We want to be dog-friendly but huge dogs are popular around here; we’re talking 6-foot long Great Danes and 220-lb. mastiffs.

We’d recommend taking a lead (or should that be a leash?) from Alchemy 9•2•5 in Belmont, MA. They place a bowl of water outside and a hook on the railing to allow customers to tie up their beloved pet. The other advantage of offering a post to tie-up is that the owner can feel comfortable browsing alone without worrying about what their dog is about to do.


How can I make my business bulletproof from lawsuits?

Here are a few areas to start:

  • Insurance coverage. Talk to your agent about your risk exposure and how to protect yourself, whether that’s an umbrella liability policy or specialized liability insurance.
  • Minimize risk. Make sure you’re following correct procedures when it comes to things like workplace safety and especially hiring procedures. Develop processes for resolving issues that arise between employees so that small squabbles don’t mushroom into harassment claims.
  • Use contracts. Sure, it sounds obvious, but jewelers do deals on a handshake, especially when they’re excited. Two thousand years of tradition doesn’t stand for much in modern courtrooms.

How can I grow my customer email list?

Make a sign-up form or other tool available at every point a potential customer comes into contact with your business. Place sign-up buttons on every web page, in emails, on social media sites and even your marketing bulletins (yes, those people have already signed up, but you can use the email’s “Forward to a Friend” link to spread the word). For mobile phones, most of these services allow you to create “Text to Join” functions so people can easily sign up. Offline, you should include sign-up forms at your POS and repair counter, set up a fish bowl for people to drop in their business card, set up signs around the store and include a link on all official receipts, advertisements, flyers, name cards and feedback forms. 


Is there any way we can do away with meetings?

Meetings in themselves aren’t evil, it’s just when they stop workers from doing what they want to do — which is getting productive stuff done — that they become dreaded energy vampires. The key question for distinguishing a worthwhile meeting from a worthless one seems to be this: is it a “status-report” meeting, designed for employees to simply report or listen to things? If so, it’s probably better handled by email or the backroom notice board. That leaves a minority of “good” meetings, whose value lies in the meeting of minds, like a well-run brainstorming session, or one where sales floor successes and misses in the previous week are discussed, or strategies to reinforce a marketing message in interactions with customers.


How much should I charge for an appraisal?

There are number of factors at play here — complexity of the job, your credentials, your market (major city appraisers typically charge more than those in smaller cities) and your client (if you’re doing work for a court, for example, you may earn better money). Gail Brett Levine, executive director of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, said the highest she’s ever heard is $250 per piece, and the cheapest about $25. Just don’t try to charge by the value of the piece, says Levine. As for those people seeking a drive-by freebie for the ring they picked up in southeast Asia, Blue Book author David Geller recommends an appropriately weighty sign on your counter that you can point to, declaring:

“If you need a value on something you’ve bought or been given, we can offer you two choices:

Written, professional, certified appraisal … $85 (or whatever).

Oral, non-binding evaluation with no guarantee of accuracy … $20.

Thank you.”


This article originally appeared in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.