November 2009

JCK Celebrates 140 Years of Service to Jewelers

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Ask the Expert

for the last four years, dorothy vodicka has been running “ask the expert” television ads on wctv. since she started the tv ads in 2005, vodicka has noticed increases in appraisals, custom designs and jewelry repairs, which also happen to be the top-three topics people in her tallahassee, fla., market ask about most often.

Fire Safety Tips

in conjunction with national fire safety month, jewelers mutual insurance co. offers retailers the following fire safety tips:

JCK’s Annual Salary + Operations Survey

key findings methodology the online survey took place sept. 3–15, 2009, with 14,000 e-mails sent to jck readers, retail panelists, and e-newsletter subscribers. results are based on 404 responses from retailers. editor’s note: additional editorial support and research provided by wing leung, research analyst, reed business information.

Fashion and Jewelry Are Not Forever

when de beers proclaimed “a diamond is forever,” the strategy helped diamonds withstand economic pressures, changes in social attitudes, and the promotion of competitive luxury products. but forever is not so fashionable in jewelry—and that’s a good thing. it isn’t even so fashionable in furniture anymore.

Zale Must Restate Financials

in another blow to troubled zale corp., the company said its financial statements from fiscal years 2008 and 2009 contain errors and are no longer reliable. among those errors: some $41 million in prepaid advertising costs should have been recorded as expenses. in addition, it needs to aggregate approximately $9 million on a pretax basis and record a $4 million charge related to federal income …

Retail Jewelers Discover Diamond Dashes

diamond dashes have become the promotional event du jour for jewelry retailers, with many benefiting from increased web and store traffic, new bridal customers, and a significant boost to their databases including much-coveted e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers of gen x and y members. the company behind these events is scvngr, a mobile marketing and gaming business that took on its first p…

Silver Linings

the sandwich men are back. they’ve been a frequent sight for two years, standing along the highway, rain or shine, wearing giant signboards enticing the public to pick the bones of another bankrupt retailer. the names on the sandwich boards this time strike closer to home, at least in the philadelphia area.

Everlon: Boost or Bust?

ads for the new de beers program, using the brand name everlon, broke in the consumer press in september. i suppose we must pay attention to any de beers program, since their advertising and marketing budgets are the largest in the industry. but i don’t get this one. de beers’ programs have changed radically.

Lazare Kaplan Delays Financials

lazare kaplan announced it could not file its financial report on time, which could lead to its delisting from the new york stock exchange’s amex. the company said it couldn’t file the report “due to [its] inability, at this time, to resolve a material uncertainty concerning the collectability and recovery of certain assets.

De Beers Wants ‘Control’ of Everlon Campaign

de beers wants a lot of control over its everlon diamond knot program, as evidenced by what it’s asking of its retailers. at least one version of de beers’ agreement with retailers includes the following provisions: de beers spokeswoman lynette gould notes: “obviously we have control over the manner in which de beers ip is used—the name, logo, design concept, etc.

International Scheme to Market Diamonds Hits Speed-Bump

the departure of sergey vybornov from russian diamond producer alrosa has slowed the movement of the international diamond board, the pan-industry initiative that is meant to underwrite generic marketing for diamonds. vybornov was a prime backer of the idb. but a letter, signed by representatives from diamond miners de beers, rio tinto, and bhp, said its launch would be postponed so “alrosa has…

Uwe D. Schlappner

location and contact grace by schlappner jewellery, bensheim-auerbach, germany; (49-6251) 985-8880; www.gracejewellery.de. signature style and inspiration modern interpretations of classic styles coupled with technical innovations, in 18k gold, platinum, and diamonds. inspiration comes from architecture and nature and the hunt for balance of sizes and shapes in finished pieces.

Customer Letters Get Automated

it can cost as much as $20 to send a letter to a customer, mostly because of organizational and administrative time, plus production expenses. nancy schuring, the owner of devon fine jewelry, wyckoff, n.j., has decreased those costs, even while making customer letters more personalized. she does so through lettermatics, a system she and her fiancé, joe portale, developed with help from fri…

People

coming + going precious metals buyer cash4gold has hired shawn kernes to serve as chief technology officer. kernes is a former ebay executive who also served as chief technology officer/vice president at stubhub. the gemological institute of america has officially named david j. tearle its new vice president and chief financial officer.

Start the Holiday Selling Season Now!

i mentioned it last year and i’ll say it again: the holiday shopping season isn’t getting longer—it’s getting shorter. just when the greatest number of new customers are coming into stores, salespeople are too pressed to give exceptional customer service, create relationships, sell additional pieces, capture contact information with permission for follow-up, turn over sales that aren’t go…

JCK Celebrates 140 Years of Service to Jewelers

since 1869, jewelers’ circular keystone has been the go-to trade source for fine jewelers. jck has covered significant news events and written in-depth store profiles, investigative pieces, and countless how-to articles in an effort to arm store owners with the information they need to run vibrant businesses.

[Christmas 2009] More of the Same?

the good news for jewelers is that forecasters think christmas 2009 won’t be much worse than christmas 2008. the bad news: it won’t be much better. most economists said that, although the economy is improving, high unemployment and sluggish economic growth will likely hurt retail sales this season. “[there] is positive news as we move into the critical holiday season, but the economic environme…

Kathy Corey, Day’s Jewelers, Maine and New Hampshire

1. what is your single best money-saving initiative? in 2007 we made a significant investment in a new web site platform that ultimately allowed us to cut $600,000 from our promotional budget by eliminating traditional forms of advertising during 2009. to support the new site we hired a full-time in-house photographer and two copywriters to increase the number of jewelry pieces online.

Motivate Employees with Incentive Plans

the success of your business depends largely on how well you motivate your employees to perform. motivation is the key to creating an environment where each employee strives for optimal performance. your real challenge is ensuring that the incentive programs you use are flexible enough to be appealing to everyone on your staff.

Vein Glory

for bradley marks, president of iw marks jewelers, community outreach events to benefit cancer charities are more than doing something for the community. it’s just as much about giving something back to his parents, both of whom died from cancer. “if it’s cancer related we’re involved,” says marks. “whether it’s a national or local cancer organization or event.

Darwin’s Law and Weathering the Storm

recently, i had the opportunity to test market a new product that would provide a significant benefit to jewelry manufacturers. it’s a computer program that incorporates product images and data along with unique customer data. the benefit to the manufacturer is a significant reduction in sample line investment and a consequent significant reduction in insurance expense.

Thoughts From the Great White North

some key thoughts from my “thriving in a down market” seminar at collections by jck in vancouver, canada: what was is gone. the global recession has hit everyone’s mental and fiscal reboot button, not only in terms of the consumer’s mindset but also because we face a new economic reality where old rules and traditional methods of jewelry sourcing and retailing are guidelines at best.

Rock On!

for over 30 years sonny’s diamonds & jewelry was a traditional, high-end jewelry store in an upscale retail boutique area in denver. all that changed in october when michael nedler and his business partner, mark allen, reopened the store as sonny’s rocks. the new moniker’s double-entendre signals a move to a rock ‘n’ roll persona for the store, with many dynamics of the old business model c…

Stores

west elle jewelry has opened its first boutique, in nasr bros. jewelers, denton, texas, a suburb of dallas. the boutique is a stand-alone jewelry center at the front of the store, staged with a red elle wall. traditional jewelers, newport beach, calif., celebrated its 30th anniversary in september, with store owner lula halfacre making a surprise announcement that her son erik would be taking o…

Finlay Finally Has Finale

about a month after it filed a long-awaited chapter 11, finlay is liquidating its assets, including the bailey banks & biddle chain and the highly regarded chains carlyle and co. and congress jewelers. liquidator gordon bros. was the high bidder at the sept. 23 auction for finlay’s assets. the company bid 85.

Three Reasons PR Adds Value to Marketing

anytime you’re quoted or your store is featured in an article in print, online, or on air, it enhances the credibility of your business. the key to successful pr is patience and understanding that every time your name or store name appears in the press, your reputation as a jeweler grows. public contact is a form of public relations.

New Frontiers in Jewelry Retailing

virtual inventories and customer participation in jewelry design are giving retail jewelers new tools to compete in the 21st century. matt lauzon got the idea for paragon lake after he watched friends shop for jewelry. “they knew what designs they wanted, but they couldn’t find them,” he says. so the entrepreneurial-minded 23-year-old dreamed up a company that would “revolutionize the jewelry s…

New Fortunoffs Won’t Carry Jewelry

the fortunoff family is reopening six stores under the fortunoff name, but they will feature outdoor furniture, not jewelry. “we have no new news to report on the jewelry front,” david fortunoff told jck. “it’s obviously an area of interest, but we are still getting our thoughts together. i think any conversation at this point would be premature, though we remain open to it.

Industry

gemstones the nuclear regulatory commission notified jewelers vigilance committee and american gem trade association that they will take no action against anyone who imported or sold irradiated gemstones in the united states from 2001 to 2007. there were no licensed entities operating in the united states during this period.

Gem Pricing Report

as the holiday season approaches, dealers are expressing cautious optimism that consumers will return to the market. no one expects sales to be strong, but consensus is that the retail jewelry market is better prepared to cater to nervous consumers. attracting customers—still concerned about job losses, tight credit, and debt—requires a proactive strategy.

What’s Keeping You Awake at Night?

1. stay aware of your physical state. when we get upset, the pulse rate quickens and the muscles tense. awareness of your body’s reactions to stress is the first step to maintaining a calm state of mind. 2. exhale and stay cool. understanding your breathing will help you stay healthy. under stress, it’s common to hold your breath or take short breaths.

Keep Employees Motivated This Holiday Season

because of the economic downturn, a majority of you are working with fewer people, less merchandise, and shrinking marketing dollars. that means your team will work harder and longer between nov. 26 and jan. 1 than they probably ever have. fortunately, you can motivate them without spending your holiday profits.

Book Smarts

broken windows, broken business: how the smallest remedies reap the biggest rewards, by michael levine, grand central publishing, $13.99 (170 pages) michael levine’s book is based on a theory contending that something considered as minor as a broken window actually sends an important message to people who see it.

Retain Experienced Personnel in an Economic Downturn

“one of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is to think about letting go the highest paid, most experienced employees for a less experienced yet less expensive replacement,” writes ricci victorio in a recent expert business source post titled “how to cut back without crippling your organization.

From the JCKonline.com Blogs

at the 2009 mtv video music awards, hoop earrings took the spotlight, while pear-shape drops and earrings with leaf- and waterfall-like effects ruled at the 2009 primetime emmy awards. the usual suspects—fred leighton, neil lane, chopard, among others—dressed most of the celebs, while a handful of other designers (siera) managed to place a jewel or two on a star.

For A Good Cause

eighteen rings in the stars of africa collection feature floating diamonds—stones that float freely in silicone fluid inside natural sapphire domes, like “snowflakes” inside a snow globe. all are set in 18k yellow, white, or rose gold and range in price from $4,950 to $7,900. the collection is part of royal asschers stars of africa initiative, which raises money for health care, education…

Most Wanted

i love the tiny stones, colors, and mix of cuts. the lone pearl off the clasp (not shown) is positioned to trail elegantly down a back, while the entire composition in the front is ideal for punctuating a plunging neckline. the barely visible ruby and black diamond chips in the chain perfectly complete the piece.