'E-commerce can't be an afterthought.'
Sofia Kaman Fine Jewels in Venice, CA, took first place in the Small Cool Division of INSTORE's America's Coolest Stores 2017 awards program. Here we bring you a Q&A with owner/designer Sofia Kaman and her husband, Geoff.
What advice do you have for retailers who are developing e-commerce?
“E-commerce can’t be an afterthought. It has to be integrated in your client’s experience,” Kaman says. “It’s another opportunity for clients to have a similar experience to coming to the shop. That’s what our goal is. We want people to be comfortable and at ease (online or in the store), to have a beautiful space that’s functional, secure and easy to use. Geoff is function, function, function, and I’m fashion, fashion, fashion. So it’s walking a delicate balance from having a space that feels like a gallery, that feels aspirational and is presented in a beautiful way. But it also has to be accessible and shopable.
How do you make sure it works from a technical aspect?
“It’s all about SEO,” Geoff says. “You can’t take your foot off the pedal for a minute and you have to be consistent. You have to have tech-savvy people to be able to sell online and pay attention to details. To grow it, it does take people power."
Sofia, how do you think your background in education affects how you deal with customers? Does it help you to explain things?
Definitely. I am passionate about gems and love to talk about them. I find most of our clients also love learning about the materials, our process and our story, so it helps to be able to clarify key information for clients when making a big decision.
What kind of marketing do you do?
"We rely a lot on social media, Instagram, Facebook," Sofia says. "We tend to have the most engagement from Instagram. Pinterest is a good tool for wedding and engagement, good for projects and weddings are projects. It’s all tied together. We create our own content for the website and for blog posts and newsletters. We have a photo shoot once every month or two months. We have a mini-campaign around it and that is our theme for the season, with a corresponding newsletter. I’m very conceptual so I like everything to be connected and integrated."
What else is important when getting the word out?
Word of mouth and recommendations go a long way, Geoff says.
When you were studying art history, looking for a medium, what did you like about jewelry?
"To me its appeal was that it represented something that could last a lot longer than we do, using materials from millions of years ago found in the earth," Sofia says.
This article is an INSTORE Online extra.