if the experience is reasonable, but not if they feel ignored. here are tips to manage their expectations: tim malone , phd, is a jewelry industry consultant, author, speaker,…

Soufflé Pearls’ Dirty Little Secret

soufflé pearls were a big draw at the agta show in tucson this year. displaying beautiful colors and ranging in size from 13 to 20 mm, the newest entry in the high-end chinese freshwater cultured pearl market garnered the immediate attention of buyers. talk among pearl industry insiders is that these attractive pearls hide a dirty secret—muck! pond muck has been dried into spherical …

Improve Inventory Management

dated products are a cash drain that takes up valuable space. david peters, jewelers of america’s resident education and management expert, offers the following tips for saving costs on inventory:

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.

Goldistanbul Sparkles

the turkish jewelry industry is looking both inward and outward for a more prosperous future. manufacturers see new markets within their home country of 77 million people, whose quality of life is improving rapidly. they know their geographic position at the intersection of europe and asia is an opportunity for increased business in eastern europe and the middle east.

Employ by the Smile

jewelers make three common mistakes when hiring salespeople: here’s a better option: hire candidates with a smile and enthusiasm regardless of experience or product knowledge. here are tips on hiring a salesperson: leonard zell has been training jewelers for 25 years. he’s the author of a 180-page sales manual on jewelry-selling techniques and “leonard zell live,” a full day’s recording of his …

Ocean’s Bounty

the lustrous look of top-shelf pearls like south seas and tahitians is an ideal way to punctuate an outfit and make a unique fashion statement.

Jewelers Embrace Cause Marketing

although it’s part of the corporate lexicon, cause marketing is often misunderstood. social responsibility and corporate citizenship practices are mistaken for or lumped in with cause marketing. “when ben & jerry’s ice cream executives talk about their social, economic, and environmental policies as part of their mission statement, that is social responsibility or corporate citizenship,” sa…

Red Carpet

what has become known as “award season” (the six weeks that encompass the grammys, golden globes, and academy awards) helps determine fashion and jewelry tastes and trends for the entire year. we consider the hottest celebrity-world looks and present ideas on how to offer them to customers on real-world budgets.

Gem Pricing Report

buyers are gradually returning to the gemstone industry. encouraging activity is being reported as the market sets its sights on jck las vegas. during the past two years, retailers had moved away from inventory building, but purchasing at the february tucson, ariz., shows and baselworld demonstrate that retailers want to buy stock, although they remain cautious.

A Season to Celebrate

fashion designers expressed unanimously on the runways their certainty that, come fall, women will be ready to celebrate fashion with optimism. after seasons of restraint that echoed the recession-plagued society at large, designers cut loose with clothes that firmly declare confidence in a brighter future.

Q&A With JCK Las Vegas

jck magazine: what’s all the talk about jck being “more retail-focused”? dave bonaparte: over the past 18 months or so, the retail jewelry landscape has been quite challenging. our goal is to provide a platform and venue that allows retailers to gain knowledge and insight to run their businesses better.

Hot Attractions Coming to Vegas in 2010

jck las vegas is swiftly approaching, and anticipation is always high for the bevy of new products to be found. here’s a taste of what to look for.

Looking Forward to Fall Fashion

the economy is looking up, and fall fashion is following suit with gorgeous embellished clothes and fantasy-inspired jewels. shake up the looks in your consumers’ closets by sharing with them the style muses on the pages that follow, complete with easy-to-understand suggestions for how to wear the season’s latest looks.

Stores

northeast daniel baruch, president of gold buyers, west nyack, n.y., was charged with 46 counts of class a misdemeanors for failure to keep a written record of transactions as well as buying precious metals from individuals less than 18 years old, according to the rockland county office of consumer protection/department of weights and measures.

Go L-o-n-g

sexy, long silhouettes have sauntered back into the spotlight. long multi-strands of chain in earrings and necklaces add oomph to otherwise simple designs, while rope necklaces make layering easy and can double as bracelets.

Zale Admits Money Crunch

zale’s latest 10q financial filing admitted it’s short of cash and “may not have sufficient liquidity to meet our operating needs.” it noted that, while it had hired peter j. solomon co. to secure additional liquidity, “it is unclear if, or under what terms, we will be able to modify or extend our revolving credit facility or secure additional liquidity.

How to Shop the Show

before the show set goals. these can include building basic merchandise, adding fresh lines, meeting new vendors, and even boosting staff morale by taking as many people as you can. decide on specific goals, and write them down. decide what you really need. check inventory and find out what is and isn’t selling.

Jewelry Industry Wins Some Battles in War on Crime

the year 2009 had good news and bad news for the u.s. jewelry industry’s security. the good news: total dollar losses from crimes against u.s. jewelry firms shrank, attacks on traveling jewelry salespeople and on-the-road robbery losses fell sharply, and arrests of people suspected of jewelry industry crimes rose almost 23 percent.

Rules for Robberies

source: jewelers’ security alliance “manual of jewelry security”

Cloudy Colors on the Horizon

as appreciation for more common stones such as agate increases, so too does the prevalence of opaque rocks in fine jewelry. these are generally less expensive to work with as they’re considered less precious than others, but their beauty doesn’t disappoint: the schiller or unique shimmer of moonstone, the iridescence of mother-of-pearl, and the rainbow-like display of colors in opals all typify…

Books Worth Reading, Part II

last month this page examined shoptimism: why the american consumer will keep on buying no matter what, by lee eisenberg. this month, we turn to predictably irrational: the hidden forces that shape our decisions, by dan ariely. the original version was published in 2008; however, i recommend you read the revised and expanded edition, published late last year.

Independent Jewelers Dive Into the Talent Pool

amid the doom and gloom the jewelry business has faced during the painful recession of the last two years, there has been one major silver lining for independent jewelers: an available pool of employee talent unlike any the sector has seen in decades. experts note that there are large numbers of experienced, highly skilled jewelry people looking for work, especially those with chain, department…

The Paradox of Choice, by Barry Schwartz; Harper Perennial, 304 pages

a specialty store ran a promotion in which they displayed several types of jam for customers to try. anyone buying a jar got a coupon for a dollar off that purchase. the tasting promo ran twice, first with six varieties of jam, then with 24. the second time, traffic at the table increased. both times, people sampled about the same number of selections.

Let Customer Preference Guide Marketing

a forrester research inc. study from last year titled “marketers: stop the abuse! adopt preference management” explores the importance of knowing customer preference before building e-mail, direct mail, and telemarketing campaigns. forrester researchers wonder how “80 percent of marketers can claim that customer preference is a key factor in determining which message is sent to customers when o…

Design Inspiration

from the sea to the stars, influence for design is everywhere. incorporating fashion with function, these four watches showcase designs inspired by elements of everyday life.

How Are Your Diamond Sales Performing?

the decline in jewelry store revenue over the last 18 months has seen many jewelers wondering where the good times have gone. although volumes have been maintained, and even increased, the drop in average spend has had the biggest affect on most stores, and this shows no signs of easing. one of the biggest average spend categories, diamonds, warrants further analysis.

Gold Rush

jewelry’s time-honored metal may be considered conventional at times, but these designs prove there’s always something new and fabulous under the (golden) sun.