Sanity Files: Katie and Tyson Taylor

The Sanity Files: Katie and Tyson Taylor

How top jewelers keep their cool in a crazy world

Published in the February 2014 issue

TAYLOR’S JEWELLERS
ALLISTON, ONTARIO, CANADA

Katie and Tyson Taylor are third-generation siblings working at their family’s store. Katie loves to be out on the floor merchandising and decorating, ordering new lines and managing the front half. Tyson dominates “behind the scenes” as a goldsmith.

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Service Shorts: February 2014

Service Shorts
February 2014

BY THE INSTORE TEAM
Published in the February 2014 issue

ADWAR RELEASES NEW CATALOG
Adwar Casting Co. Ltd. has released its newest catalog, Collection #27. It features designer engagement sets, semi-mount engagement sets, stackable rings, designer collections, earrings, jackets, pendants and more. All of Adwar’s styles are available in 14K and 18K gold; white, yellow, pink and green. Adwar also casts in platinum, palladium and 18K palladium. Adwar’s advanced CAD/CAM modeling department specializes in model outputs and designs.
Information: (516) 678-7755 or adwar.com

IDDEAL CONSUMER FINANCE
IDD’s newly launched IDDeal Credit Card Program offers solutions for consumer financing. Featuring the broadest credit approvals in the industry, zero participation fees for the retailers, and competitive rates with promotional plans for consumers, the IDDeal Credit Card Program uses a fully integrated easy application process with seamless first and second looks and leasing program options. Information: (800) 621-1162 or iddjewerly.com

JEWELERS UNBLOCKED RELAUNCHES WEBSITE
Jewelers unBLOCKed has relaunched its website, showcasing a new look while promoting expanded services to coincide with its partnership within the Robb Report Watch Collector App. The new website is divided into two sections: “Insurance for the Jewelry & Watch Collector” and “Insurance for the Jewelry Industry.” The homepage also displays Jewelers unBLOCKed’s feature story, Twitter feed, and a direct link to the Robb Report Watch Collector App, for which Jewelers unBLOCKed is the exclusive insurance partner.
Information: jewelersunblocked.com

GIA REVISES GRADING REPORT FORMATS
 Gemological Institute of America has introduced a revised format for its diamond grading and gem identification reports. Upon request, GIA will offer no-cost reissues for reports issued from July 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013. Reissues of reports dated Jan. 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013 will be available for a nominal fee. The new reports consume less paper and other materials, and they have enhanced security features including a durable proprietary paper. QR codes printed on each report will provide direct access to GIA’s online Report Check service, which allows clients and consumers to easily confirm the authenticity of GIA grading and identification reports with their smartphones.
Information: gia.edu/gem-labreport- new-format

ONE-STOP SHOPPING
 With 2014 being Joseph Blank’s 95th year, the company has announced that Knupfer International Gems (KIG) will be sharing its offices. Both companies will now be able to offer one-stop shopping for loose color and diamond needs. KIG offers retailers, designers and manufactures fine color melee and large singles, matched pair and fine gemstones from around the world.
Information: buysellmemo.com

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Stuff For Your Store: February’s Hot List

 

Stuff For Your Store: February’s Hot List

February’s hot list of business-boosting products.

BY THE INSTORE TEAM

Published in the February 2014 issue

SLEEK AND SPACIOUS

1Made of bubinga burl wood with 15 coats of high gloss polyurethane finish, this exotic jewel box from Ragar is practical for men or women — it holds 16 pairs of cufflinks or earrings, four watches or bracelets plus 44 additional cufflinks or rings. The interior lid holds six necklaces.
MSRP: $324
ragar-company.com

EARRING CARDS

2 Arch Crown earring cards are available in gold, silver, and white plastic with or without printing. Choose from four new styles with die-cut holes or cross hairs designed for pierced earrings. The white promotional cards are pre-printed with “14KT GOLD” in metallic gold or “STERLING SILVER” in metallic silver; while the gold promotional cards are preprinted in black. Promotional and blank cards are available in lots of 250. Pressure sensitive backs for hanging on displays are sold separately in lots of 250.
For a free sample pack, call (800) 526-8353 or visit archcrown.com.

SECRET AGENT SCANNER

3Planon’s pen-sized scanner lets you scan a full page at 600 dpi in four seconds. It also is capable of adding voice notes and sending the scanned material to your computer or mobile device via USB and Bluetooth. The ScanStik SK600V features a MicroSD memory slot that holds thousands of image scans in color or black and white. It comes in a leather carrying case.
MSRP: $249.99
planon.com

FUSS-FREE SECURITY

4Swissbacks from Stuller provide security without fuss. No buttons to push. No backs to lose. No fumbling. Simply put the earring in and flip the post upward with one hand. Available in 14K and 18K yellow and white gold.
stuller.com

DESKTOP DAY DREAMIN’

5Capture the Ford Mustang spirit of freedom, optimism and being true to yourself, without even leaving your desk. This limited-edition, commemorative desktop clock announces each hour with the sound of a 1965 Ford Mustang engine. Mark Feldstein & Associates is introducing the 50 Years of Mustang Desktop Sound Clock Thermometer. The logo, crafted by Ford designer Michael Thompson features the trademark galloping pony in silhouette.
MSRP: $49.95 mfagifts.comswellbottle.com

 

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Tip Sheet: February 2014

Tips: February 2014

Fresh ideas to better your business.

BY THE INSTORE TEAM
Published in the February 2014 issue

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On Merchandising: The Gift of Ideas

On Merchandising: The Gift of Ideas

Help your customers — and your sales — with specific gift selections.

BY LARRY JOHNSON

Published in the February 2014 issue

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Shane Decker: Keep That Sale Going

Shane Decker: Keep That Sale Going

How an old-fashion sales slip can help you add on.

BY SHANE DECKER

Published in the March 2014 issue.

Remember sales slips? Way back before personal computers were invented, we used sales slips to write up sales and repairs.

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Shane Decker: Expand Your Vocabulary

Shane Decker: Expand Your Vocabulary

Craft a sales pitch worthy of a diamond.

BY SHANE DECKER

Published in the February 2014 issue.

If you’ve been selling for a while, one of the biggest problems you may face is that your diamond presentations can become monotone, robotic, simple, old, boring, habitual, repeated, and non-enthusiastic. We have to kick the kindergarten vocabulary out (that means words like “pretty,” “gorgeous,” “nice stone” and “beautiful”). These are the words everybody else uses. If you want to be better than everybody else, you have to create enthusiasm and romance the diamond.

Let’s take a moment to recall just what it is that makes diamonds so special and valued across time, space and cultures. The experts tell us they are about 3.4 billion years old. They were first discovered more than 3,000 years ago in India, but diamonds have a history that transcends time. In fact, time’s only enemy — the only thing it can’t break down — is diamond.

When we sell diamonds, we sell feelings and emotions. We sell life, love, forgiveness, time, hope, commitment, trust and memories. When you give a diamond, you don’t have to say a word. It will do all the talking for you. They are treasured, wanted, and timeless. Diamonds are the smallest, purest transportable form of negotiable wealth known to man. In ancient Greece, kings wore diamonds as a status symbol, just as people do today. They also wore them because they are virtually indestructible, a symbol of strength and invincibility. The word diamond comes from the Greek word “adamas,” which means “unconquerable.” Name another product that is worn 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 40 years and — when worn with a little respect — is still just like it was the day it was purchased. You can’t!

Diamonds also symbolize purity, the chosen stone for the bride. How did diamond become the symbol of matrimony? In 1477, the Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave a ring to Mary of Burgundy with diamonds set in the shape of the letter “M.”

Today, the diamond engagement ring is one of the single largest purchases a person will make in his lifetime. So shouldn’t you know its history and how to romance it? When a customer buys a diamond ring in your store, it should be a day he or she will never forget, and it’s your responsibility to make sure that happens.

As you can see, “pretty” and “nice stone” just don’t cut it when describing diamonds. Over the years, I’ve described diamonds as:

A rare marriage of fire and ice.

A violent collision of light and energy.

It inhales light and breathes fire.

Cut by someone with hands as skilled as a surgeon.

Crystallized intensity.

The epitome of nature and the craftsmanship of man.

White-hot.

Faceted angel dust.

Girl’s best friend and man’s best weapon.

Explosive.

Night light.

They do their best work in dimly lit places.

Mother Nature’s love affair with light.

I hope you are getting the picture. Escape your old vocabulary box and stretch a little. Don’t be a robotic salesperson, and do not get desensitized to all the reasons people come into your store. Make their day extra special. If you don’t sound like everyone else selling diamonds, your closing ratio will rise.

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Sales Truths : Great Ideas Always Seem to Come After Midnight

Sales Truths : Great Ideas Always Seem to Come After Midnight

BY DAVID RICHARDSON

Published in the February 2014 issue.

WHY IT IS TRUE: It’s 3 a.m., you are sound asleep, and suddenly you are hit with a brilliant idea. The more you roll around in your mind, the better it seems to get. You commit yourself to remembering it, and immediately store the masterpiece in your memory. Awakening the next morning you not only can’t remember what the idea was, you can’t even recall that you had one in the first place!

PLAN OF ACTION: Place a pen and a pad of paper on the nightstand. Turn on the light, and jot down a few notes. Don’t want to turn on the light? Grab a voice recorder or your phone and briefly record your idea. Don’t want to risk awakening your partner? Duck under the covers and speak softly. Uh-oh... your partner wakes up. Not to worry, remind them of your brilliance, continue to record your idea, and fall back into never-never land. — DAVE RICHARDSON

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Sales Truths: Great Ideas Always Seem to Come After Midnight

Sales Truths : Great Ideas Always Seem to Come After Midnight

BY DAVID RICHARDSON

Published in the February 2014 issue.

WHY IT IS TRUE: It’s 3 a.m., you are sound asleep, and suddenly you are hit with a brilliant idea. The more you roll around in your mind, the better it seems to get. You commit yourself to remembering it, and immediately store the masterpiece in your memory. Awakening the next morning you not only can’t remember what the idea was, you can’t even recall that you had one in the first place!

PLAN OF ACTION: Place a pen and a pad of paper on the nightstand. Turn on the light, and jot down a few notes. Don’t want to turn on the light? Grab a voice recorder or your phone and briefly record your idea. Don’t want to risk awakening your partner? Duck under the covers and speak softly. Uh-oh... your partner wakes up. Not to worry, remind them of your brilliance, continue to record your idea, and fall back into never-never land. — DAVE RICHARDSON

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Sanity Files: Jason Druxman

The Sanity Files: Jason Druxman

How top jewelers keep their cool in a crazy world

Published in the January 2014 issue

Avenue Jewelers, Appleton, WI
Jason, aka “The Diamond Stud,” is a fourth-generation jeweler originally from Seattle, WA, who migrated to the Midwest in the mid-’90s. Jason didn’t have a chance when it came to another profession …. (All Druxmans seem to be boxers or jewelers, and Jason liked his nose just the way it was.)

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Building the Store: Plateau Jewelers



 

Building the Store: Plateau Jewelers


BY EILEEN MCCLELLAND

Plateau Jewelers

owner: Kelly Jensen / Renovation: 2011 Cost of Buildout: $170,000 / Area: 1,000 square feet / Designer: Keith Kovar of Grid 3 International Contractor: Reid Jensen (no relation to owner)

1,000 square feet of space gets a laundry list of amenities

Retailer Kelly Jensen had been in his first, 1,000-square-foot location more than 10 years when he decided he needed more space for his combination store and shop.

He needed case space, to start with, of course, but he needed much more than that: His staff had nowhere to eat lunch, his office lacked privacy, and sales staff were interrupting bench jewelers all day long because they needed to use the ultrasound in the shop.

The logical solution seemed to be to move.

But, there really wasn’t anywhere else to go in Sammamish, WA, where he had established his business in 1996.

“The city of Sammamish is where we want to be and it is a bedroom community,” Jensen explains. “People commute into Belleville or Seattle. There is very limited retail or commercial space within the city — and the city likes it that way. So we were really limited as to where we could go.”

So Jensen contacted Grid 3 International to see if its store designers could somehow discover more space in his current store.

“When I asked, ‘Can you provide this laundry list of things to me within 1,000 square feet?’ I expected them to laugh,” Jensen recalls. “But when they said ‘What’s off limits?’ And I said, ‘Nothing’s off limits,’ they said they could do it. And they did.”

That laundry list included a shop within the store, an ADA-compliant restroom, a lunchroom, a separate, private office with a view of the sales floor, a workstation on the show room floor, two POS stations, hidden catalog and tool storage, and a cleaning station closer to the showroom to solve the bottleneck in and out of the shop. And, of course, more showcase space.

“You hear about all these things, and you think, ‘What are you smoking? How can you do all that with 1,000 square feet?” Jensen recalls.


THE EXECUTION

But Keith Kovar, a principal of Grid 3, was undaunted. The key, he says, was planning everything down to the last inch, and designing custom cases and other fixtures to fit the space exactly. Sometimes, this meant little tweaks, like shortening a drawer. Sometimes, it meant compromise; although the staff now has a little lunch counter area, it’s not a fullblown kitchen.

It helped that Jensen knew exactly what he wanted.

“People are often unsure as to what they want,” Kovar says. “They know they want to renovate, but they don’t have a sense of where they are going. He understood his business and what he was trying to do, so that list, although a challenge, made it quite easy to pack everything in there.”

The secret was to use the space more efficiently.

“He had some standard-size cases and so he was stuck with how they fit in the store,”

Kovar says. “When we came in to do it, going with custom cases, we did a number of initial layouts and some were angular, and the one he picked was circular. But in both cases, those layouts created more showcase footage, which was one of the main issues.”

Kovar made a serpentine case that created the curves he designed into the almost perfectly square space.

“The circular layout presents a nice flow through the space. We do a lot of things with curves, just because there’s a flow and it’s a bit softer.”

The color scheme was developed around Jensen’s signature color of blue and tied into tones reflecting the landscape — the shades of trees and water — of the Pacific Northwest.

When Jensen first saw the color swatches, though, he wasn’t immediately sold.

“I really stewed about whether those colors and materials were right. Finally, I said these guys are the professionals. I’m going to get out of their way, and I’m so glad I did. It just works!”

Form followed function; the ceiling was designed to accommodate the new lighting to its best advantage.

“The layout and the lighting are two of the most critical things in any jewelry store,” Kovar says. You want to make the merchandise sparkle and the store interesting to be in, and lighting goes a long way to achieving that.”


THE RESULTS



Kovar says that there aren’t too many inches in the store that could be used more effectively than they are being used now. In all, the project cost around $170,000, including casework and lighting and cabinets.

The color scheme was tied to the store’s signature blue and was meant to reflect the Pacific Northwest.

“It’s not just a box anymore; it’s an environment now,” Kovar says. “There’s a flow and a rhythm to it that really wasn’t there before. That’s part of what the whole store-planning business is about, creating an environment where you want to be.”

Jensen has been completely pleased and more than a little surprised with the results.

“Because we are a shop and a manufacturer, we take in a lot of jewelry for rework or repair, and so we were also able to station the tools of our trade in four separate locations around the store,” Jensen says. “They are in drawers underneath showcases and organized in a way that makes them easy to get at. So we’re not scrambling around looking for a loupe, like a chicken with its head cut off. We’re able to more efficiently help clients.

“I think from our clients’ perspective, we look like we know what we’re doing. We look professional. The jewelry shows extremely well, and as a result, that lends credibility.”


DO IT YOUR SELF


FRESHEN UP: Kovar recommends a refresh every five years and a major overhaul every 10 to 12.

BEFORE YOU KNOCK DOWN WALLS: If you need more merchandise space, look at how you display what you have now, Kovar says. “We’ve had clients who have reduced their inventory and seen increases in sales because sometimes there’s just too much in the case and the customer gets really confused.”

CONSIDER SELLING STYLE: Fixtures that accommodate side-by-side selling, where the customer and the salesperson are walking around a showcase together, are becoming popular, Kovar says. “But that only works if you’re committed to it. If you’re used to selling over a showcase, you may not be comfortable doing it that way and you’re not going to be successful.”

STRIVE FOR A COHERENT LOOK: Although designers and watch companies may want shops within your shop and branded space within your store, consider the overall look of your store before committing to such demands, Kovar says.

BE INVOLVED:“Kelly was involved,” says Kovar. “He really cared about what was happening. Any time that happens, those people get the best projects and are consequently the most successful.” Says Jensen, “I thought I was overwhelming Keith with emails and suggestions and changes, but he said, ‘The more you can tell me the better the design will be.”

CONSIDER: WHERE CAN YOU GO? Jensen made arrangements with his landlord to move to another location for nine weeks, which was three doors down from his store that was under construction. “It was a difficult nine weeks, in a space that wasn’t made for us and without adequate ventilation for manufacturing,” Jensen says. “But we put in some track lighting, and had to move our safe and put in an alarm system. We were closed in all for just four days.”



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Know It All: January 2014

Know It All
January 2014

BY THE INSTORE TEAM
Published in the January 2014 issue

Color of 2014? It’s Radiant Orchid

1 Move over, emerald. The color watchers at Pantone say the “It” color of 2014 is a pinky purple known as “radiant orchid.” — Wall Street Journal, 12/5/13

Skip the Turkey and Pass the phone

2An estimated one in seven shoppers forwent the turkey to go shopping on Thanksgiving as the holiday continued its transformation into a significant sales date. Still, the “Black” weekend’s big winner appears to have been online retailers. Cyber Monday sales were up 17.5 percent while Black Friday spluttered. — Bloomberg, 11/29/13

Court Rejects Challenge to Online Tax

3 The Supreme Court refused to hear appeals from Amazon.com and Overstock.com in their fights against a New York state law that forces them to remit sales tax as their brick-and-mortar peers must. The rebuff leaves it to Congress to craft a nationwide approach to the sales-tax issue. — BusinessWeek, 12/2/13

$1M PER CARAT THE NEW NORMAL?

4The figures were staggering: $83 million for the 59-carat Pink Star and $36 million for the 14.8-carat The Orange. Sure, the stones were rare but investors looking to diversify their portfolios with tangible assets were another factor pushing significant diamond prices above $1 million per carat. — New York Times, 11/18/13

Yellow Shines for Tiffany’s

5While pink and orange diamonds were grabbing the headlines, Tiffany & Co. partially credited yellow varieties for a 50-percent on-year jump in third-quarter profit. — Bloomberg, 11/27/13

Stuller CEO retires

Stuller CEO Jay Jackson, a 17-year veteran of the firm, retired at the end of 2013. Chief merchandising, marketing and sales officer Danny Clark was named as his successor. — INSTORE , 11/18/13

John Hardy ‘Up for Sale’

John Hardy Ltd. is attracting bidding interest from a number of private equity firms including Catterton Partners and TSG Consumer Partners as investors turn their focus to mid-range jewelry brands. The brand is expected to fetch as much as $400 million. — Reuters, 11/29/13

Girard- Perregaux Watch Takes Top Honors

Girard-Perregaux’s Constant Escapement LM took the top prize, or Aiguille D’or, at horology’s “Oscars” in Geneva for its “revolutionary concept addressing the holy grail of watchmaking: constant force.” — The Telegraph, 11/20/13

Employee Steals $800,000 in Jewelry

9A reminder that blind faith is a bad business strategy: An employee at Security Jewelers in Duluth, MN, was arrested for stealing nearly $800,000 worth of merchandise from the store over a two-year period. She pawned the pieces for $60,000. — Duluth News Tribune, 11/25/13

Try these on for size

10 A.F. Vandevorst, a Belgian fashion label, presented a pair of diamond-studded ankle boots valued at $3.2 million during Business of Design Week in Hong Kong. The size 8 boots were bejeweled with 39,083 colored diamonds and took 30,000 man-hours to produce. — New York Daily News , 12/6/13

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Sales Truths : There is no Romance in a Diamond.

Sales Truths : There is no Romance in a Diamond.

BY DAVID RICHARDSON

Published in the January 2014 issue.

WHY IT IS TRUE: Romance is not a measurable commodity. Romance is fundamentally in the mind and heart of the customer. What the diamond will do for them, how it will help them to achieve their specific goals and objectives, and how to make that occasion very very special.

PLAN OF ACTION: Forget about romancing the stone and examine ways you can find romance in the customer’s heart. How is he really planning to propose? How will he make this anniversary or birthday gift one she will remember for a lifetime? If he doesn’t have an idea, help him come up with one. Make sure your sales staff all have several great proposal, anniversary, birthday, as well as other celebrated holidays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc. stories they’re prepared to share. The chances of losing the sale through price negotiation will be significantly reduced. — DAVE RICHARDSON

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Creating from Scratch

Shane Decker: Creating from Scratch

Start putting something beautiful in their hands to generate unexpected sales.

BY SHANE DECKER

Published in the January 2014 issue.

OK, Christmas is over. You don’t have 200 clients coming in today to throw money at you, which means it’s time to get back into good selling habits.

During the holidays, it’s easy to fall into bad habits because customers are going to buy regardless. It’s also easy to start taking certain clients for granted, like repair and battery clients — the ones you think aren’t going to spend much. You have to take professional advantage of every selling opportunity you have. And the truth is, people buy on impulse all the time — just like we all did during the holidays.

Salespeople often gravitate toward diamond clients because they’re thinking about making the big sale, but consider the difference in mindset between this client and a service client. When a diamond client comes in, he may have shopped three stores already and have all kinds of objections ready. On the other hand, the service client goes to one store: The one he trusts. This client should feel as special as somebody spending a million dollars and it should be an honor to wait on him. After all, there are a lot of other jewelry stores he could have chosen, but he chose yours.

Your New Year’s resolution should be that every client coming in for a battery or dropping off or picking up a repair should have a “wow” item in their hands before they leave. This should be one of your store’s absolutes. Use a lead-in line like “Guess what’s in the vault?” or “Gotta show you my favorite” or “Wait until you see what just came in.” In 1983, I made it my goal to show a 1-carat diamond to every battery client I waited on. I tracked this for one full year. Sixty-two clients waiting for a battery bought a diamond while they waited, all created from scratch. If you get it in their hand, the rest happens by itself.

Don’t overthink this and make something so easy be so hard. Keep doing this until you succeed. It’s a numbers game; sooner or later, you’ll win.

At the very minimum, your clients will leave your store saying, “Did you see that?” or “Man, you guys are awesome.” Don’t practice ho-hum salesmanship and just let a client stand there and do nothing while someone changes his battery. Instead, knock his socks off with a really cool piece of jewelry and let him go out and tell his friends about it. When referrals come in who have never been in before, they have high expectations. If you meet or exceed those expectations, the closing ratio is over 90 percent. Not only that, but you are planting seeds with each service client you wow. He’ll come in next year and say, “You know that diamond you showed me last year? Tomorrow’s my anniversary and I’d like to buy it.”

Always wow with a diamond because last year, approximately 63 percent of all jewelry sold by value in the United States was diamond jewelry. So, take a more professional advantage of every selling opportunity you have. I’ve never had a client walk out mad because I put something gorgeous in his hand. Wow everyone. You buy on impulse, and so do your clients.

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Woulda Coulda Shoulda: “Apparently you!"

 

Woulda Coulda Shoulda: “Apparently you!"

BY INSTORE TEAM

Published in the January 2014 issue.

... to that groom-to-be who asks, “What’s the cheapest thing in here?”

Woulda Coulda Shouldas are provided anonymously by INSTORE’s Brain Squad.

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Sanity Files: Heather Hanst

The Sanity Files: Heather Hanst

How top jewelers keep their cool in a crazy world

Published in the December 2013 issue

HEATHER HANST, SILVERADO JEWELRY GALLERY, BEND, OR
Hanst is a former professional figure skater and a lover of outdoor sports. She represents the work of more than 100 jewelry artists in her gallery, which was named 2013 America’s Coolest Store in the “Big Cool” division.

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Tech For Your Store: Instagram: Tell Stories With Pictures

Tech For Your Store: Instagram: Tell Stories With Pictures

BY INSTORE TEAM

Published in the December 2013 issue

In its early days — way back in 2011 — Instagram was described as “Polaroid on steroids.” It’s quickly become much more than that.

While the photo-sharing site’s original cohort of early adopters — teens looking to swap “selfies” — still accounts for a big slice of its user base, the service is being deployed as a communications channel by companies and organizations as large and staid as GE and the White House. And in early November, it carried its first ad — a sponsored image for a Michael Kors watch no less.

According to AdWeek, 15 percent of U.S. Internet users now have an Instagram account, sharing an average of 55 million photos per day. Among jewelers, the take-up rate is even higher, with 18 percent saying they have an Instagram profile, according to our Brain Squad surveys.

Still, if you’re among the solid majority who have yet to download the app on to your smartphone and are a little confused about what the big deal is, it probably helps to think of Instagram as Facebook stripped down to its photos with a distribution format that tips its hat to Twitter (yes, there are hashtags, shares and likes in the form of “hearts”). From a business standpoint, there are three things to know about Instagram:

1. It’s image-based, which means it’s great for telling stories visually and, as a result, for building emotional connections with your followers.

2. While you can view Instagram profiles on a desktop computer, hardly anyone does. It’s designed for cellphones— which combined with the fact that it’s essentially a stream of photos — means people interact with it at great speed.

3. While Instagram has yet to demonstrate a hard sales use, there are a multitude of ways you can deploy it to boost your business (although it works best when you adopt a fun, “non-business” mindset).

Here are examples of a few things you can do with it:

Engage with customers. Instagram’s focus is on sharing experiences and good times via images and video. This makes it especially suitable for jewelry, given that the industry is about beauty and fun, and because customer relationships are basically everything.

Expose people to your merchandise. Use Instagram to give customers sneak previews of new lines, to show the nicer pieces you are working on, and to highlight popular colors, designs and styles.

Get feedback. Followers can scroll through images and with just a touch “heart” the ones they like, providing almost instant feedback on what pieces are creating a connection with jewelry lovers.

Provide customers insider access by sharing pictures of trunk shows or buying trips to trade shows.

Host a contest that invites your customers to share their photos on a theme.

Use it as a research tool to follow jewelry designers and other retailers you admire.

Like Pinterest, Instagram is all about visuals that pop. Its filters can turn even the most mundane photo into something evocative, but it’s still smart to edit wisely and post with restraint, unless it’s for a campaign.

The final and possibly most important thing to know about Instagram — it’s a lot of fun. Open a profile today and experiment by sharing photos with your family and friends.

TECH BRIEFS

Two-click 3D Scanning

Jumpstart the modeling and prototyping process with the MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner, which takes a real-life object, scans it using a camera and two “eyesafe” lasers, and creates a 3D digital file that can be uploaded to a 3D printer — without any need for design or 3D software experience. MSRP: $1,400 | Information: makerbot.com/digitizer

Shine a Lightbox

The MODE360° Photo Box is a semi-automatic lightbox for taking professional pictures called packshots with a maximum product size 15 x 15 x 15cm. It is equipped with a built-in shadowless turntable that can be used to compose 360-degree animations. Lighting is provided by a high quality LED system with optimal color temperature of 6500K. MSRP: $4,495 | Information: stuller.com or (800) 877-7777

Grind It Out

Turn even the smallest scrap into a usable resource with Dura-BULL Lighted Grinding Box with Locking Catch Tray. Sized to fit a polishing motor with a spindle height of 7 inches, the box encloses your spindle, wheel and workpiece to capture all the debris created by your tasks. MSRP: $565 Information: riogrande.com or (800) 545-6566

Sort with Ease

No longer do you need to hold a pair of tweezers in one hand and a gauge in the other. The Gemlogis SAFFRON sorting gauge provides a direct digital readout as you pick up loose stones with ease. Gemlogis says it is the most convenient way for sorting gemstones of various sizes. MSRP: $79.38 | Information: stuller.com or (800) 877-7777

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Know It All: December 2013

Know It All
December 2013

BY THE INSTORE TEAM
Published in the December 2013 issue

Brace for a Late Holiday Rush This Year

1 Retailers should expect to see more shoppers making last-minute purchases this holiday season, with four of the 10 busiest shopping days of 2013 to occur between Dec. 20 and 24, according to analytics provider ShopperTrak. The projected late rush is being compounded by a shortened shopping season this year, as there are only four weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas. — INSTORE, 10/29/13

Rapaport Issues Alert on Melee

2The Rapaport Group has issued a trade alert amid persistent reports that large amounts of lab-grown diamonds are being mixed with natural diamonds in melee parcels. “Insist the phrase ‘natural, untreated diamonds’ be included on all invoices,” the firm said. — Rapaport Tradewire, 10/17/13

Jewelry firm Closings slide

3 After hitting more than 900 a year during the recession, the number of jewelry businesses that are shutting down or consolidating has plunged, with just 144 closing their doors in the third-quarter, according to JBT data. — National Jeweler, 10/25/13

Beware, Here comes Gen Y

4By 2017, the millennial generation will be outspending baby boomers, however most retailers aren’t prepared for this demographic changeover with many employing business strategies that do not apply to Gen Y customers, says a study by Berglass+Associates. — INSTORE, 10/24/13

Diamond Prices set to take off

5With global demand increasing at roughly twice the rate of supply, diamond prices are likely to surge from 2018, according to a study by Bain & Co. This is likely to prompt more retailers to seek to lock in supply by either buying mines outright (a la Harry Winston) or tie up with miners, as Tiffany’s has done. — Forbes, 28/10/13

Second Wives Get Bigger Rings: Survey

Second wives typically get engagement rings that cost more than twice as much as their predecessor’s ($3,294 vs. $1,395), according to a survey of British consumers by comparejewellery.com. — JCK, 11/4/13

When It’s not Forever

Online retailer Breakupgems.com is offering rings, necklaces and earrings that celebrate the end of a relationship. Hearts pierced by a line of gems are a recurring motif. — PR Web, 10/30/13

Neiman Offers 3-D Printing

3-D printed jewelry has quietly penetrated the luxury market with a $295 heart pendant recently added to the Neiman Marcus online catalog. When a customer places an order, the item is printed and shipped by Shapeways, a marketplace for 3-D printed goods. — Fashionista.com, 11/4/13

Personal Data for a price

9While consumers are increasingly unhappy about retail use of their personal data, a study suggests they’re OK with it if there’s something in it for them — a little cash or credit, for example, according to a report by IPG Mediabrands. — PSFK.com, 11/7/13

Doris Payne in trouble again

10 Eighty-three-year-old Doris Payne, whose rap sheet includes some $2 million of robberies over 50 years, has been arrested again on suspicion of stealing a $22,000 ring from El Paseo Jewelers in Palm Desert, CA. — NY Daily News, 10/30/13

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Service Shorts: December 2013

Service Shorts
December 2013

BY THE INSTORE TEAM
Published in the December 2013 issue

Kim International Introduces 2014 Catalog
Kim International has published a hardbound catalog that showcases its designer collections Romance 18K Diamond Bridal, LaVie 14K Diamond Bridal, Tesoro Diamond & Gemstone Fashion, Eleganza 18K Gold & Sterling Silver Fashion and Elan Contemporary Sterling Fashion. With retail priced at 2.5 times markup, it makes an ideal counter sales tool. Most items are in stock for same-day shipping.
Information: (800) 275-5555 or kimint.com

Stuller Releases Two Catalogs
Stuller has launched two comprehensive catalogs: Mountings 2014-2015 is 992 pages of best-sellers, up-to-date styling and flexible designs, each shown at actual size. The 128-page companion to the mountings book, Diamonds and Gemstones, showcases an extensive stone inventory.
Information: stuller.com.

Overnight Covers All Bases
 Overnight Mountings has issued four catalogs covering bridal, silver, monogram and colored gemstones. The bridal catalog, with 100 new engagement rings, highlights popular styles. The monogram catalog includes rings and cufflinks, and the silver catalog features a silver and diamond collection. The Sophie Marie Collection of colored gemstones features rings, pendants, earrings and ensembles.
Information: (888) 731-1111 or overnightmountings.com

Consignment Program
 White Pine Jewelry Solutions, a division of White Pine Trading LLC, has launched a consignment program that aims to help independent retailers drive traffic to their stores and build market dominance with value-priced jewelry tailored to their needs. Categories include bridal, fashion, colored gemstones, basics and men’s jewelry.
Information: whitepinediamonds.com/jewelry or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Gabriel & Co.’s New Showroom
  Gabriel & Co. recently unveiled its New York headquarters and showroom with an event attended by customers, press and industry insiders. The company turns 25 next year and is in the process of revamping its website to provide easier navigation. gabrielny.com

B2B lending
Monterey Financial Services Inc. has initiated a business-to-business lending program for jewelry wholesalers and retailers, offering them the ability to acquire short-term loans from an established financial institution to help them grow their businesses.
Information: montereyfinancial.com/jewelry_funding.html

mobile MaeVona
Because mobile users now make up 70 percent of  MaeVona’s website visitors, a reinvented mobile site presents the entire product catalog. It also includes a find-a-store function. A “Search by Story” function allows consumers to “Find Their Dream Ring” using the designer’s Celtic-inspired history. And they can view every style using 360-degree mobile animations.
Information: maevona.com

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Sanity Files: Paolo Salamone

The Sanity Files: Paolo Salamone

How top jewelers keep their cool in a crazy world

Published in the November 2013 issue

Paolo Salamone, Paolo A Modern Jeweler Cincinnati, OH
Retailer and jewelry designer Paolo “The Jeweler” Salamone trained under Master Jeweler Ezio Oliverio. His business was recognized in Cincinnati Magazine’s “Best of City” awards.

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Know It All: November 2013

Know It All
November 2013

BY THE INSTORE TEAM
Published in the November 2013 issue

GIA APPOINTS JACQUES AS ITS NEW CEO

1 The board of the GIA has named Susan Jacques as the institute’s new president and CEO. Jacques, currently CEO of Borsheims Fine Jewelry in Omaha, NE, will take up her new post on Jan. 1.
SOURCE: instoremag.com, 10/7/13

AFFLUENT EYE JEWELRY GIFTS

2 One in four affluent Americans plans to buy jewelry as a gift these holidays, according to a survey by American Express Publishing and Harrison Group. Overall holiday spending of wealthy households is expected to increase by 8 percent on-year, the survey found.
SOURCE: INSTORE 10/4/13

DOES THE END LOOM FOR BLACK FRIDAY?

3 Black Friday may not be on its deathbed, but it is in decline, with less than 25 percent of consumers now venturing out to shop on the day. Industry experts cited the growing holiday season and the availability of specials throughout December as reasons for its drop in popularity as a shopping date:
SOURCE: Time, 9/26/13

DE BEERS SHIFTS SIGHTS TO BOSTSWANA

4Ending an 80-year tradition, De Beers was due to hold its last sight in London in October before moving the sales meetings to the Botswana capital of Gaborone.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, 10/4/13

SMARTPHONES, TABLETS TOP FOR SHOPPING

5More than half of all Internetrelated shopping is now done on smartphones or tablet devices, compared with just 45 percent for desktop computers, according to a report by comScore.
SOURCE: IDEX Online News, 10/1/13

FEAR OF ‘DIRTY GOLD’ SEEN IN PEBBLE EXIT

Anglo American has walked away from the huge Pebble gold mine in Alaska, losing an estimated $541 million, amid a rising environmental campaign against the project.
SOURCE: Businessweek, 9/23/13

NY TARGETS FAKE ‘REWVIEWS’

The New York State attorneygeneral’s office, which has been on the warpath against fake raves on review sites such as Yelp!, has announced far-reaching consumer protections that may become a national model.
SOURCE: New York Times, 9/25/13

PANTONE GETS THE BLUES, WITH A TOUCH OF PURPLE

Pantone unveiled its spring 2014 Fashion Color Report at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, naming “Placid Blue” as the top hue of the season for both men and women.
SOURCE: INSTORE , 9/6/13

‘PINK STAR’ EXPECTED TO FETCH $60M

9 The Pink Star, a 59.6-carat, internally flawless, fancy vivid pink diamond that Sotheby’s is touting as the “most valuable diamond ever offered at auction” will go on the block in mid-November.
SOURCE: Rapaport TradeWire, 25/9/13

STUDY: WOMEN WIRED TO WANT BRANDS

10 Women crave luxury gifts because such items serve as a signal to other women that their male partner is devoted to them, contends a study in The Journal of Consumer Research. Because men often don’t understand the brand code, gift cards make good presents, the authors say.
SOURCE: JCK, 9/13/13

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Woulda Coulda Shoulda: “Then why are you wasting my time?”

 

Woulda Coulda Shoulda: “Then why are you wasting my time?”

BY INSTORE TEAM

Published in the November 2013 issue.

To the customer who says, “I know the markup in jewelry, and I can buy wholesale from a friend.”

Woulda Coulda Shouldas are provided anonymously by INSTORE’s Brain Squad.

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Sales Truths : Ownership is the Smorgasbord of Insecurity

Sales Truths : Ownership is the Smorgasbord of Insecurity

BY DAVID RICHARDSON

Published in the November 2013 issue.

WHY IT IS TRUE: If you are the owner of your business, you constantly worry about sales, worry about costs. You worry about your store, employees, vendors and customers. If you didn’t, you would be out of business or at best working for someone else. Owners worry... employees work.

PLAN OF ACTION: Sit down by yourself with a nice glass of Chardonnay and make a list of the worries, concerns or real challenges that keep you up at night. If the answer you come up with is “Gee, I don’t have any,” you’re probably not being totally honest with yourself. Take a sip of the wine, close your eyes, and dig deep, very deep. Make a list and check it twice. If Santa can do it, so can you. Develop two or three specific action steps you can take that are practical and economically feasible. Share your thoughts with your best employees, other retailers, jewelers in noncompetitive markets or anyone whose counsel and confidence you completely trust. The worries won’t totally go away overnight, but you sure can make some powerful strides forward. — DAVE RICHARDSON

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Shane Decker: Integrity Salesmanship

Shane Decker: Integrity Salesmanship

If the client doesn’t trust you, you’ll never get past the greeting

BY SHANE DECKER

Published in the November 2013 issue.

As consumers, we’ve all had bad experiences with salespeople who would stop at nothing to sell their product. A salesperson can kill a brand, a dealership or a store by hiding the truth, “shading” the truth, and outright lying.

The American Dictionary definition of integrity is “Soundness of character, honesty, perfect condition.” The dictionary defines professionalism as “Conduct, character, or aims and/or qualities that characterize or mark a profession or a professional person.” As you can see, the two are close relatives. Is your character in perfect condition? What conduct or qualities mark you as a salesperson?

Before you sell your product or your store, you have to sell yourself. If the client doesn’t trust you, you’ll never get past the greeting. Your entire sales team is only as good as each individual’s integrity. So not only do you have to sell with passion, you have to sell with sincerity, humility, and a level of professionalism that is unmatched by anyone else.

If the client has been in another store first, your professionalism has to surpass the professionalism of the last presenter. If the client asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, tell them, “I don’t know, but I will find out and get you the correct information immediately.” Never make up an answer that’s not truthful. What if you have to remember it later, and what if they find out it wasn’t the truth?

I was in a store years ago when a sales rep from a diamond line walked in. I was with the owner, who told one of his salespeople to tell the rep he wasn’t in the store today. Not only did that owner lie in front of me, but he also told his employee to go lie on his behalf.

If you want a superlative sales team, you have to lead by the right example. Your word must be your bond. Always tell the truth. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you tell a client you’re going to follow up on something, do it. If you make a promise, keep it. Clients trust you with their secrets, their feelings, and their emotions. Those are fragile and precious things and must be protected responsibly.

Clients also trust us with the knowledge we give them. If a diamond is an SI1 or an I1, call it correctly. If it’s an F or a K, call it correctly. Make sure that what is perceived is the truth. Don’t make it look like it’s a better deal than it is. That actually shows a weakness in selling skills. And shading the truth is the same as lying.

Professionalism, honesty, conduct, and integrity — these are the