Outside The Box: Kick Up Your Heels Party

Outside The Box: Kick Up Your Heels Party

Published in the May 2013 issue

Reis-Nichols Jewelers , Indianapolis, IN

Since 1919, Reis-Nichols has been a well-known jewelry name in Indianapolis, but more recently, the store has become famous for its groundbreaking holiday parties and events. The “Kick Up Your Heels” theme drew a record crowd by featuring burlesque dancers flown in from Las Vegas, a drink server whose “dress” carried the wine glasses, and a special appearance by Penny Preville.



How successful was the event?
Honestly, our goal for this annual holiday event is to thank and entertain our top clients. We measure our success by how much fun people have and the buzz it creates in the community. It takes a lot of guts for an owner to commit $50,000-plus to throw a party where the ultimate goal is to just show ’em a great time, but we’ve never failed to see the return on investment yet.

Who is invited?
The We typically invite our clients with the highest spends in the past three years. It is so much fun that if a customer happens to fall off the list one year, we usually get a call from them wondering where their invitation is.

What did having Penny Preville at the event add to the experience?
Penny’s line was new to our store just a few weeks before the party, so we invited her to attend. Honestly, there was such a big crowd and so much food, drink and entertainment that it was hard to make her stand out there, so six months later, we held a private special event off-site in a vintage tea room space. She is terrific with clients one-on-one, and when you present her jewelry collection in a venue that reflects her persona, it really resonates.

Why was the concept of the burlesque used?
We pushed the envelope with that party and — I’m not gonna lie — we offended a few. It was risky, but people are drawn to sexiness, whether they admit it. We hired a professional burlesque dance team and they tamed things down for us. All in all, customers enjoyed it, even if it made them blush... I didn’t see anyone offended enough to leave! We certainly had everyone’s attention!

Were incentives were offered to attend?
There are no incentives to attend; in fact, our invitations read more like teasers — date, time and entertainment featured. We tend to cut our invite list back a bit each year and require guests to RSVP to avoid overcrowding. We do offer some tiered discounts on the night of the event, but they are never announced ahead of time and have lots of exclusions since we carry so many designers that prohibit discounting.

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Selling Design: Amanda Tropila

Selling Designs

Amanda Tropila

Published in the May 2013 issue


In my position at PGI, I have the opportunity to speak with a range of designers about their work in platinum. They use words like “passion,” “love” and “timelessness.” The message is clear: Platinum inspires emotion.

Today’s consumer is savvy and is looking for value. Value is not communicated through a price tag, it is communicated through what the price tag has to offer. As the price of gold and platinum have never been more comparable, it is important to clearly define the difference to consumers seeking a white metal and why platinum represents the better value.

The words malleability and ductility rarely ignite the same enthusiasm in a consumer when discussing jewelry. However, these are the very qualities of platinum that render it an ideal metal for jewelry design. Danhov founder Jack Hovsepian designs each platinum piece by hand, making a truly special experience for the consumer. “Platinum is a wonderful metal to work in,” he says. “Its ability to be drawn out into a thin wire allows me to craft it into such intricate and unique designs.”

Vintage-inspired styles are always in fashion, and as many of the original art deco pieces were made in platinum, the consumer often feels a connection to tradition through these designs. Phyllis Bergman of Mercury Ring has created several detailed pieces that invoke a vintage spirit and are reasonably priced for stunning pieces that will last a lifetime without changing color, fading or wearing away.

Steven Kretchmer’s more contemporary approach uses platinum to craft chunky geometric shapes that often hold colored gemstones and diamonds, highlighting the metal’s secure setting and natural white color that won’t cast color into gemstones.

The range of skilled artistry in platinum design is broad and there is truly a platinum piece to speak to every customer. The key is knowledge, communication and variety.

THIS MONTH'S EXPERT: Amanda Tropila, Public Relations Coordinator, Platinum Guild International USA

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Media Barometer: May 2013

Published in the May 2013 issue

 Designer Eddie Matthew Scrivens, photographer of Armani’s primary fashion campaign, returns with Brazilian model Marlon Teixeira, who sports a variety of men’s jewelry looks.

Italian beauty Bianca Balti stars in the fashion brand’s nostalgic outdoor campaign shot by Giampaolo Sgura.

2011 Sports Illustrated cover model Irina Shayk stars in the Italian jewelry brand’s spring/summer ads.

Model Annemara Post evokes a sophisticated vintage look, as photographed by Mario Schmolka.



BELOW SHOWSbelow shows the top jewelry companies receiving editorial publicity in the last 12 months in the following magazines: Brides, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Town & Country, Vogue and W. Figures indicate the number of times the brand was mentioned.



“Inner Circles: The hoop earring once again makes its way round.” Town & Country, March 2013, p 69

“With references spanning the farflung reaches of the Far East and the gritty streets of NYC, the accessory world leaves no stone unturned.” Elle, March 2013, p 276

“Chain Chokers: Serious linkage is still in vogue and you can add punch to the simplest top. Remember bold is always better.” Harper’s Bazaar, April 2013, p 134

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My Favorite Things: Claudia Canerdy

My Favorite Things: Claudia Canerdy

Claudia Jewelry, Edgartown and Vineyard Haven, MA

Martha’s Vineyard store owner lauds Gems of Wisdom, a mohair bear and the enticing power of antique mirrors.


Published in the May 2013 issue

1HOOPS Most of our customers want everyday jewelry, so we often show them hoops, which are generally a casual earring style, very appropriate for Martha’s Vineyard. I sell hoops in all metals and all different gems. And all price points — from $25, up to a few thousand. With the college campus close by, we sell a lot of hoops to young women, who especially like the big 2-inch ones.

2MOHAIR BEAR When I was about 8 years old, my mother bought me a small teddy bear — one of those wool mohair plush toys from Steiff. When I got older, I put it in a flannel bag and in my purse, so I could always carry it with me as a kind of good luck charm. It’s comforting to have a little pal along, especially when things become stressful. HUGGIES I carry many different styles and brands because women in every age group love them. They really like when I point out that they can leave on their huggies when they go to bed at night because the back won’t poke into their neck when lying down. A typical huggy sale for us can easily be a $70 all-silver pair from a brand like Zina or a $1,500 18K gold-anddiamond design from Lauren K.

3BLUE-GEM JEWELRY Because summer is our primary season, we particularly sell a lot of colored stone earrings and bracelets — about 60 percent is self-purchase. I make sure I have a big variety of blues, like blue topaz, aquamarine, chalcedony, moonstone and labradorite. People love buying blue gem jewelry because we’re near the water.

4ANTIQUE MIRRORS Our stores are furnished with lots of showcases, cabinets and tables dating back to the 1800s. All the unusual antique mirrors scattered throughout are especially great because, as customers browse, the mirrors kind of invite them to try on the jewelry. People always ask if they’re for sale, and I tell them, “No, but all the jewelry is!”

5A BOOK Gems of Wisdom by Charlene Whitaker is a book I like to bring out when I’m working with customers buying gemstone jewelry. It lists different gems and is concise and easy to use. Each gem’s color is described, as are the psychological properties and healing benefits imparted by that colored stone.

6HUGGIES  I carry many different styles and brands because women in every age group love them. They really like when I point out that they can leave on their huggies when they go to bed at night because the back won’t poke into their neck when lying down. A typical huggy sale for us can easily be a $70 all-silver pair from a brand like Zina or a $1,500 18K gold-anddiamond design from Lauren K.

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Brand Ambassadors: Tommy Aucoin Jr.

Brand Ambassadors: Tommy Aucoin Jr.

Louisiana retailer touts the reliability and uniqueness of Robert Demeglio.


Published in the May 2013 issue

Aucoin Hart Jewelers, Metairie, LA


Aucoin Hart started carrying Roberto Demeglio late 2012, but the store’s relationship with the Italian line’s exclusive American distributor, Beny Sofer, goes back more than three decades. “They know exactly what we like, so as long as it stayed true to Beny Sofer’s high standards, we were very interested,” says Tommy Aucoin Jr. When he laid eyes on the line in Las Vegas last summer, he says, “It was one of those ‘wow’ moments, because there’s nothing like it in the U.S.” Despite its newness here, the jewelry has quickly taken off with clients. “I feel like it’s a whole new category. We knew it was going to be a hit, but it’s gotten bigger and bigger. And I think it’s going to grow.”

CUSTOMERS LOVE IT BECAUSE: “The first thing that they see is that it’s unique — it totally stands out in the case, no matter where we put it. Plus, they realize it’s a beautifully made piece of jewelry, but the durability is incredible. The high-grade ceramic is scratchresistant. It stretches and slides on very easily. So that it’s casual jewelry that also dresses up great.”

IT'S EASY TO SELL BECAUSE: “You don’t see it a lot of places in the U.S. Another thing is the quality. It’s handcrafted by skilled artisans in Italy. And we know from our relationship with Beny Sofer that the quality is excellent.”

THE MOST POPULAR PIECES ARE: “Last fall, the huge hit was a small black bracelet, 11 millimeters, with a single station of diamonds. We bought a few of them, thinking they’d do OK. We didn’t realize how strong it was going to be. But it goes with everything — you can stack it, it goes with diamond line bracelets and won’t get scratched. It’s around $3,200 and is a great introduction to the line.”

I LIKE WORKING WITH THEM BECAUSE: “We’ve had to specialorder some things, and you’re always a little concerned about delivery: Customers don’t mind waiting for something to be handmade in their size, but if you tell them it’ll be three weeks, it has got to be three weeks. Beny Sofer has been wonderful about making sure they deliver on time.”

I’D RECOMMEND IT TO ANOTHER RETAILER BECAUSE: “If you’ve got a fashion customer — either a self-purchaser or someone who wants you to recommend things to her husband or boyfriend — this is a nobrainer. It’s just been a hit, because of the uniqueness, the fashion, and the value. There’s not instant brand recognition right now, but you need to take a hard look at it, because after it does catch on, then it’s going to be hard to get into the line.”

“Aucoin Hart Jewelers has earned an amazing reputation both with its customers and within our industry setting the standard for quality and style. Their enthusiasm for our brand, along with their incredible sell-through, is a humbling compliment for us.” Amit Sofer, Beny Sofer

Brand Ambassador: Tommy Aucoin Jr.

White diamond Cashmere cuff with white diamonds (129.77 TCW) set in 18K white gold on a stainless steel stretch coil. MSRP: $371,760

White diamond Cashmere cuff with white diamonds (129.77 TCW) set in 18K white gold on a stainless steel stretch coil. MSRP: $371,760

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Sanity Files: Kas Jacquot

The Sanity Files: Kas Jacquot

How top jewelers keep their cool in a crazy world

Published in the May 2013 issue

Kas A Designs, jefferson City, MO
A gemologist and award-winning designer, Kas Jacquot says her passion for colored gemstones has fueled her business for 38 years. Because love is always in the air, her focus has recently shifted to diamonds.

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Service Shorts: May 2013


Service Shorts
May 2013

Published in the May 2013 issue

IDD has released its 2013 Bridal Catalog of new and best-selling bridal styles. Displays and marketing materials are available.
Information: www.iddjewelry.com

 Trollbeads has issued a spring catalog inspired by summer and the beach, with 40 new items crafted in sterling silver, Italian glass, semiprecious stones and 18K gold.
Information: www.trollbeads.com

 When Unique Settings of New York has released its Forever Brilliant Moissanite Catalog. Each Moissanite jewel is guaranteed to retain its white color and comes with a certification of light performance, laser inscription and certificate of authenticity.
Information: www.uniquesettings.com

 Through its Change A Band, Change A Life program, Speidel is donating a portion of the proceeds from any Speidel product sold in 2013 to Operation Homefront. The nonprofit provides support to members of the American armed forces and their families.
Information: www.speidel.com

Jewelry Information Center has launched an insider’s guide to fine jewelry style with a blog called Oh My Jewelry! To address jewelers’ growing need for content that will excite and engage their customers online, the image-centric posts are designed to be easy for jewelry brands and retailers to share on their own social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Information: blog.jic.org

 In addition to large catalogs featuring new releases in January and June, Kameleon Jewelry will now publish mini-release catalogs in March and September. The latest catalog contains a new pendant and ring as well as nine JewelPops that have all been named by Facebook fans.
Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or www.jewelpop.com.

Jewelers of America now features an online jewelry jobs board designed to connect employers and talent in the jewelry industry. The service is free for jewelry professionals seeking open positions.
Information: jobs.jewelers.org and www.kleosupportgroup.org

On May 30 in Las Vegas, participants can sign up to bike, run or walk their choice of two courses — 5K or 15K — to benefit Jewelers for Children charity partners.
Information: www.ringsofstrength.org.

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Know It All: May 2013

Know It All
May 2013

Published in the May 2013 issue


1 In a mostly symbolic move, the Senate endorsed the draft Marketplace Fairness Act, which would require retailers in all 50 states to collect sales tax on online transactions. The resolution was non-binding and intended to attract support for the bill, which has so far stirred little interest in the House. Source: BusinessWeek, 3/26/13


2 The number of crimes against jewelers increased last year to 1,538, up 4 percent from 2011. But most of them were less serious “three-minute” burglaries or “grab and runs,” according to the JSA. The combined value of industry losses fell 29 percent to $60.2 million while the number of homicides declined to two, from seven in 2011. Source: INSTORE, 3/15/13


3 U.S. regulators are scrutinizing whether prices are being manipulated in the world’s largest gold market, London, where a handful of banks meet twice daily to set the spot price for a troy ounce of physical gold. Source: Wall Street Journal, 3/13/13


4 Dubai is seeking to replace Antwerp as the rough diamondtrading center of the world by offering generous tax breaks and other benefits to traders. Located between source countries in Africa and India’s polishing factories, it has been drawing trade away from the Belgian city, which saw its diamond trade drop 8 percent to $52 billion last year. Source: Idex Online News , 3/21/13


5 Google and Samsung have reportedly joined Apple with plans to introduce smart watches, seen as the next frontier in consumer electronics. Source: Financial Times, 3/19/13


Getting down on bended knee is no longer enough. In the age of YouTube, grooms are under pressure to produce a theatrical event that can cost more than the engagement ring. Source: New York Post , 3/19/13


Etsy, the world’s biggest marketplace for arts and craft goods, is abandoning fine jewelry. The e-tailer added the category in January but it proved unpopular with shoppers. Source: ecommercebyt es.com, 3/28/13


8 Google is developing a data-encrypted ring that may eventually replace passwords as a hacker-resistant way for users to access their email and other online accounts. Source: New York Daily News , 3/13/13 Mouawad Sets Record With $55m Necklace


9 Austrian jeweler Thomas Hauser has won a prestigious Red Dot Design Award for a series of rings made of palladium and one of the world’s least precious materials — spraypainted concrete. They look stunning regardless. Source: Wired Magazine, 3/23/13


10  A $55 million necklace unveiled by luxury jeweler Mouawad at the Doha Jewelry and Watch Show has been certified by Guinness Records as the world’s most valuable. Source: INSTORE, 3/21/13

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Cool Website: The Polished Edge

Cool Website: The Polished Edge


Published in the May 2013 issue

The Polished Edge opened its second location in 2010 in the Kansas City, MO area, specifically in the newly renovated Power & Light District. The store has added to the vitality of the area by offering such events as flamenco dancing classes when launching a new Spanish line. The new location has also provided the store an opportunity to experiment with hip new brands that are highlighted on its website.


1DISCOVER  With one simple word choice, The Polished Edge turns its website into a place of learning and wonder. Instead of the typical “About Us” page, the store uses the word “Discover” to draw a visitor into the site and the story behind the store. It’s almost irresistible — you have to click on it.

2COLLECTIONS  Pages that describe each designer show examples of the designer’s work, often feature a video and tell a bit of the designer’s back story. This sort of storytelling plays into what the 21st century consumer is looking for.

BUSINESS PARTNERS  To select local businesses and their employees, The Polished Edge offers discounts such as 10 percent off with a company ID or 20 percent off on the anniversary of one’s date of hire or birthday. The store also offers discounts on gift cards bought in bulk.


1BLOG TIMELINESS  When viewed in April, the latest blog post mentioned an upcoming event on Aug. 23. Hmm. Is that 2013? Or was it last year? As the previous post touted the fall ad campaign, it seems blog updates may have been forgotten recently.

2EVENTS While it’s great the site contains an updated events calendar, the events seem as if they are civic meetings in which the store is involved. Nothing wrong with that, but further explanation would help — as would a few events that are about the store and jewelry.

3 RESOURCES  A central “Resources” page has a lot of links to interesting sites that contain information on buying jewelry. Trouble is, will someone return to The Polished Edge after visiting them? Don’t give a visitor that opportunity to leave!

Cool Websites are selected by judges and INSTORE editors from among the top-ranked entries in the 2012 America’s Coolest Stores Contest. Have a cool website? The 2013 contest is now closed to new entries, but be sure to enter the 2014 America’s Coolest Stores Contest.

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Brand Portfolio: Eugene Glam

Brand Portfolio: Eugene Glam


Published in the May 2013 issue.

H Boutique
Eugene, OR

These days, Vegas, New York and LA have got nothing on Eugene, OR, when it comes to stylish fun. At least that’s the marketing message behind the hip new H Boutique brand.

Tobey and Sean Ritchie, third-generation owners of Harry Ritchie’s Jewelers, an Oregon-based family chain founded in 1957, recently took a detour from tradition to open their first H Boutique in the lobby of the hot new Inn at the 5th Hotel.

“We focus on keeping the H accessible, relevant, fun, personal — just completely different from any typical jewelry shopping experience most people are familiar with,” says Tobey Ritchie, VP of marketing for Harry Ritchie’s. “At the essence of everything we do to promote the H Boutique, we strive to convey our brand personality and love for fashion, jewelry and art — and how they can all come together in this shopping experience that we believe is unlike anything else in Eugene or the jewelry industry.”

H Boutique staff, called “stylists,” provide a concierge-style shopping experience, offering espresso and champagne, styling services and advice (including makeup touch-ups at the Belle Bar), tips for surprise proposals, and spa-like treatments for guests’ jewelry at the Sparkle Bar.

From their rooms, hotel guests can call the H and charge purchases to their rooms, browse in-room service menus and jewelry previews, and use branded H Boutique jewelry pouches to store jewelry while at the hotel.

The Ritchies have emphasized events and social media in their marketing campaign while also employing traditional advertising, such as magazines (including airline magazines), billboards and direct mail.


H Boutique’s minimalist advertising clearly reflects the elegant and artistic boutique ambience of its interior. “We want to give Eugene a place where you can get both accessible fashion jewelry and fine jewelry in a fun and approachable space,” Tobey says.


“To us, jewelry and fashion are an art form,” Tobey says. “We tie this philosophy into our marketing by using the unique themes from our store design and custom-made watercolors in our print advertising and our website, www.hboutique.com. Rather than pushing a sales-driven message, we focus on the message that jewelry fashion is accessible and fun.”


Other retailers in the shopping center adjacent to the hotel provide gift cards and gifts for special events. “We’ve had a good relationship so far with the neighbors,” Tobey says.


Since opening its doors in August 2012, the H has specialized in throwing in-store VIP events, complete with a red carpet, gift bags and DJs. The grand opening Block Party drew 600 people to an adjacent courtyard space set up with DJs, outdoor bars and a Carlo Viani trunk show; no one left until they had to — at 10 p.m. — to let hotel guests sleep. “We had VIPs, jewelry try-ons, professional models. We wanted to bring a little Hollywood, a little New York, a little Vegas — an exciting cosmopolitan feel — to Eugene,” Tobey says.


The company uses its Facebook page to promote events while offering a chance to win a $500 gift card. H Boutique adapts to ever-evolving social media opportunities, including Pinterest and Instagram. “Our goal with H Boutique’s social media presence is to build a community of fashionistas that love jewelry and accessorizing and who want to celebrate their own unique sense of style,” Tobey says. “We also strive to keep our fans and followers in the know on what’s hot and inspire them to bring their friends to the H to enjoy a unique shopping experience.”


TV spots and social media offer style tips. “No one’s really focusing on style tips and there’s a real need for that here,” says Tobey. “We created actual segments that are running on cable and network TV, that were shot in the boutique with models.” Tobey is also featured in the ads: “It puts a name with a face, a personality with H Boutique.”


H Boutique serves free H macaroons (made in the store’s colors of teal, pink and gold) every day. They also partner with a local restaurant and serve a signature sparkler, espresso or hot cider every day. Customers can order food in the boutique, too.


H Boutique is known for its glitzy gift bags given away at events, which often include gifts from its retail neighbors, such as a gift certificate for the hotel spa, Gervais. During one H Boutique promotion, spa gift cards of $25 were given to those who spent $250 or more and $50 for purchases of $500 or more. Clients of Gervais, on the other hand, are offered a “spa treatment” for their jewelry at H Boutique’s Sparkle Bar.

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Spiff of The Month: Win the Lottery!


Spiff of The Month: Win the Lottery!


Published in the May 2013 issue.

In this retail version of the ever-popular state lottery, salespeople earn a store lottery ticket for each goal they meet. If no one wins the day or week’s prize, it’s added to the jackpot for the next drawing.

1. Buy lottery tickets, a drum to hold the lottery balls, and a results board.

2. Set the goals — first sale of the day, add-on, biggest sale, etc. — that will earn staff a ticket.

3. Designate a certain time of the day when you’ll draw the winning number. Make a big show of it with whistles, horns or gongs.

SOURCE: Taken from Harry Friedman’s The Retailer’s Complete Book of Selling Games and Contests.
Information: www.thefriedmangroup.com or (310) 590- 1248

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Sales Truths : Put a Fork in Me ... I’m Done!

Sales Truths : Put a Fork in Me... I’m Done!


Published in the May 2013 issue.

WHY IT IS TRUE: You survived Christmas, went through Valentine’s Day, made it nearly to Mother’s Day, not to mention numerous birthdays and anniversaries... and you keep telling yourself: Get a Life!

PLAN OF ACTION: The only way to really get a life is to get away. Get away from everything, your store, your great staff, your marketplace, your customers etc. Forget researching diamonds and gemstones online. Instead, research great vacation destinations that would help you dramatically relieve the tension, which is certainly manifesting itself in you and your great staff. Get away from your store, your business, and everything that at this moment is really important in your life. Grab your spouse or a good friend (preferably not both), check out some desirable vacation destinations, and do something you haven’t done in years. Go, get away, relax, smell the flowers, recharge your batteries and come back prepared to attack the upcoming season with a vengeance. You will be glad you did. — DAVE RICHARDSON

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Woulda Coulda Shoulda: “Who’s Cheap?”


Woulda Coulda Shoulda: “Who’s Cheap?”


Published in the May 2013 issue.

To the guy who said: “This place has gotten cheap. Now you charge me for the battery that used to be free.”

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Know It All: April 2013

Know It All
April 2013

Published in the April 2013 issue


1 It may not have felt like it, but 2012 was close to being a record year for American specialty jewelers with domestic sales reaching $30.7 billion, just $23 million shy of 2007’s all-time high, according to preliminary data from the Department of Commerce. Source: IDEX Online News, 3/4/13


2 Apple has a team of about 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone. It could, according to some observers, revolutionize the timepiece market. Source: Bloomberg, 2/15/13


3 Belgian police are looking for eight men who cut a hole in a security fence at Brussels international airport, drove onto the tarmac and stole an estimated $50 million worth of diamonds from the hold of a Switzerland-bound plane. Source: AP, 2/20/13


4 The median age at which men and women in America marry for the first time hit a record high in 2012 — 28.6 for men and 26.6 for women. For jewelers, this is good and bad news. While older consumers have more money to buy jewelry, they are putting off marriage, which is slowing growth of the bridal market. Source: IDEX Online News, 2/20/13


5 Customer satisfaction with retailers is at an all-time high, according to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, hitting 76.6 percent for brick and mortar stores and 82 percent for online retailers. Source: 24/7, 3/11/13


According to a survey by the David’s Bridal chain in Texas, 57 percent of newly engaged women would change something about their engagement ring if they could. What they want most is a ring they won’t see on someone else’s hand. Source: Houston Chronicle, 6/03/13


Nordstrom will soon sell products sourced from Etsy, according to officials of the online craft site’s wholesale arm. Source: PSFK, 2/28/13


8 Costco Wholesale Corp. has asked a New York federal judge to rule that Tiffany setting is a generic term, not a trademark of the legendary retailer. The motion comes in response to a Feb. 14 lawsuit from Tiffany & Co., which had claimed that Costco was selling rings falsely identified as Tiffany’s. Source: JCK, 3/11/13


9 The Gemological Institute of America has revamped its global-standard gem grading and identification reports to make them lighter, more environmentally friendly and more secure. QR codes printed on each report will verify the document via direct access to GIA’s online Report Check service. Source: Rapaport tradewire, 3/8/13


10 Nielsen Holdings NV is selling its conference unit, which organizes the JA New York and Couture shows. Source: Wall Street Journal, 3/9/13

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Sanity Files: Marcy Feldman

The Sanity Files: Marcy Feldman

How top jewelers keep their cool in a crazy world

Published in the April 2013 issue

Heartwear Designs, Birmingham, MI
Fascinated by the simplicity of the cube since childhood, Feldman started making geometric jewelry in 1970. Her jewelry is known for simplicity and balance. Dare we say “feng shui?”

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Cool Website: Maurice’s Jewelers

Cool Website:  Maurice’s Jewelers


Published in the April 2013 issue

Owned by the Koppel family since 1935, Maurice’s Jewelers has been a growing fixture in Miami, moving to its most recent 4,000-square-foot location in 2011. To this day, there will often be three generations of Koppels working the sales floor.


1BRACELET BUILDER  Just like the big blue boys of the ’Net, Maurice’s has a diamond tennis bracelet builder. Independents can play that game too!

2HOW-TO  Although heavy on text, here is a page that’s overlooked on too many sites. Instead of assuming customers know everything about the Internet, this page tells them how to place orders and answers such questions as what happens to credit card information.

JEWELER’S LIBRARY  From spring fashion tips to a holiday buying guide, the site contains information in 23 categories that a consumer is going to find exceptionally useful.


1DOUBLE-CHECK  In our most recent visit to the homepage, using both Safari and Chrome, the main image of six striking bridal rings overlapped three smaller images below, rendering those images unreadable. Always double-check your homepage. Give it a look every day. Crazy HTML things happen.

2MORE PHOTOS If photos illustrated all the articles in Maurice’s Jewelers Library, this site would hit a home run.

3 UPCOMING EVENTS  In mid-March, the upcoming event listed was a promotion for the previous December. Boy, do we ever know it’s tough to stay on top of this, but expired promotions under the heading “upcoming” aren’t going to cut it with the Web shopper.

Cool Websites are selected by judges and INSTORE editors from among the top-ranked entries in the 2012 America’s Coolest Stores Contest. Have a cool website? Enter the America’s Coolest Stores Contest at www.americascooleststores.com. Deadline is April 15.

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Service Shorts: April 2013


Service Shorts
April 2013

Published in the March 2013 issue

 The 2013 edition of Angelique de Paris’ annual look book presents the designer’s signature colorful creations in sterling silver, 18K gold vermeil and silver-plate fashion. Favorite styles — including Veranda, Bamboo and Contessa — mingle with new favorites Oasis, Bel Fiore and Amalfi. Angelique de Paris creates high quality resin jewelry and gemstone-intense creations.
Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (610) 782-7227

 When Baselworld 2013 kicks off on April 25, the show will do so in its new hall complex. The 1.5 million square feet of show floor will better accommodate the more than 2,000 exhibitors and 100,000 attendees.
Information: baselworld.com

 Parcel Pro Inc. has developed new tech solutions for jewelers. A shipping widget, for example, can be added to a jeweler’s e-commerce website. And an API solution automatically creates shipping labels.
Information: parcelpro.com or (888) 683-2300

Preferred Jewelers International held its first conference for retail members in February. Andie Weinman, CEO, and her husband and co-founder Joe Murphy are the owners of Continental Buying Group. Weinman says the new organization is in the process of testing and marketing a “Preferred Diamond” to be offered exclusively through Preferred Retailers. A Preferred Jewelers Institute cruise is scheduled Sept. 27-30.
Information: www.preferred-jewelers.com

 WR Cobb Online has partnered with David’s Bridal as the platform provider of Design Your Own Bridal and Fine Jewelry. DavidsBridal. com shoppers can access the platform through the “It’s All About You” banner ads appearing throughout the website. Visitors will be guided to a local jeweler to receive their custom-designed ring.
Information: www.wrcobbonline.com or (800) 428-0400.

Five dollars from the sale of each Karma Pop from Kameleon Jewelry’s Karma Collection will help an organization called KLEO — Karen Learning and Education Opportunities, which assists young ethnic Karen people of northern Thailand. The funds will be used to help students living in remote villages to complete middle and high school.
Information: www.jewelpop.com and www.kleosupportgroup.org

Leo Ingwer Inc. is now offering loose diamonds. Every shape stone will be offered from half a carat to 3 carats, D-I color and SI2-IF clarity. The diamonds are GIAcertified, conflict-free, based on personal knowledge and/or written guarantees provided by the supplier.
Information: (212) 719-1342 or leoingwer. com.

Hits: 659

True Tales: Dreams Fulfilled

True Tales: Dreams Fulfilled


Published in the April 2013 issue.

Two things — both happening within 15 minutes of each other:

1A customer came in who had been dreaming about a silver ring for quite a while. Unfortunately, it was vintage, one-of-a-kind and sold. She decided to consider a pair of earrings and said that she would come back in. She came back later that day, and behind her walking in was the person who had purchased the ring several months before. I said, “And here is the person who bought the ring!” This person, who was wearing it, asked the woman why she liked it so much and she answered that it was a special gift for her mom. The person who bought it offered it for sale and accepted the offer the other provided. All left very happy.

2About 15 minutes later, another client, whom I had not seen in 10 years, came in and said that the ring she had purchased from me and returned 10 years ago had been in her dreams for the last several months. It was a platinum, star sapphire and diamond Edwardian ring. She came in on a lark to see if I still had it. Oddly, the person who had purchased the ring for his fiancée a while ago, had recently brought back the ring to trade for another. The person who had been dreaming about it wrote a check immediately and left the store elated. A very strange day indeed! — Donna Soodalter- Toman, DIVA (Donna’s Infinite Variety of Adornments), Newtonville, MA

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Spiff of The Month: Profitmaker


Spiff of The Month: Profitmaker


Published in the April 2013 issue.

This is a game for stores where the staff has the discretion to offer discounts. The contest runs for one week with a prize presented to the sales associate who ends the period closest to a perfect ratio, meaning 100.

 Set a minimum number of sales transactions that staff must meet to become a contender. 5 Track sales and keep a running total. Each sale is worth 100 points, so a 15 percent discount will leave a score of 85 points.

At the end of the week, add up all the points and divide them by the number of transactions, and, voilà, you’ll have your winner. (She’s the one with the highest number of points.)

 Hand out a prize. Also. use the opportunity to mention the perils of discounting. (For more on that subject, see page 92.)

SOURCE: Taken from Harry Friedman’s The Retailer’s Complete Book of Selling Games and Contests.
Information: www.thefriedmangroup.com or (310) 590- 1248

Hits: 448

Sales Truths : Check and Evaluate Job Applicants’ Skills and Composure Under Fire.

Sales Truths : Sales Truths : Check and Evaluate Job Applicants’ Skills and Composure Under Fire.


Published in the April 2013 issue.

WHY IT IS TRUE: Thinking on your feet is a critical sales skill. Measure your candidate’s ability by asking her one or two challenging and unexpected questions.

PLAN OF ACTION: Ask questions such as: “Tell me about your last performance appraisal. In what areas were you most disappointed?” and “How would your previous manager rate your ability to cope with last-minute changes?” Listen carefully to her answers, probe her responses, and fairly evaluate what you are hearing, and seeing in the way of body language. It’s not your job to like the candidate, but rather it’s her job to make you like her. — DAVE RICHARDSON

Hits: 594

Woulda Coulda Shoulda: Uggghhh!!!


Woulda Coulda Shoulda: Uggghhh!!!


Published in the April 2013 issue.

When a guy comes in and says, “The old lady is a little bit angry with me because I bought a $20,000 fishing boat. So, what do you have for $100 to put me in her good graces?”

Hits: 701

Media Barometer: March/April 2013

Published in the March/April 2013 issue

 Designer Eddie Borgo tabbed supermodel Anja Rubik for his spring 2013 campaign (above).

The London-based colored stone producer’s spring 2013 campaign features megastar Kunis in emerald-and-ruby jewelry by six renowned designers.

A high-tech ad allows viewers to “build” the newest iteration of the storied watch by scrolling their cursor, which is followed by a high-energy video.

Model Josephine Skriver wears bright, handmade beaded jewelry by sisters Danielle and Jodie Snyder in the company’s new ads.

Time Top-25 blogger Leandra Medine — a.k.a. “The Man Repeller” — flaunts designer Rebecca Minkoff’s spring 2013 jewelry in a campaign video.



BELOW SHOWS the top jewelry companies receiving editorial publicity in the last 12 months in the following magazines: Brides, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Town & Country, Vogue and W. Figures indicate the number of times the brand was mentioned.



“Retro Mod Squad staples go bold with eyepopping, high-contrast geometric prints.” Elle, February 2013, page 100

“SHAPE UP WITH GEOMETRIC EARRINGS.” Harper’s Bazaar, February 2013, page 67

“Put a pinky ring on it. Your smallest finger is about to get big attention.” InStyle, March 2013, page 186

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In Demand: Green with Envy

In Demand: Green with Envy

The Pantone color of the year begins to hit runways, red carpets and jewelry showcases.

Published in the March-April 2013 issue

Ever since Angelina Jolie dazzled us at the 2009 Oscars with her long emerald teardrops, most red carpet events have seen a new celebrity — or two — turn green when it came to earrings. Yet, as popular as the color has been for the past four years, the trend exploded in 2013 when Pantone named emerald its color of the year. Designers are greening up their collections with regal gems and various other stones that have the same rich, deep hue, including apple green and nephrite jade, green tourmaline, malachite and tsavorite garnet.

In Demand: Snakes

Borgioni’s 18K black rhodium gold double-headed snake with 18.92-carat black diamond center accented by rubies and brown and black pave diamond.


MSRP: $26,400

Borgioni’s 18K black rhodium gold double-headed snake with 18.92-carat black diamond center accented by rubies and brown and black pave diamond.


MSRP: $26,400

Hits: 743

My Favorite Things: Beau Staley

My Favorite Things: Beau Staley

DOLCE, Telluride, Colorado

Dolce owner lauds Simon Alcantara earrings, Stephen Webster and the vintage poster above his desk.


Published in the March-April 2013 issue

1SIMON ALCANTARA EARRINGS  The signature hand-woven hoops sell great, especially in sterling silver for $400 to $500. We encourage people to hold a pair in their hand so they’ll understand how lightweight they are, even though they’re large in size. We also tell customers the designer previously collaborated with fashion houses like Oscar de la Renta and Balmain.

2SCULPTURE BY KEVIN BOX We’ve had these for six years, and they bring in a lot of customers. They’re made of bronze, using a lost wax casting technique. The artist began his career in printmaking, so all of his sculptures have that delicate nature of paper, with many inspired by origami, which customers are especially drawn to.

3STEPHEN WEBSTER MEN'S This sterling silver collection is the only men’s we carry, and our younger clientele, age 30 to 50, really likes it. They’re attracted to the edginess and the playful themes — thorns, tattoos, bulldogs — things like that. Cufflinks do very well, selling mostly around $700, with half bought as gifts and the other half by men for themselves.

4VINTAGE POSTER Above my desk is a poster from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. It’s a reminder of the importance of high standards of craftsmanship and design. A goldsmith who had those standards gave it to me years ago as a gift. When we’d talk about my dream of one day opening a store, he’d say, “You want ‘la dolce vita’— ‘the sweet life.’” That’s how I got my store’s name, too.

5PAMELA FROMAN STACK BANDS I sell them as fashion and bridal. Women start with one or two— typically ones with diamonds sprinkled throughout—and often buy up to five. Customers usually say they haven’t seen anything like them before. They’re very fine, yet have that craft appeal due to Pamela’s special hand-hammered Crush technique.

6THE VIEW From the front of our store, you look up and see the Rocky Mountains. The dramatic valleys and peaks draw tourists back year after year. For me, the view is both calming and inspiring. I live 6 miles from the store, so looking at the Rockies during my drive sets a meditative tone for my day ahead, and then driving through the tranquil mountain range at night helps me wind down.

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Brand Ambassadors: Barbara Johnson

Brand Ambassadors: Barbara Johnson

Ohio retailer extols the individuality, reliability and saleability of Alishan jewelry.


Published in the March-April 2013 issue

Jewelry Art, Hudson, OH


Barbara Johnson wasn’t looking for anything specific when she and her mother and partner, Georgianna Bojtos, met Alishan Halebian and his wife, Lydia, about a decade ago at the Couture show. “I was completely taken with the beauty and uniqueness of his pieces,” Johnson says. “It was different from everybody else’s line.” As her store specializes in designer lines with individual personalities, the style fit. More to the point, she fell as much in love with the designer as with the designs. “We spent hours and hours talking to him. I really have to believe in whatever I carry, and we were just drawn in.” Since then, Jewelry Art has been a valuable partner to Alishan. “It sells itself, really,” she says.

CUSTOMERS LOVE IT BECAUSE:“It’s contemporary and Old World at the same time. It has such a dimensional richness, with the unique textures and finishes Alishan implements. The originality of his designs is such a refreshing departure from the mainstream. And they appeal to all ages.”

IT'S EASY TO SELL BECAUSE: “If somebody appreciates beautiful art, they feel a bond with it. There’s a depth to the design. A lot of people who come to my store are looking for things that are different; they want jewelry that serves as a bit of a representation of who they are. Alishan’s designs are in style; however, his signature look is always there.”

THE MOST POPULAR PIECES ARE: “His new oxidized silver collection is wonderful for today’s economy. And we continue to do well with the bridal line. The thing with Alishan is that he’s always very sensitive to the times. When the bottom fell out of the economy, he created more affordable pieces without compromising the look.”

I LIKE WORKING WITH THEM BECAUSE: “Alishan and Lydia are just the nicest people in the world. They make doing business very easy. Lydia is very organized; she will go to all ends to meet a deadline. They’re always open to accommodating the customer. And they understand we’re working to make a special piece for somebody. Some companies forget what jewelry is about: It means something to somebody.”

I’D RECOMMEND IT TO ANOTHER RETAILER BECAUSE:“Alishan is ever-evolving and always aware of the trends. It is high quality; they stand behind their work. If you, as a jeweler, appreciate Alishan’s designs, and if you have a customer who appreciates unique designer jewelry, then you’ll have no problem selling it.”

“Barbara Johnson’s success at Jewelry Art is a result of her passion and love for creative designer jewelry and her spirited personality. She constantly markets and advertises designer brands and keeps her collections fresh and diverse. It has been a pleasure to work with her and her staff over the years.” Lydia Tutunjian, Alishan

Brand Ambassador: Barbara Johnson

Bridal rings in 18K gold and diamonds. MSRP: $1,700 to $2,200
Bridal rings in 18K gold and diamonds. MSRP: $1,700 to $2,200

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Star Power: Important Necklace

Star Power: Important Necklace

Celeb stylist Michael O’Connor explains the return of necklaces to the red carpet and your customers’ necklines.


Published in the March-April 2013 issue



Hurray for Hollywood and the return of important necklaces! For too many years, celebrities and stylists seemingly shunned this jewelry staple. Over the past year, however, we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of celebrities sporting important necklaces.


Necklaces offer the wearer a variety of style statements. Shorter important necklaces help frame a face, add focus to the area or complement the neckline of a gown or top. Longer necklaces can add length to a look, provide versatility and add drama to an outfit. Less important longer styles can be wrapped and layered to give an important feel without a huge price tag. Additionally, necklaces can be collected over time and worn together for a signature look.


1. AMANDA SEYFRIED: Her choice of the deep blue Zac Posen slenderizes her already petite frame while contrasting with her fair features. She augments the lengthening effect with a deep V line down the center of her body to her waist.

2. JESSICA ALBA: The classic old Hollywood lines of Oscar de la Renta simply highlight Jessica’s curves. The simplicity of the look is revved up with an amazingly important chevron shaped diamond necklace that mirrors the line along the top of her strapless gown while drawing attention up toward her face.

3. JESSICA CHASTAIN: Keenly attuned to the subtlety of color combination, Jessica often wears brighter colors that contrast with her hair and skin. Here, her red hair, red lips and red Alexander McQueen gown create the perfect frame to showcase a sparkling necklace.

MICHAEL O’CONNOR is president of Style & Substance Inc., a marketing and communications agency offering services and consultation to the jewelry and luxury industries. Additionally, he is host of “MovieStyle with Michael O’Connor” on Reelz Channel.
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Style Counsel: All In The Wrist

Style Counsel: All In The Wrist

INDESIGN’s trend experts debate cuffs versus bangles for spring 2013.


Published in the March-April 2013 issue

WWhile watching the Oscars, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards, I noticed some celebrities were up to their elbows in bangles and others showed bare arms with bold cuffs. So, I asked our Style Counsel which bracelet style will win out as the No. 1 trend this year. Personally, I believe in mixing a little of everything: Cuffs, bangles, thin flexible diamond bar bracelets and iconic motifs are the key to personal style as well as multiple sales. Nevertheless, our panel weighs in on preferred metals and gemstones and gives its take on cuffs versus bangles.

THERE IS A LOT OF FUN WRIST-WEAR happening right now. The bangle craze is sweeping the nation this spring. Designers couldn’t get enough of the layered look for their runway collections: Cynthia Rowley featured chunky gold bangles paired with her signature floral frocks, while Elizabeth and James used dark wood and ivory. Lulu Frost blew me away with an explosion of colorful elbowdeep bangles in a variety of tribal designs.

“Wonder Woman” cuffs are still a go-to look for many on fashion’s A-list (Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg) and statement cuffs abound from fashion jewelry companies and designers. Ben Amun, Erickson Beamon and Alexis Bittar are making a huge splash on the sartorial scene. In a bangle versus cuff matchup, I think the “clink” of the bodacious bangle comes out on top this season.

AWARD SHOW SEASON began with images of celebrities gracing the red carpet with short stacks of gem-studded bangles or sophisticated, elegant cuffs, all giving a nod to old Hollywood glamour with rose-cut diamonds, art deco styling and high carat wattage for diamonds. Diamond styles in platinum and white gold provided chic and effortless grace for stars like January Jones, Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain, while Sarah Paulsen evoked a youthful glamour with blackened metal. Halle Berry, Connie Britton and Nicole Kidman chose yellow gold to warm up their bold strokes of fashion.

Other fashion divas touted the “go bold or go home” theme, including Debra Messing piling gem-crusted bangles up both arms and Julianne Moore opting for one large statement cuff for her Golden Globes gown.

PERSONALLY, I like the bangle concept because it is easy to wear, you can stack at your own pace (read: what you can afford) and you can add to and change styles around. Whether you wear three or 12, bangles continue to have a place on the wrists of women this coming season. With that said, big cuff bracelets abounded on the runway this spring. Fashion designers showcased their colorful spring clothing by adding serious statement-making cuffs. However, one could see them translating easily to women of all ages.

In terms of styles for cuffs, look for sterling silver and oxidized sterling silver with rose gold details, pavé diamonds or colored gemstones to become increasingly popular.

Style Counsel: Bracelets

Armenta’s blackened silver, high karat gold, opal and tsavorite bangles

Armenta’s blackened silver, high karat gold, opal and tsavorite bangles

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Fan Club: Naomi Blumenthal

Fan Club: Naomi Blumenthal

“Naomi Has a deep appreciateion for nature, which come through in the way she interprets her floral elements .”



Published in the March-April 2013 issue

Naomi Blumenthal’s educational background is in sculpture and garden design. In 2002, after the birth of her son, Blumenthal opened a garden design consultancy and started making jewelry for herself as a hobby. Her clients asked if they could buy her pieces, wearing them to charity balls and some to red carpet events. In 2008, with the help of her husband, Ron, she launched the Naomi Blumenthal collection, and it has since blossomed to include all her passions — the natural world combined with the art of sculpture into a alluring, feminine and completely wearable collection.


“I FIRST SAW Naomi Blumenthal’s jewelry briefly at the Summer JA show. Her feeling for organic textures and motifs that were all hand carved completely intrigued me. She has a true eye for detail but understands completely how to translate this into wearable jewelry.”

“The jewelry is, at the same time, sculptural and feminine. You can tell the workmanship that goes into each style and how well thought out every single piece in the collection is.” “I especially like the flow of her designs. My sensibility has always been not to overdesign, so I am always attracted to simple yet strong shapes and visions.”

“A good design also lies in the correct use of space for proportion and scale, and Naomi seems to execute that with a simple elegance.”

“It is clear that Naomi has a deep appreciation for nature, which comes through in the way she interprets her floral and sea life elements. She explained that she does farming and that connection is vivid in her work.” “As her work evolves, it will be exciting to see how her new pieces layer and complement her stunning original collection.”

Fan Club: Naomi Blumenthal

18K cuff bracelet

18K cuff bracelet

ROBIN ROTENIER: A third-generation designer, and the first in jewelry, Paris-born Robin Rotenier founded his namesake line in 1993. Rotenier attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Gemological Institute of America. In 2006, FIT awarded him the Mortimer C. Ritter Award, one of the highest honors given out by the alumni association. Rotenier carves all his models, and each piece is finished by hand and produced in New York City. His passion for design and attention to detail give each piece a distinctive character. Objects and architectural details are at the core of each new design, and his creations range from tongue-in-cheek and fun to ultra sophisticated and elegant. His attention to his retailers’ needs is unparalleled and a testament to his business acumen.

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Tech For Your Store: Twitter’s Vine

Tech For Your Store: Twitter’s Vine


Published in the March 2013 issue

Why does Twitter set a limit of 140 characters for any single tweet? Because when it launched, the microblogging service was very much an SMS-based system and text messages had 160-character limits... so the rule was born.

The regulated brevity has become the soul of Twitter, forcing users to strip their messages down to the minimum: “Four more years” was the most re-tweeted post of 2012. But what more needed to be said? So when Twitter in January launched Vine, a new feature that allows users to create and share looping videos with their followers, it was no surprise the company set a limit of 6 seconds.

“Like Tweets, the brevity of videos on Vine inspires creativity,” Twitter said on its blog on launch day.

It didn’t take long for marketers to start thinking of ways that Vine could be used to help businesses communicate with their customers. Among them are threedimensional “before, during and after” shots of custom-designed products, quick personal introductions for staff, super fast store walk-throughs and how-to demonstrations. (To see how jewelers are already using Vine go to Twitter.com and search “jewelry” and “#vine”.)

These initial marketing efforts of early adopters aren’t particularly encouraging. But the feature may yet find a purpose no one has dreamed of (similar to the way no one saw Twitter one day becoming a tool of political change in the Arab world.)

The advantage Vine seems to have over Youtube is that viewers know they won't have to invest much time. In a world of constant distraction and declining attention spans, that may become a big deal.


Of the major social media platforms, Twitter is arguably the one that least excites jewelers, whose sedatepaced world can seem in contrast to the shortcut ethos of microblogging. Indeed, when we asked the Brain Squad about how members employed Twitter, 73 percent said they didn’t use it at all in their marketing mix. And even among those who do, most use it simply to broadcast updates from their Facebook page. Others turn to Twitter to announce events or the arrival of new merchandise. “We use it mostly to promote events and talk to clients who reach out to us. We don’t get a lot of response, but it helps keep our name out and helps SEO,” said Tonia Ulsh of Mountz Jewelers in Harrisburg, PA.

The best-practice advice for Twitter mostly echoes that proffered for Facebook: Don’t be too promotional, be prepared to spend time engaging with followers and reciprocating retweets, and lean towards being funny or ironical, especially if you try the paid promotion service. (“He speaks reindeer” was Dos Equis’s “Most Interesting Man in the World” comment on the holiday season.)


GemEx Systems has introduced an iPad App to support sales-floor presentations of its diamond Light Performance Certificates. The company says the Retailer iPad App keeps the focus of any sales transaction on the beauty of your diamonds while reducing the need for paper certificates in the sale.
MSRP: Free | Information: industry.gemex.com/ certification/gemex-apps

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s new Niton DXL desktop X-ray lab allows users to quickly identify gold-plated items. The company says the countertop device is more accurate than nitric acid test methods and offers more comprehensive analysis than fire assay, all with the simple push of a button.
Information: thermoscientific.com/niton

Bluebird Soft’s Pidion MT760 mobile terminal can accept payments from any type of credit card as well as contactless payments. It is rugged, has a built-in printer and features a bright 4-inch capacitive touch screen using Bluebird’s patented Eyelluminate display technology.
Information: (631) 849-4414 or yellowfindistribution.com

Fancy building an active wall of sound and marketing fury in your store? You now can, one block at a time with Samsung’s new UD22B display, which provides 21.6 inches of screen real estate with a bezel of just 5.5mm. Samsung says the display is designed to help users create “artistic video walls,” daisy-chaining up to 100 separate units together.
MSRP: $2,104.99
Information: samsung.com/us/business/commercial-display-solutions

Tech For Your Store: March 2013


GemEx Systems has introduced an iPad App to support sales-floor presentations of its diamond Light Performance Certificates. The company says the Retailer iPad App keeps the focus of any sales transaction on the beauty of your diamonds while reducing the need for paper certificates in the sale.
MSRP: Free | Information: industry.gemex.com/ certification/gemex-apps


GemEx Systems has introduced an iPad App to support sales-floor presentations of its diamond Light Performance Certificates. The company says the Retailer iPad App keeps the focus of any sales transaction on the beauty of your diamonds while reducing the need for paper certificates in the sale.
MSRP: Free | Information: industry.gemex.com/ certification/gemex-apps

Hits: 1296

True Tales: No Right Answer

True Tales: No Right Answer


Published in the March 2013 issue.

e had a gentlemen come in with a Movado Museum watch in the box. He said it did not work. I smiled and said that it was probably the battery. Sure enough, the battery had been replaced over two years ago! I brought the watch back out front and said, “Wow, you got two years out of that battery,” thinking that he would be at least a bit grateful. Instead, he said, “I only wore it a few times!” Then went on to tell me that he will never shop in my store again. — Karen Fitzpatrick, Harris Jewelers, Rio Rancho, NM

Hits: 1265

Service Shorts: March 2013


Service Shorts
March 2013

Published in the March 2013 issue

 Kameleon Jewelry has released Volume 13, a spring catalog featuring four Vegas-themed JewelPops, as well as designs in mother of pearl, enamel and Murano glass. Facebook fans chose names for 10 of the JewelPops including Tuscan Sun, Spellbound and After Midnight. Information: (866) 431-4484 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 Stuller and Gemvision have combined their sales teams into a single organization, including 11 regional sales directors. “Combining these two expert teams means more personalized, convenient service for our customers,” says Bob Cox, vice president of business development.
Information: (800) 877- 7777

 Robb Report has launched an iPad edition of Robb Report Watch Collector, its annual magazine devoted to watchmaking. Robb Report Watch Collector’s iPad edition — a free download from Apple’s app store — has enhanced its content through video, image galleries and interactive components. Within the app, partner Jewelers un-BLOCKed offers expertise on insuring timepieces, in addition to information on purchasing, documenting and valuing watch collections.
Information: jewelers-unblocked.com/index.html.

Chelsea Taylor sterling silver and Swarovski crystal necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings are featured in a new catalog in styles ranging from big and bold to simple and sweet, as well as retro ’70s and ’80s looks, animal motifs and more.
Information: chelseataylor.com

The L.A. Antique Jewelry & Watch Show is scheduled March 22-24 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. It features rare and unique jewelry and watches from brands including Cartier, Rolex, Tiffany & Co., David Webb, Suzanne Belperron, Harry Winston, Patek Philippe and Van Cleef & Arpels. Signed pieces, previously owned by celebrities and royalty, will also be available, as well as cameos, rings, necklaces, brooches, gemstones and pendants in a timeline dating from the Renaissance to the art deco era. 
Information: (239) 732-6642 or www.laantiquejewelry.com

The Hyatt Regency Cincinnati, which is undergoing a $20 million renovation, will be the venue for the 70th anniversary edition of the Mid-America Jewelry Show (formerly known as the Columbus Jewelry Show), scheduled Aug. 17-18.
Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Cool Website: Lagniappe Jewelry Studio

Cool Website:  Lagniappe Jewelry Studio


Published in the March 2013 issue

In 2012, Jimmy Butts took the customer service skills he learned at the legendary Sissy’s Log Cabin to open his own store in Ballston Spa, NY, becoming the only JA Master Jeweler in the area. Lagniappe offers an interactive experience, with jewelry-making classes for adults and children. All the jewelry sold in the store is handmade by Butts or other local artisans.


1ELEGANT SIMPLICITY  Like the interior of the store itself, the website is extremely simple in its design and easy to navigate.

2ST ORYTELLING  Photos that mix finished jewelry with the tools that created the product help tell the custom story that is the core being of this store.

BACKGROUNDS  No white backgrounds in photos of jewelry here. While counterintuitive (white backgrounds typically make jewelry speak for itself without distractions), in this case, the richly hued backgrounds give character to the jewelry and highlight its uniqueness.


1NO FLASH The site requires Flash to view anything on it. The result? Try pulling it up on your iPhone or iPad just to get the phone number or hours, and you’re out of luck. A huge no-no!

2CONTACT INFO Click on the contact link, and you get a page with a form to email the store with your inquiry. Fine. But where’s the phone number and address? At the very bottom of the about page. Not where most would look for it.

3HOURS The main reason anyone is going to visit your website is to look for the hours, phone or address. Put them on every page.

Cool Websites are selected by judges and INSTORE editors from among the top-ranked entries in the 2012 America’s Coolest Stores Contest, or they are nominated by readers. Have a cool website? Send us an e-mail to let us know about it: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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On Customer Service: Ensure Event Success

On Customer Service: Ensure Event Success

Planning involves more than what’s on the menu


Published in the March 2013 issue.

The key to a successful trunk show goes beyond the basics of decorations and catering. For yours to really succeed, you have to put in the hard work beforehand to ensure people will come, be ready for them with the right merchandise when they do and, of course, be prepared for them to buy.

Here are a few ways to get you working well before the balloons, streamers and canapés come out:

First, set a sales goal and determine how many customers you will need to achieve it. An easy way to estimate this is the 50 percent rule, which goes like this: 50 percent of those clients who express interest will make an appointment; 50 percent of those who do actually will show up; and 50 percent of those who show up will buy.

You can work backwards to determine how many confirmed appointments you will need to achieve your desired goal. If your average sale is $1,200 and you want to have a $15,000 show, you will need 12.5 people to buy: 15,000 ÷ 1,200 = 12.5. So, you’ll need 25 people to walk in your door and you need 50 confirmed appointments from 100 customers.

When a customer makes an appointment with you, does it occur to you that she is doing so simply to get you to stop talking? She tells you, “yes,” you write her name on the appointment sheet, you give her your card with the time and date, she leaves, and proceeds to throw away the card. Anything to escape!

To help ensure this doesn’t happen, send her a note thanking her for making the appointment. Also include a pocket calendar with your event marked along with the RETAILER PETER CANNELLA On customer service Peter Cannella is a 27-year veteran in the jewelry industry. He is currently the fine jewelry manager at Belk’s in Atlanta, GA. time you expect her.

If you have the resources, schedule the customer to be picked up and driven to and from the store. This is a very nice touch and ups the chance the customer will follow through on her commitment.

When a customer makes an appointment with you, does it occur to you that she is doing so simply to get you to stop talking?

Ensure the vendor coming to your store has exactly what your client is interested in. If she is interested in buying a 2-carat round natural pink diamond, you had best have at least two or three for her to see, along with workable mountings per the customer’s specifications. Additionally, this customer needs to be prequalified on price, and you likely should have financing arranged to make it easier for her to buy.

Flowers are a nice touch. Give a rose to every woman who keeps her appointment when she walks in the door. Introduce her to your vendor representative, but leave some time for chit-chat before diving into the sale.

At an event I planned years ago, I brought in a piano player. Soft background music creates professionally intimate surroundings.

At this event, a husband and wife impromptu requested “their song” be played. We had a video camera and we encouraged them to dance. We sent the videotape of them dancing to their home a few days later, along with a thank you letter and a gift certificate for them to use at a nice local restaurant.

I know you are thinking: All of this costs money. Yes, it does, but more important, it works!

Peter Cannella is a 27-year veteran in the jewelry industry having held positions in sales, store and district management. He is currently the fine jewelry manager at Belk’s in Atlanta, GA.

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In Demand: Snake Charmers

In Demand: Snake Charmers

A symbol of eternal love and wisdom, the serpent motif slithers back into showcases in 2013.

Published in the January-February 2013 issue

2013 marks The Year of the Snake in the Chinese Zodiac and coincides with the resurgence of Victorian jewelry and its sentimentality and symbolism. To the Romans, the serpent meant eternal love; Prince Albert took a page out of their book when he gave Queen Victoria two serpent rings entwined to represent an eternal life together. Throughout time, these sinuous forms with their intricate textures have represented fertility, immortality, wisdom and transformations. Snakes are slinking back into designers’ collections and slithering around necks, wrapping around arms and coiling around fingers.

In Demand: Snakes

Borgioni’s 18K black rhodium gold double-headed snake with 18.92-carat black diamond center accented by rubies and brown and black pave diamond.


MSRP: $26,400

Borgioni’s 18K black rhodium gold double-headed snake with 18.92-carat black diamond center accented by rubies and brown and black pave diamond.


MSRP: $26,400

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Design Online: Simon G. Jewelry

Design Online: Simon G. Jewelry

Published in the January/February 2013 issue

After immigrating to the United States from Lebanon as a young man, Simon Ghanimian launched Simon G. Jewelry in 1981. Today, his jewelry is sold in more than 900 locations worldwide.

1 WHY IT'S EXCEPTIONAL:The product gallery steals the show. As viewers move the cursor over each large, beautiful jewelry image, it rotates to show another perspective of the product. Browsers can also view matching products, as well as post the jewelry to their favorite social media site and see how many people have already done so.

2WHY IT WORKS FOR THE BRAND: The company’s signature tongue-in-cheek ad campaign is seamlessly integrated into the site so that viewers get a single powerful brand impression. The site is easily navigated and puts the beautiful jewelry front and center.


3MORE GREATNESS HERE: Simon G. makes it easy for customers to move toward the purchase by directing them at multiple points to their local retailers. The site also includes a ring sizer, online wish list, and iPhone/iPad app.

Have a website you’d like to see featured here? Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Face Front: Facebook Ring Experiment

 Face Front: Facebook Ring Experiment

Facebook promotions that work


Published in the January/February 2013 issue

Andrew Geoghegan, Leeds, England

CONCEPT The store owner/designer queries his Facebook audience regarding each step of the custom creation process of a ring. The fans vote, and one lucky respondent, chosen at random, receives an iPad. 

EXECUTION Fans voted on the ring design through 10 phases between April and September, beginning with a simple choice (cocktail or diamond ring?) and moving through color, shape, configuration, metal choice, setting, setting form, band style, profile/width, accent stones, and finally, a name (fans appropriately named the ring “Chosen”). Proclaimed “The World’s First Facebook Ring,” the process is described on the designer’s blog (blog.andrewgeoghegan. com).

FRIEND COUNT 2,991 (as of 1/3/13)

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Outside The Box: Palladium Collection Launch

Outside The Box: Palladium Collection Launch

Published in the January-February 2013 issue

Founded more than 25 years ago, Jacob & Co., the luxury timepiece and diamond jewelry house, launched its New York City flagship store in 2004. When owner/designer Jacob Arabo was approached by Palladium Alliance International about creating a new collection in the metal, he not only designed the collection with his signature flair, he also threw a red-carpet launch party to match, complete with celebrity guests and co-hosted by W Magazine.



How successful was the event?

We were not open for selling that evening, so we were not measuring in dollars, but it was a great opportunity to use the store as a showcase for our new palladium collection, as well as entertain many friends and clients. It gave us brand awareness, recognition and media exposure, all of which are key components for our business.

What did co-hosting with W add to the event?
The W Magazine support and backing of our event, brand, and new palladium collection set the tone for an influential group of people. Because working in palladium was new to us, we wanted to use the evening and Claudia Mata, W’s jewelry and accessories director, to help educate guests and showcase beautiful pieces.

What did having celebrity guests add to the evening?
We live in a celebrity-driven world, so having celebrity guests like Stacy Keibler, Carla Gugino and Kim Kardashian attend was an added bonus. Since these girls are very fashion-forward and always walking a red carpet, we wanted to have them be the first to see the difference in pieces in palladium having great shine, luster, movement, but with about 30 percent less in weight.

Why did you design this collection in palladium?
Initially, we wanted to learn how to work in palladium to focus on weight and cost perspective with some key pieces in our collections. The Palladium Alliance approached us on working on an expanded collection and the launch event to showcase the pieces. We really loved the idea of making a big statement. The partnership worked out perfectly as our signature lace pattern earrings were easily translated into palladium because of the intricacy in the design, which benefits from being more lightweight for the woman wearing them.

What can we expect to see of the new line in 2013?
We hope to produce more large-scale earrings for our red carpet collection, which have gotten the best notice so far, and I want to introduce engagement rings and wedding bands as an overall collection. It is as ideal to set larger stones in palladium as it is for pavé diamond pieces, and its durability and comfort would work really well for both men’s and women’s rings.

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Fan Club: Adel Chefridi

Fan Club: Adel Chefridi

Anne Sportun raves about Adel Chefridi’s fresh take on old-world styles.



Published in the January0-February 2013 issue

Adel Chefridi launched his jewelry collection in 1998 in New York. Born in Tunisia, he increasingly draws inspiration from his multicultural background, resulting in an attempt in his work to reconcile past and present, nostalgia and hope. His designs are crafted with natural gemstones and recycled metals, and they emphasize simplicity, wearability and durability. Regarding his collection, he explains, “The colors of natural gemstones are the best complement to the natural beauty of people. My work attempts to present the innate beauty of both the gemstones and the wearer.”


“I MET ADEL CHEFRIDI at a trade show and noticed almost immediately that his work is not only well designed but well finished, with just the right amount of details and nuances and that made it truly stand out for me.”

“There exists an element of old-world uniqueness to his work that is presented in a fresh, easy-to-understand and easy-to-wear way, which is a winning combination!”

“I respect Adel’s goldsmith training background; it shows in the quality of his workmanship.”

“Many of the designs in the various groupings are well merchandised so that they can cross over. They can be worn layered, or a woman can wear a ring from one line and a pendant from another, and it all coordinates beautifully.”

“Retailers can shop his designs at the price point best suited for their store. He offers sterling silver, high karat gold, and a combination of the two. All are finished with the same attention to detail.”

“Having spent time talking with Adel, I am further impressed with what a warm, kind and generous person he is.”

Fan Club: Adel Chefridi

18K Ceylon sapphire ring with diamonds and rounded Memories band with diamonds

18K Ceylon sapphire ring with diamonds and rounded Memories band with diamonds

ANNE SPORTUN: In 1987, Anne Sportun launched Experimetal Jewellery Works, which grew into a retail store in Toronto in 1992 with the help of business partner Barbara Kelly. A second store opened 12 years later, and today, the Anne Sportun Collection has a staff of 25. Sportun describes jewelry as “not bound by words, geography, or ethnicity, but nurtured by a universal language of shapes, symbols and form.” In 2003, she had the honor of having the image of her hands on a Canadian 65-cent postage stamp.

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My Favorite Chuck Rosenblum

My Favorite Things: Chuck Rosenblum

Neal Rosenblum Goldsmiths Gallery, Worcester, MA

Massachusetts retailer extols the virtues of Mark Patterson, Chris Ploof, and his Bausch & Lomb microscope.


Published in the January-February 2013 issue

1MARK PATTERSON BRIDAL When men ask for direction buying an engagement ring that has value, we tell them this line is beautifully made and classic yet fashion-forward at the same time. Probably 95 percent purchase platinum, and micropavé is very popular. We explain that this designer lets us customize, so they can usually get a style we show them but with any cut they want.

2CHRIS PLOOF MEN'S WEDDING BANDS Typically, our brides and grooms don’t buy matching bands. Men love the unusual contemporary metals this designer uses, like meteor and Damascus steel. They’re also attracted to the looks, simplicity, sturdy weight and atypical textures that have a kind of ancient appeal. Purchases run between $2,000 and $4,000.

3ED LEVIN SILVER It’s a great self-purchase, with most sales from $200 to $500. We can show a customer something for every age because the brand makes pieces small enough for a baby and large enough for a big guy. Customers like when we demonstrate how the handmade bracelets open and close, often telling us they’ve never seen such inventive construction.

4TWO-WAY WINDOW Located between my office and the showroom, it’s a backup to our security system. It enables me to work in the back, yet still keep an eye on everything in the store as well as who’s at the front door, because the door is in my line of vision.

5SUPER-SIZED WALL CALENDAR About 3 feet long and 2-1/2 feet tall, it’s the biggest thing in my office! Our gemologist/ sales associate is the only one who writes on it, using it to communicate with me about everything from appointments and holidays to special occasions for customers. It really works for me because, when I sit at my desk, it’s always right in front of me.

6GEM SCOPE I encourage customers to look at gems through it, to help them understand what a quality stone is about. Through the years, as I’ve gotten more involved in the business of diamond trading, my Bausch & Lomb microscope has become essential because I need an instrument with great resolution and quality. So it’s always on my desk, an arm’s length away.

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Sketchbook: Hummingbird Necklace


Hummingbird Necklace
Spirit Animals Hummingbird Necklace by K. Brunini

Published in the January-February 2013 issue


“The hummingbird represents a messenger, a stopper of time, optimism, swiftness, healing and the ability to roll with punches. It’s a petite visit by a bird with a message, and I think the planet needs some of its spirit animal energy!” — Katey Brunini

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Floor Plan: Sather’s Leading Jewelers

Floor Plan: 

Sather’s Leading Jewelers
Fort Collins, CO

Published in the January-February 2013 issue

Asavings-and-loan building constructed in 1965 might not seem like the ideal place for a jewelry store. But when Julie Sather-Browne saw it, she knew it had to be the new location of Sather’s. “It had rock pillars throughout the building, both on the inside and outside against the glass. We loved that. And then it had these huge wooden beams going across the vaulted ceiling. It was very lodge, very Colorado. We are Colorado natives, so we thought it was a natural fit.” A redesign by GRID/3 transformed a stodgy bank building into a gorgeous jewelry store that fits the personality of its community.


CASE LAYOUT:“We had the natural columns that couldn’t be moved, and three out of the four walls are floor-to-ceiling windows. So it was difficult to create different environments within the store. We also wanted wider aisles and some sit-down cases for bridal, but we didn’t have any solid walls to back the sit-down cases to. It took three renditions to get the case layout just right.”

MIDDLE ISLAND: “This area features our diamond fashion and Tacori lifestyle jewelry, which is bright, fresh, and fashion-forward. People may walk in for a battery and stop right there. It gives us an entry point to getting merchandise out of the showcase and onto the customer.”

SHOWROOM FLOW: “Our showroom is designed to keep people moving in a circle. There are no hard corners. You bump against a case and end up at the next one, like a pinball machine.”

DIAMOND ROOM: “We suspended Lumicor panels from the ceiling to create privacy in our diamond room and yet allow for an open, airy sense of space. You can see light through the panels, but you don’t feel trapped or pressured while you’re in there. Ruth also brilliantly integrated the space from the bank’s former drive-thru area into the diamond room.”

LOUNGE: “We wanted to create something inviting that would feel like a nice lodge in Vale or Aspen. We used warm colors throughout to achieve that feeling, including chocolate, gold, beige, and pops of ochre and rust, mahogany and cherry. It’s a look that says ‘quality,’ but you can also relax and sink into a leather chair in front of a fire.”

FIREPLACE: “The building only had electricity — no natural gas — so we had to bring a gas line in from the street because we wanted a fireplace. When the fireplace is on, it’s great because the floor-to-ceiling window is right next to it. You can see the snow falling.”

BRIDAL SHOWCASE: “As we show the bridal jewelry, our backs are to the window, which is great because the landscape is really pretty behind us. Customers have natural light to view the diamonds. We’ve hung boutique signs that create environments within each brand, and we created a false wall for Hearts on Fire.”

CHILDREN'S PLAY AREA:“The kids’ room was a godsend. It has a chalkboard wall that the kids love, as well as a mural of the mountains. It’s glass, so it’s easy to watch the kids, but it keeps the sound muffled.”

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Line Time: Just Give Her Half Your Stuff Now ...

A male customer is checking out engagement rings and is balking at the prices. He says he thinks he can get a better price on the kind of diamond he wants on the world’s biggest auction website.

You say:

“You’d make one of the most important purchases of your life on eBay? You’re going to tell her that you bought the symbol of your love on eBay? Just give her half your stuff now, man...”

Why? This is a humorous way to hammer home the very important message that romance is a big part of the engagement ring-buying process.

Source: Paul Dodds, Paul Dodds Jewelers; Lee’s Summit, M

This story is from the October 2004 edition of INSTORE

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Line Time: If This Doesn't Get You Great Sex


[h4][b]A male customer is dithering on a purchase for his wife (or girlfriend). You ‘ve gotten to know each other a bit, and you know he’s not too prudish for a little off-color humor. So, when he’s holding the item in his hand, you laugh and say:[/b][/h4]

“If this doesn’t get you an evening of great sex, I’ll refund your money.”

Why? The joke makes a tense decision easier. And, while definitely not appropriate for everyone, it’s an earthy, guy-to-guy way of expressing the very real fact that a jewelry purchase is a terrific relationship- and romance-enhancer. As for the refund offer, you’re no more likely to give a refund with this pitch as you would with any other sale.

Source: Lauri and Bruce Lipsey, The Jewelry Studio; Encino, CA

This story is from the September 2004 edition of INSTORE

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Spinning the Perfect Web

Spinning the Perfect Web

From mobile websites to e-commerce and video, discover what the latest Internet technologies can add to your bottom line.


Published in the January-February 2013 issue

Even though the information superhighway is about two decades old, we still don’t necessarily have a very good road map for it. That’s especially true in the jewelry industry, where many independent retailers and wholesalers have been slow to adapt to new technology. For many of these businesses, just getting (and regularly checking) an email account was a major advance.

But there are outliers — jewelers who are not only familiar with the latest online tools, but who have even used them to increase sales and awareness of their brands.

“The business has really changed just in the last year,” says Sylva Guiragossian, owner of SN Queens Jewelry in Los Angeles. “The generation that’s shopping out there is very computer-savvy. It’s not just brick-and-mortar anymore. Everybody’s clicking.”

The good news is that there are multiple ways to capitalize on our cultural obsession with digital media. INDESIGN has talked to jewelers and consultants throughout the industry about how to make use of some of the best new technologies affecting the Web today. And then it’s just a matter of finding those methods that — ahem — click with you.

“I still have hopes that people are going to stumble across our site and see that we’re not a mega, faceless place, but the kind of place they’d like to do business with if they were here,” says Andy Koehn of Koehn & Koehn in West Bend, WI. He added a shopping cart to the store’s website about two years ago and has so far seen only “a handful of sales” come directly through the website.

Koehn has a pretty good idea why his e-commerce business hasn’t yet taken off: Though he’s invested in the site, he hasn’t yet spent the time and money to truly ensure it reaches eyeballs all over the Internet.

“A shopping cart is just the tip of the iceberg,” says John Dorsey, owner of Ideal Brand Marketing, which specializes in online marketing for jewelers. Installing such software might cost a few thousand dollars. “What the real money goes to is marketing,” he adds.

The Web is vast; to actually sell jewelry online, you need to get your site onto consumers’ screens. Ylang | 23 in Dallas, TX, which ships pieces to 100 countries, has invested “obscenely” in its e-commerce business, says owner Joanne Teichman. In part, it’s about getting the store’s name out there; but much more important is trading on the well-known names of the designers they carry.

“They are people who are searching for Cathy Waterman, Jennifer Meyer,” Teichman says of her faraway customers. “They see the designs in the magazines or in the press, and when they search for them, we come up.”

SEO — search engine optimization — is important no matter what, because you want people who Google “jewelry stores in [your town]” to know about you, but it’s essential if you want online customers located elsewhere.

It’s also a good idea to set up filters so shoppers can easily select the jewelry they want to see, based on what it is (earrings, bracelets, etc.), what metal it’s in, and what the price range is. This is especially worth doing if you have a lot of inventory online. “Good navigation is definitely one of the top things a retail website needs,” says Dorsey.

Even if you aren’t reaching customers in foreign lands (or just the next state over), having an e-commerce component on your website can still add value, as Koehn has discovered. “The primary way it’s used in our case is, people within a 30-mile radius will shop the site, print it out, and come in with a picture,” he says. “So I can tell you it was worth the investment.”

According to a recent study by Google, the number of people with an Internet-capable mobile device has surpassed that of desktop or laptop computer owners. So whether you use your website as an advertisement to draw people into your shop, or as a selling medium itself, it’s increasingly necessary that it looks as good on a mobile device as it does on a desktop or laptop computer.

There’s been some debate over the last few years over whether businesses should concentrate on reaching mobile shoppers by creating apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, or if they ought to just focus on making their website mobile-ready.

Ylang|23 decided to go the latter route and upgrade its site with “responsive design” — i.e., to make it so the site could tell what size screen you’re viewing it with and adapt its layout accordingly.

Web developers are increasingly choosing responsive design over maintaining a separate mobile site. Though it can be tricky to implement, responsive design means viewers will see the same version of your website whether they view it on a full-size computer or a smartphone. Some sidebars or menus might be shifted below other content to accommodate the smaller screen. But computer and mobile viewers won’t be looking at two different sets of files, which means you can make updates more efficiently and not worry about computer viewers getting routed to mobile pages and vice versa, or mobile viewers not having access to some pages or features.

“We always try to be early adopters and try different things,” says Anthony Ahee of his store’s decision to develop and release a mobile app in early 2011. “Of course there were millions of apps out there, but for a local business like us, it was reaching outside the box.”

With the software, users can browse some of the inventory at Ahee, in Grosse Pointe Woods, MI. They can also watch videos and learn about the store.

“It wasn’t created as ‘This is going to take our business to the next level,’” Ahee says. “But at the same time, it’s important to stay current.”

Louisiana-based Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry took a different tack with the app they released in fall 2011 to guide shoppers through their “5 Cs.” (The fifth is “confidence.”)

“Obviously it’s also for customers to download, but the main purpose was for sales associates to have an interactive tool to really help with bridal sales,” says Amy Graham, the company’s advertising manager. “It helps show first-time customers why this one-carat is more expensive than that one-carat; they can see the color ranges and different clarities. And it helps some of the newer associates who might not have as much experience selling bridal.”

Each of the company’s eight stores has a specific iPad designated for its bridal counter (“It has a little holder and everything,” Graham says), and customers can also download the app to their own personal devices using the in-store Wi-Fi.

“It’s been very well received by customers,” Graham says. “It gives them that hands-on experience where they can drop and drag. It’s just a lot easier than trying to read a lot of research on how to buy a diamond.”

All the other technological solutions discussed in this story depend on a more old-fashioned art for their effectiveness: photography. “Any type of virtual product, you put your best foot forward when you show a great photo of it,” says Ideal Brand Marketing’s Dorsey. According to his company’s research, a good image makes it three times more likely you’ll sell a product, he says. “I’m always a little shocked by some of the photography of jewelry that gets out there,” he says. “Because it’s a product that really deserves a good image.”

Whether your product images are on an ecommerce site, an app, your Facebook page or another social media account, or just on your website, what’s of chief importance is that they’re shot with a consistent look against the same background, clear, of high resolution, and visible from different angles.

Consistency and clarity are self-explanatory; you want your inventory to look like it’s all of a piece, not thrown together. Having high-res pics is important because customers will want to zoom in on them; it’s also helpful because then the same image can be repurposed for print campaigns. A good photographer will also retouch your images to maximize effects like the sparkle of gemstones.

A number of companies are also offering 360-degree, or even 1,080-degree, product shots for the Web. By either stitching together a set of images taken from various angles or using 3-D rendering software, they can create images that viewers can grab and spin and see from a variety of perspectives, almost as if they were actually holding the ring.

“You want to see things move,” says Ofer Rubin of RealeyeZ 3D, which uses proprietary technology to generate revolvable images of jewelry. The pictures start out as short videos when you open the page, to eye-catching effect, and stop moving on their own after a few seconds while still allowing visitors to spin the pieces around. Users can see realistic views of the jewelry on a hand to give a better sense of scale. “What we try to create is the experience of the consumer being in a jewelry store.”

And if you’re running an e-commerce operation, RealeyeZ’s Raya Wasser notes research showing that interactive video images are linked to a steep increase in sales conversion rates. “Once the visitor starts manipulating the ring, the casual browsing converts to buying mode — it’s an important step toward clicking on the shopping cart,” she says.

If you are doing e-commerce, you’ll also want whoever handles your website to tag your images for SEO purposes, so they come up in image searches.

“I think, for lack of a better word, it makes our sales process more sticky,” says Eric Robertson, who handles marketing for Green Lake Jewelry Works in Seattle, WA of Green Lake’s online custom design service. Visitors to the store’s website can pick out a basic ring and modify it, choosing everything from the stone they want to the shank style and filigree. If they proceed with a design, the site keeps them updated on the process, from “sketch to CAD to completion.”

Green Lake has a programmer in-house who writes all the code for the custom design feature and keeps the website humming. (“We’re very, very stubborn in terms of just doing it yourself,” Robertson says.) And the investment has paid off: About 30 percent of the store’s business is online only.

The store also provides the option to chat live with a designer during certain hours. And the ongoing electronic updates keep clients engaged and give the store a reason to check in if someone has started a design but not hit the button on it.

Ahee also has a custom design feature on their site, and although shoppers can’t create and then purchase a piece directly, it does engage them and bring them into the store.

“It’s a really great tool for someone to just be creative. They can grasp what a piece will ultimately look like and email it to their friends and spark conversation,” says Anthony Ahee.

“People talk about videos, and whenever you can get people talking, they’re thinking about you,” says George Fritz, owner of Mills Jewelers in Lockport, NY, of his videos. “They’re coming in the store and mentioning them, so I call that a success.”

Fritz, who’s been toying with video since he got a Super 8 camera as a kid, keeps his videos short and fun. Some are of events at the store, like a contest win; some are micro-interviews of his own staff; some are informational, like a recent two-minute spot about the impersonal experience of buying jewelry online, compared with the warmth of stopping into his shop.

“It’s just another avenue that really doesn’t cost anything except a little effort,” Fritz says. “I think our personality comes out a bit more in the video, too.” 

A good video can generate a lot of interest, but it’s a tough thing to harness. Certainly just putting your regular TV ad on YouTube won’t do it. Northeastern Fine Jewelry, with stores in New York and Vermont, struck gold in 2009 by sponsoring a half-court shot during Siena University’s basketball season. When a guy made the shot, video of it showed up on ESPN and elsewhere, and the You- Tube video, prominently featuring the store’s logo, got thousands of views.

“You can’t pay for that type of advertising,” the store’s Gregg Kelly says.

But as Northeastern’s example demonstrates, video is hit or miss. While gemologist Deborah Hecht believes retailers should be making YouTube videos, she has found another way to engage customers.

Hecht’s V-By system uses live, streaming, two-way video and audio to allow you to present jewelry to a customer online almost as if they were in the store with you.

“My goal is to allow the retail store to continue having a relationship with the consumer,” she says. “If they’re not walking in the door, they’re on the computer, clicking on a picture at Blue Nile.” 

“It’s way better than email,” says Robin Johannes at Johannes Hunter Jewelers in Colorado Springs, CO. “You still get all the enthusiasm and the excitement when you say, ‘Oh, your wife will love that.’ If you say the same thing in an email, it’s not the same.”

 Ah, social media. The term encompasses everything from sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to video sites like You- Tube and traditional blogs. Though it’s perhaps the most talkedabout technology of the last few years, it still remains something of a mystery from a business perspective. But we’re beginning to crack the code. Here are a few tips, which mostly apply to Facebook, the social medium of choice for American jewelers:

PLAIN PRODUCT SHOTS GET THE MOST LIKES.“We’ve done a lot of research. Celebrities don’t work. Pictures of it on your hand don’t work,” says John Dorsey of Ideal Brand Marketing, which handles social media specifically for jewelers. “A simple picture on a white background has the best effect.”

KEEP IT TO ONE POST PER DAY. “The biggest reason people unsubscribe is too many posts,” Dorsey says. And according to his firm’s research, two in a day is one too many.

HIRE A PRO. Especially if you’re using social media to promote your e-commerce business. If you constantly adjust your strategy to adapt to the site’s ever-changing set of parameters, Dorsey notes, Facebook will charge you considerably less for your ads there. Your employee who “knows computers” can’t keep up the way an expert can.

USE YOUR POWER TO PROMOTE. “Jewelers who have more than 400 likes have the opportunity to promote one post on a daily basis,” says Howard Cohen, social media consultant and editor of The Jeweler Blog. You may not realize it, but Facebook isn’t showing your posts to everyone who follows you anymore; you’re reaching only 20 to 25 percent of them, Cohen says. But a promoted post hits all of them. Promoting costs money (the amount varies depending on a number of factors), but you’ll reach far more fans — and have a chance to be shared with all their friends, too.

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Brand Ambassadors: Heather Ingraham

Brand Ambassadors: Heather Ingraham

Borsheims’ diamond buyer explains why working with Precision Set is a perfect fit.


Published in the January-February 2012 issue

Borsheims, Omaha, NE

Precision Set specializes in being the perfect fit, and that’s been the case at Borsheims, which has carried the bridal line since 2002, says diamond buyer Heather Ingraham. It has a timeless look matched with excellent American-made quality. “Precision Set is on top of trends; however, they always give it their own twist,” Ingraham says. Pieces sell from $850 to $8,000 at Borsheims, she says, appealing to a wide range of consumers. And since the store began including Precision Set as a vendor at the annual Berkshire-Hathaway shareholders’ meeting, bridal sales at the event have gone up. “There are so many great companies in the industry,” says Ingraham, “but I’m really proud we’re partners with Precision Set.”

IT'S EASY TO SELL BECAUSE: “They’re a good Midwest partner because while they stay on top of the trends, they don’t go too far out there — which is exactly right for a ring you’re supposed to be wearing for the rest of your life. Plus, they have really great marketing materials, so it’s very easy to learn to sell it and to explain to a customer.”

CUSTOMERS LOVE IT BECAUSE: “It’s easy for the male customer. When they come in, it can just be so overwhelming. With Precision Set, we can guarantee that pretty much any woman is going to like the style. So it’s a safe choice when he doesn’t know exactly what she wants. And they’re much less likely to go somewhere else for a band, because we have all the coordinating bands.”

THE MOST POPULAR PIECES ARE: “Their FlushFit solitaire is so easy to sell. Any girl is going to like it, and any band in the collection will line up with it perfectly. The Petite solitaire and their New Aire collection are popular, too.”

I LIKE WORKING WITH THEM BECAUSE: “If they do a three-stone ring, they’ll take the time to match the side stones to the quality of the center we sold, and a lot of vendors don’t necessarily do that. They always have something to send us on memo if we need something, so we use that quite a bit. And they are very quick with turnaround on special orders. Some couples come in a week or two before the wedding, and Precision Set will work with us and get it done.”

I’D RECOMMEND IT TO ANOTHER RETAILER BECAUSE: “I’ve actually done that several times! It’s so easy for sales associates to sell. I can have product in the case that’s absolutely beautiful, but if the company is difficult to work with, it just isn’t going to work. Precision Set makes it very easy. I don’t know that they have ever said no to me!”

“Heather is a great ambassador for Precision Set. She is an expert salesperson with an excellent eye for buying quality product. We feel extremely fortunate to be a part of Borsheims’ success!” Buzz Jopling, owner, Precision Set

Brand Ambassador: Heather Ingraham

Platinum Silk Collection classic three-stone engagement ring with low profile. 1.0-carat center, two side stones (1.0 TCW).

MSRP: $5,600

Platinum Silk Collection classic three-stone engagement ring with low profile. 1.0-carat center, two side stones (1.0 TCW).

MSRP: $5,600

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Publisher's Note: Ask Yourself the Dreaded Question



Ask Yourself the Dreaded Question

Published in the January 2013 issue

“How can i help you?” These have become the five most dreaded words in retail. Many shoppers hate the phrase, even though it’s often meant with heartfelt sincerity and, in fact, they do need your help. To many of your customers, the phrase can sound more like “Can I help myself?” So what’s better? Hard to say. But a story that popped up this week might give you a place to start.

Recently a photograph of a New York City police officer and a homeless man with no shoes went viral. Here’s how the story was explained in the New York Times: On a cold November night in Times Square, Officer Lawrence DePrimo was working a counterterrorism post when he encountered an older, barefooted homeless man. The officer disappeared for a moment, then returned with a new pair of boots, and knelt to help the man put them on.

An Arizona tourist caught the act in a photograph and posted it on the NYPD Facebook page. The Internet lit up with excitement because it was a joy to see such a spontaneous act of kindness. As of this writing there have been millions of views, over 500,000 likes, 195,000 shares and 41,458 comments.

So why do I bring this up? Simple. A retail jewelry store should be about acts of kindness. Of course, you are there to make a profit and there is nothing wrong with that. But, essentially, people come into your store dreaming about making a loved one happy yet having deep concerns about getting that done. And every day, you have the opportunity to ease their concerns and fulfill their dreams.

Officer DePrimo didn’t ask the homeless man “Can I help you?” — he simply acted. He understood the need and filled it. Nothing more and nothing less. “It was freezing out and you could see the blisters on the man’s feet,” he said in an interview. They started talking; he found out the man’s shoe size: 12.

So as you emerge from what was, hopefully, a successful and joyous holiday keep the spirit of the season and the spirit of Officer DePrimo’s actions in mind. Rather than ask your customer that dreaded question, ask yourself, “How can I help this person?” What you do next will take care of itself.

Wishing you the very best in business!

Dan Kisch

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