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Dozens of business tweaks that will make your brand obvious to all.

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TAKE A LOOK around your store. What makes it stand out? What makes it uniquely yours? What makes customers say, “Wow!”?

It might be something visible or tangible like a cascading chandelier, a branded bottle of Champagne or an architectural detail. But it could be more abstract: your esprit de corps, your organizational skills, your offbeat sense of humor, your friendly ghost.

The takeaway is that every store owner needs to find their own area of differentiation, as Troy and Joy Thollot of Thollot Diamonds & Fine Jewelry in Thornton, CO, did when they found inspiration in Colorado microbreweries and bars for their store renovation in 2019. “Everybody has to have their own secret sauce,” Troy says.

“We have a definite Colorado chill vibe, which is super-warm and super-comfortable,” says Joy. It disarms visitors immediately. “It happens right at the front door, and you can see it happening. They relax, they sigh.”

No matter the vibe, the details or the furnishings, store owners concur that it’s the people behind the facade that make the most difference.

One of Jim Cash’s stores in Fayetteville, AR, has a patio for grilling and socializing, and both of his Diamond Center locations have what he describes as almost a bar theme. But, dig a little deeper, Cash says, and you’ll find it’s the personality of the team that fuels the fun. “We are all so different and we really do our best to cater to everyone,” he says. “We all do whatever is needed to take care of the customer.”

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Barb Binkley of Cooper & Binkley Jewelers in Brighton, MI, says people trump things when it comes to personality in her store and that reviews prove her point.

“We are very interactive on social media, we do a lot of fun events, and we have an amazing team,” she says. “We are 5 stars on Google with almost 1,500 reviews.”

Says Traci Hill of Got Rocks Jewelry in Harrisonburg, VA, “My shop is 100 percent me! Being by appointment only, I’m able to focus on my client in the moment. Low pressure sales, cracking a few jokes and being real has worked for me, plus I carry a few pieces of cannabis jewelry, so that always brings about great conversation.”

Here are 50 examples, in alphabetical order, of what can go into a jewelry retailer’s secret sauce.

01 BAG Your packaging can carry your message home with your clients if you let it. “The Love Comes First tagline featured on our tote bag both conveys our core values to our customers and reminds our team of the guiding principles we rely on when dealing with our artists, customers and each other,” says Betsy Barron, owner of Love & Luxe in San Francisco. Remind everyone why you’re there.

love-and-luxe-bag

02 BEACH VIBE Jewelry designer Gorjana Reidel and her husband, Jason Griffin Reidel, own dozens of Gorjana-branded jewelry stores that reflect a minimalistic beach-cottage vibe that speaks to the brand’s origins. Mango wood finishes, blue Shibori accents and greenery recall the brand’s Laguna Beach, CA, origins and complement the laid-back selling style.

Gorjana.-Manhattan Beach Interior

03 BILLBOARD John Thomas Mead of John Thomas Jewelry in Albuquerque constantly tries to reimagine the messaging conveyed on 40-foot billboards. Among the most popular have been “50% of Marriages End in Marriage,” “Let’s Stick It To Divorce Lawyers,” “A Toast to the Oldyweds” and “‘From the Mall’ doesn’t have the same ring to it.”

billboard

04 BRIDAL ZONE At Zadok Jewelers’ newest store in Houston, the second floor “Upstairs at Zadok” was designed with hardwood floors and “hip” furniture to be a destination in itself for the young bridal crowd. A Champagne lounge is conveniently adjacent to the bridal shop to make celebrations simple. The second floor is also the site of big events, piercing parties and trunk shows.

Upstairs_at_Zadok_Champagne_Bar_by_Chase_Daniel

05 BUSINESS CARD Consider the tactile nature of your business cards, as well as how they look. “We use a vertical business card that is thick, chocolate paper. Don’t you have to when you have a store in Hershey?!?” asks Trevor Williams, owner of Leitzel’s Jewelry in Myerstown, PA.

06 BOX Bernie Robbins, with stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, designed their memorable packaging, adorned with vibrant butterflies, to surprise and delight.

BR Gift Box & Bag

07 Cabinet Handles One of many special touches in Fiat Lux’s Fillmore Street location in San Francisco is the jaguar handles on the jewelry cabinets. The Mission location has cobra door handles that owner Marie McCarthy found at a flea market. That little creature-feature detail unifies the two locations, which have different styles.

Fiat-Lux-cabinet-pulls

08 Ceiling What’s going on up there? At employee-owned Kesslers Jewelers in Grand Rapids, MI, large circular “floating clouds” drop from the open ceiling, creating drama and visual interest. The cloud pattern is mimicked in laser-cut metal sheets separating consultation booths, as well as inset within the wrap counter.

Kesslers-ceiling-scape

09 COLLECTION Dave Horn of Donaldson’s in Topeka, KS, is a music fan who displays his personal guitar collection on a red accent wall of the store. “We have everything from Grandpa’s 1917 Gibson he used to play in a band to a recent purchase, a 2022 Strandberg Boden,” Horn says. “To complete the mood in the store, we play soft classic rock.” The store is in Topeka’s arts and entertainment district, so a guitar wall is right at home.

Donaldson’s owner Dave Horn’s personal guitar collection is right at home in Topeka’s arts district.

Donaldson’s owner Dave Horn’s personal guitar collection is right at home in Topeka’s arts district.

10 COMMERCIALS Thacker Jewelry’s “Bridal Showdown” commercial, produced by Bottom Line Marketing and filmed on the dusty streets of Roaring Springs, TX, captures the West Texas theme of Joe Thacker’s store in Lubbock, with brides in cowboy boots showing off the size of their rings and a voiceover that declares Thacker’s the finest and fairest jeweler “this side of the Mississippi.” Thacker says it perfectly reflects the vibe of his store and the history of his business.

50 Ways Jewelry Retailers Inject Personality Into Their Stores

11 CONCIERGE SERVICES “You can buy what we have here, or some semblance of it, anywhere, but at the end of the day it’s all about service,” says Rhett Ramsay Outten of Croghan’s Jewel Box in Charleston, SC. “It’s about how you make people feel. We make dinner reservations, find tours for them, call up Google Maps. We’re mailing packages of stuff for them they didn’t even buy here!”

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12 CUBBY HOLES Debbie Fox, owner of Fox Fine Jewelry of Ventura, CA, is a CPA and it shows. Procedures and organization set her store apart. “Our nearly 100-page procedure manual covers everything from greeting clients and security to job flow and clienteling,” Fox says. “The store is very organized — even our POS stations have cubbies labeled for supplies!”

Fox-labeled-cubbies

13 CURB APPEAL Karina Brez’s twisted vine with dried flowers brings a garden element to her exterior in Palm Beach, FL, that reflects the lushly planted neighborhood and anticipates the beautiful jewelry found within.

karina-brez-entry

14 DOOR HANDLES The Kessler experience begins with a literal touchpoint: custom-created logo door handles, the design of which speak to the brand’s focus on wedding and engagement rings. Kesslers Diamonds in Grand Rapids, MI, stocks nearly 2,000 loose diamonds in their stores, carries an expansive collection of engagement and wedding ring settings and does custom work, too.

kesslers-door-handles-copy

15 DRAWERS At John Thomas Jewelers of Albuquerque, NM, engagement rings and wedding bands are in client-facing, double-level drawers. Additional displays are shelves that double as drawers and can be reconfigured daily.

drawer

16 ENTRYWAY At Bailey’s Fine Jewelry’s newest store in Carey, NC, high-end finishes, such as the marble entryway, set the tone for a luxurious shopping experience. Marci Bailey was inspired to create the store by photos of a distinctive Dubai residence.

Bailey's-marble-entrance

17 EXHIBIT While some stores have art exhibits, Houston Jewelry features British Crown jewel replicas, on permanent display since they were created in 2012 in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. It’s a fun element that educates visitors on the history of jewelry in society, says owner Rex Solomon. The display is guarded by a mannequin wearing the red coat of the queen’s guard uniform and tall bearskin hat. The display includes a replica of the Imperial State Crown, made for Queen Victoria in 1828, and a uniform of the Scots Guards.

English fine art photographer John Griffiths wears part of the exhibit while visiting the store in 2022.

English fine art photographer John Griffiths wears part of the exhibit while visiting the store in 2022.

18 EXPERIENCE For the “Pour Your Heart Into It” experience at Thollot Diamonds & Fine Jewelry in Thornton, CO, master jewelers guide each couple through the design, creation and centrifugal casting process of their rings, creating a unique proposal story. The couple is invited back to cast each other’s wedding bands. Each experience is caught on video and followed by a toast with a Colorado distilled spirit.

Bailey's-Diamond-Cutter

19 EXPERTISE Bailey’s Fine Jewelry in North Carolina has hired a resident diamond cutter, Benny Filossof, who works in the flagship store in Raleigh, where customers can see for themselves what is involved in the fine art of diamond cutting.

20 FLOOR At Fiat Lux in San Francisco, the tiled floor is painted with a black-and-white striped snake adorned with a blue gemstone. While some jewelry retailers might shy away from bright colors that could compete with their product for attention, Marie McCarthy has another perspective. She finds that a colorful design creates an atmosphere of joy and wonder.

Fiat-Lux-floor

21 GREEN SPACE At Occasions Fine Jewelry in Midland, TX, interior designer Leslie McGwire worked with owner Michael Fleck to install a living green wall, which has become a focal point of the recently reimagined showroom. The greenery acts as an oasis in the store that has an ambience and color palette best described as desert luxury.

Occasions-Green-Wall

22 GREETERS “Our two Havanese dogs greet everyone from the FedEx delivery people and mail carrier to our clients when they arrive,” says Laura Sipe of JC Sipe in Indianapolis. “I have been blown away by the response, including people stopping in with special treats. They offer a warm and welcoming experience. Oh, and don’t forget that we (people) supply the same experience.”

These two Havanese greeters delight all who enter JC Sipe in Indianapolis.

These two Havanese greeters delight all who enter JC Sipe in Indianapolis.

23 HEIRLOOMS Marc Majors has the original safe that belonged to his great-great grandfather in his Midland store. It was restored 12 years ago, and people gravitate toward it and make comments about it all the time. “It’s definitely very special to us,” he says.

24 INSTAGRAM “We pepper our Instagram and Facebook pages with funny memes alongside our jewelry,” says online retailer Jen Hollywood of J Hollywood Designs. “And we post pics of us as well from time to time, which helps our customers connect with us as an online-only business.”

smart phone

25 JINGLE This idea has proved to be absolutely timeless: When anyone from Oklahoma City hears the name B.C. Clark Jewelers, they begin to hum a little tune. So popular is the retailer’s circa-1956 jingle, originally devised for its anniversary sale, that it’s turned into a regional Christmas carol, which actress Megan Mullally, an Oklahoma City native, once sang on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Now, it’s even got its own website, bcclarkjingle.com, where you can download it as a ringtone.

26 LIGHTING A diamond-inspired Tom Dixon light installation featured at Milan Design Week is the centerpiece of the showroom at Joseph Jewelry in Seattle, owned by Joseph and Danny Boukhalil. An app controls the color of the luminous kaleidoscope.

50 Ways Jewelry Retailers Inject Personality Into Their Stores

27 LOGO WALL When Jeff Guntzviller designed a new Miner’s North Jewelers store in Traverse City, MI, in 2021, he wanted people to walk in and get the sense that it’s a diamond store right away. The logo reflects both the artistic vibe of the store design and the location directly across the street from Lake Michigan.

miner's-north-logo-wall

28 LOUNGE Design firm LA DALLMAN designed a lounge-like addition to Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers in Milwaukee that offers clients an intimate shopping experience, a space where they can design jewelry and attend private client dinners and trunk shows.

This 40-foot jewelry-loving octopus graces Century Jewelers’ exterior wall.

This 40-foot jewelry-loving octopus graces Century Jewelers’ exterior wall.

29 MAGAZINE Sixteen years ago, Zadok Jewelers of Houston launched their own print magazine, Zadok Magazine, distributed annually to over 20,000 households in Houston as well as to clients nationwide. Readers can discover the latest styles, find new arrivals, and learn more about past in-store events.

Zadok_Magazine_Cover

30 MEETING SPACE The Crystal Palace inside M.S. Rau in New Orleans is encased in glass and has lighting that can be changed to suit the mood or the jewels, as well as cases topped with glass that open with the push of a button.

31 MURAL A 40-foot mural of a jewelry-loving octopus on Century Jewelers’ building in South Pasadena, FL, is intended to bring the art world to the community. The business is owned by Anna Hatzilias and her son, Pete Hatzilias. The mural, which went viral on social media, has been featured on local news stations.

Octopus-mural-at-Century-Jewelers

32 ONE-STOP SHOPPING Stores that sell something more than jewelry give clients even more reason to stop by and linger. Karen Hollis, whose store is now called K Hollis Jewelers, Boutique & Wine Bar, has expanded recently to offer something for everyone as well as a reason to hang out longer than usual. Full-length mirrors encourage building wardrobes that can include jewelry, clothing and accessories.

karen-hollis-boutique

33 OTHERWORLDLY HELPERS “We love to talk about the witch in the back who takes the spell off previously owned jewelry and makes the history vanish,” jokes Susan Eisen of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches in El Paso, TX. At Atelier d’Emotion in New York City, owner Alice Sunbom tells clients that the resident ghost is friendly but will slam the occasional door if she is unhappy with the music selection.

34 PIECE OF HISTORY If your store has a long history or occupies an interesting building, you may have inherited a bit of personality. “My store is connected to a bed-and-breakfast in a circa-1850-year-old Victorian mansion,” says Susan Kauffman of Black Dog Jewelers. At 750 square feet, the Lewisburg, PA, store was originally one of the parlor rooms of the house that was used as a doctor’s office when the house was built. Rasmussen Diamonds celebrates 123 years in business this year as the oldest retail establishment in Racine, WI, and has kept the original circa-1900 carved wood cases, says Katrina Sustachek. “They have been moved twice, and we have refinished them and added custom-made pieces so they have that old-world feel with a modern complement.”

Rasmussen-1900-cases

35 POWDER ROOM Richter & Phillips’ fabulous powder room, done in jewel tones, reflects the speakeasy vibe they brought to their former bank vault, located in the lower level of their downtown store in Cincinnati and now used as an enclave for private meetings.

The powder room at Richter & Phillips in Cincinnati recalls a speak-easy vibe.

The powder room at Richter & Phillips in Cincinnati recalls a speak-easy vibe.

36 PRIVATE LABEL Bernie Robbins Jewelers labels their own Prosecco; Erik Runyan Jewelers in Vancouver, WA, labels their own wine. “It gives me great pleasure to open and share a bottle with a customer or send them home with some to enjoy later,” says Runyan, who has hosted Wine Wednesdays at the store. At Powell’s Jewelry in Wichita, KS, on Champagne Saturday, mimosas and champagne are served in complimentary branded glasses.

BRJ_60th-Anniversary_prosecco-label_mockup

37 QR CODES When QR codes began popping up on most restaurant menus in 2020, Paul Schneider, owner of Twist in Portland and Seattle, had an idea. His daughter had been traveling to visit jewelry designers whose work was sold at Twist to shoot and produce videos designed to capture them in their environments and add context to their work. The videos were featured on the Twist website, and initially the sales team would show the videos on iPads in the store as well. To make it more of an omnichannel experience, Schneider began adding QR codes to the designer case descriptions and letting shoppers know they could view the videos on their own phones if they simply scanned the code.

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38 ROCK VIBE The Man in Black had a red phone. Lately, that piece of musical memorabilia can be found under glass at Presley & Co. Fine Jewelers in San Diego, CA. “We’re the only jewelry store that has Johnny Cash’s red telephone and a signed picture of the Ramones. We use it as part of the rocking vibe that our store is,” says owner Liz Saba, whose experiences were recounted in the book, We Were Going To Change The World: Interviews With Women From The 1970s And 1980s Southern California Punk Rock Scene.

50 Ways Jewelry Retailers Inject Personality Into Their Stores

39 SCENT Using branded scents in retail creates the kind of mood that causes shoppers to browse longer and return to jewelry counters more often, studies have shown. Alice Sundbom, owner of Atelier d’Emotion in New York City, takes many steps beyond simply making sure the place smells good by selling fragrances and hosting exploratory events around new fragrance launches, along with cognac tastings and art openings.

50 Ways Jewelry Retailers Inject Personality Into Their Stores

40 SHOP Malka Diamonds’ shop is encased in a cube inside the showroom space. Strategically placed windows allow for clients to get a glimpse of casting and bench work without unduly distracting the jewelers within.

At Malka Diamonds, the shop within the retail showroom has strategically placed windows.

At Malka Diamonds, the shop within the retail showroom has strategically placed windows.

41 SHOWCASES Raintree owners Shannon Mahoney and Michael Tope restored antique factory carts to use for the bases of their Brazilian wood and glass cases in their Burlington, VT, location. The cases flank the two side walls with the tops swinging open and up, suspended by custom hooks against the walls.

Raintree-custom-cases

42 SIGNAGE Along with your expected signage indicating prices, departments and financing, there may be a little room to show off your sense of humor. Koehn & Koehn Jewelers’ “Surely Not Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting” is the most popular sign at the West Bend, WI, store, sure to elicit a chuckle and put clients at ease.

43 SIGN STYLE The sign heralding Walton’s Jewelry in Franklin, TN, is based on a logo designed in the 1980s that was recently subtly refreshed to make it more versatile for online platforms. The old English look lets passersby know at a glance their jewelry business specializes in antiques.

Walton's-sign

44 SOUND Before you settle on a traditionally staid or formal music mix, consider who is shopping in your store as well as who you’d like to see shopping in your store. At Koehn & Koehn Jewelers in West Bend, WI, the soundtrack ranges from the Rolling Stones and the Beatles to old country, Willie Nelson, and some new country, mixed with Beastie Boys and Foo Fighters. Owners Andy and Jenn Koehn asked customers for input to curate a Spotify musical list, and Andy sits on the board for a group called Home Grown Music, which supports local musicians and songwriters.

45 THANK-YOU NOTES John Cauley Jeweler in Mobile, AL, displays a collection of thank-you cards and notes in a distinctive mix of frames very prominently.

john-cauley-thank-you-note-collection

46 UMBRELLA Julz by Alan Rodriguez in Canton, OH, keeps branded umbrellas on hand near the door. “We have an umbrella stand near our entrance with large umbrellas with our Julz logo and encourage our customers to take one when it’s raining outside,” says owner Alan Rodriguez. “We’ve seen our umbrellas all over town!”

50 Ways Jewelry Retailers Inject Personality Into Their Stores

47 WALL DECOR “Steve,” the elk mount at Miller’s Jewelry, is definitely a conversation starter, says Jennifer Hornik Johnson, and not out of place in Bozeman, MT.

'Steve'-at-Miller's-Jewelry

48 WALLPAPER At Fiat Lux in San Francisco, the colorful trees and animals on the walls appear to be a mural but are in fact expensive wallpaper painted with gold resin drips that start at the top of the wall panels and trickle downward. The idea was to install expensive wallpaper and then ruin it with gold drips in keeping with the business’ reputation for being “a little bit punk rock,” says owner Marie McCarthy.

49 WEBSITE Online marketing at Ellie Thompson + Co. in Chicago is designed to bring people into the store. The jewelry is photographed on live plant displays that are part of the shop’s interior, making it a seamless shopping experience.

50 Ways Jewelry Retailers Inject Personality Into Their Stores

50 WINDOW DISPLAYS At Caron’s Jewelry in Bristol, RI, designer Diane Berube-Catanzaro creates a new window for each season that is illuminated around the clock. “It’s our second-best salesperson,” says owner Joe Caron. “Our window is the only one lit up all the time on the Main Street of our town. We get lots of compliments!”

window displays

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Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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