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2018 Cool Store Winner Reveals What It Takes to Win

Julie Ettinger says the key to “cool” is passion.

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Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

When It’s Time for Something New, Call Wilkerson

Fifty-four years is a long time to stay in one place. So, when Cindy Skatell-Dacus, owner of Skatell’s Custom Jewelers in Greenville, SC decided to move on to life’s next adventure, she called Wilkerson. “I’d seen their ads in the trade magazines for years,’ she says, before hiring them to run her store’s GOB sale. It was such a great experience, Skatell-Dacus says it didn’t even seem like a sale was taking place. Does she have some advice for others thinking of a liquidation or GOB sale? Three words, she says: “Wilkerson. Wilkerson. Wilkerson.”

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Liz Saba’s San Diego Jewelry Store Reflects a Rock ‘n’ Roll Vibe

She was profiled in a book about the Southern California punk-rock scene.

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ONLINE EXTRA: Q&A

What do you look for in designers that you represent in your store?

I look for women who creatively tell a story through their unique designs. They evoke feelings when you put on their pieces. I want designers that you won’t see at traditional jewelry stores!

You have pet sea monkeys? Please elaborate!

We wanted pets in the store, but furry animals were not an option. We got a self-enclosed eco system with Sea Monkeys and had a naming contest with our clients. The winning names received a gift card to our store. So now we have Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone!

What’s it like being open some evenings? Is there a different mood or ambience or clientele?

It’s important for us to open evenings because we are surrounded by fabulous restaurants. Couples on dates stop by and discover us. It also opens up shopping hours for our clients that work.

What’s it like working with family?

Working with family makes for a fun camaraderie. Trust me, there are days that you’re not feeling it, but at the end of the day, it’s brought us all closer together.

What do you like best about your occupation?

What I love best is that we make people happy and become part of their story, their lives. It’s meaningful to us. I also love that people that didn’t think they could have a special piece of jewelry accessible to them know they have a place to go. I also love that after 36 years in this industry, I still see designs that are so new and fresh!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

When am I not working? LOL. I love to go watch live music, shoot pool, and, of course, spend time with my 16-year-old daughter, Presley.

What inspires you about living in San Diego?

I’m so proud to live in America’s Finest City! San Diego is amazing. It’s a big city, but has a small town feel at the same time. It’s so culturally diverse. It’s about community. We have everything we could want, and have you experienced our weather?

Please describe some trademark jewelry pieces you like to wear.

My trademark pieces I always wear are my big inside outside diamond hoops, Debra Navarro studs in my second hole, and my Graziella Gem Swirl Ring. I literally sell it off my finger when people see it. I rock a Baracuda necklace from Jacto and bangles from Melissa Spalten. I just added a new fave: The Boss Ring by Dru. I like being eclectic. Being matchy-matchy bores me.

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Diamond-Focused Denver Jeweler Inspired by Her Clients’ Excitement

Millennial shoppers respond to education, privacy and transparency.

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TIMELESS AND TREASURED. Most of my clients come to me with their own ideas for rings, but my source of inspiration is helping refine them into something that is timeless. I try to remind people that they are buying something that they, or the person they’re buying for, is going to wear for a very long time. The rings that I have designed for our case are timeless, not too busy, and the focus is on the actual diamond.

SHOWING RESPECT. I wanted to create a transparent experience. That’s why people come to us. The secret to selling diamonds to millennials is educating them. I think they find you are respecting them when you give them that information rather than just selling them something because it’s pretty. And it’s about respecting their budget. A lot of my friends say retailers show them things that are $5,000 or $10,000 over what they said they want to spend.

ALTERNATIVE BRIDAL. I do sell salt and pepper diamonds. Not every day, most clients are coming to me for fine diamonds. Most people have been buying them through the Internet, but I bought them because people want to come in and see them. I sell them ridiculously cheap.

FOOL-PROOF PLANNING. Most guys don’t try to do it on their own. They either come in together as couples or the girls send me all the information ahead of time, I keep it in a file, and when the guy comes in, I pull out the file and he can’t mess that up. I imagine that is completely different from how it was done 15, or even 10 years ago.

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California Boutique Owner Connects With Women Who Love To Shop as Much as She Does

Curated collection appeals to self-purchasers.

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