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7 Jewelers Share Their Fun Approaches to Dressing for the Holiday

In touch with their inner elves, jewelers dress the part for fun and profit.

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This story was originally published in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.

HOLIDAY OUTFITS appeal to some jewelry retailers and appall others, who consider them a slippery slope toward total tackiness.

To Jennifer Farnes of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, dressing up is just not worth the effort: “Too busy to worry about that! Take a shower, wear clean clothes, survive Christmas,” she says. But Nicole Shannon of Keir Fine Jewelry in Whistler, British Columbia, says wearing tacky Christmas sweaters from a shop next door actually saves time, since staff members can grab sweaters from a communal bin on the run, rather than worry about their wardrobes.

Others swear by a show-off-the-jewels approach. “I encourage my staff to wear our jewelry during the holiday season,” says Marc Majors of Samuel L. Majors Fifth Generation Jewelers in Midland, TX. “It’s much more personal when it’s on someone and not a prop, and 99 percent of the time it closes the sale.”

Read on for a range of wardrobe ideas intended to break the ice with customers and bolster staff morale.


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Let the Tipsy Elves Break the Ice
Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers, Billings, MT

Edgy holiday-themed suits purchased from a company called Tipsy Elves make a statement on December Saturdays at Scott and Kelly Wickam’s store. “It actually made for a great selling day last year,” Scott,  at left, says. “It showed that we are not just stuffy jewelers trying to sell you something. We love what we do and we have fun doing it.” The suits cost $80 to $100 each. “For the money, they fit nice and look great,” he says.


The Tie Guy
Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI

For John Hayes of Goodman’s Jewelers in Madison, WI, it’s all about the ties. “I have a collection of holiday ties and wear a different one each day from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1. I always start with Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin.” He has 38 and counting, although some have fallen apart after 25 years of collecting.


The Sweater Fest
Miller’s Jewelry, Bozeman, MT

Jennifer Hornik Johnson says the whole staff at Miller’s participates in the annual Ugly Sweater Party in December. The store offers a 10 percent discount to any customers brave enough to wear their own ugly items to the event.


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Don’t Be Afraid to Live in the Past
Cornerstone Jewelry & Engraving, Palos Park, IL

At Cornerstone Jewelry & Engraving, owner Bryan Blaha and team believe “Old Jewelers Have Old Souls.” To enhance their theme, they ramp up their sartorial savvy for the holiday season with bow ties, vests, hairstyles and facial hair that evoke the early 20th century. “We tend to dress to the ‘9s,” says manager Ryan C. Karp. “Like the 1909s.” It leaves a lasting impression on clients, together with incense, old-school holiday music, classic decor and demonstrations.


Make a Statement With the LBD
K Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL

Black is never basic at K Hollis Jewelers, where Karen Hollis, center, and her staff feel confident wearing their little black dresses for holiday events. “It shows a level of class that makes my staff get noticed,” Hollis says. “Jewelry really stands out on black, and it’s fun to wear a bigger diamond or more expensive items for holiday parties.”


Family Morphs Into Elves!
Perry’s Emporium, Wilmington, NC

“I made my sons dress up in elf outfits for an after-Christmas ad on TV,” says owner Alan Perry. In the commercial, Perry says he’s leaving the store till next year. His sons say, “We’ll show him! Come in now and get up to 50 percent off until Jan. 15!” Perry admits he had to pay his sons to be elves, though.


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If You Are the Designated Elf, Be a Good Sport
Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA

Owner Andrea Riso isn’t above dressing up. “I look like a super giant idiot as an elf, but I’m a good sport about it because it makes sales spike and it’s fun.” Sales associate Becca Souders, pictured, picked up the elf outfits at Fredericks of Hollywood. “It worked, sales and morale-wise,” Riso says.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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Gene the Jeweler

It Was Hawaii Day at Gene the Jeweler’s Store … Or Was It?

In this episode of Jimmy DeGroot’s satirical Gene the Jeweler series, Gene learns that it was Hawaii Day at his store. At least that’s what his employee, Jeremy, says. But Jeremy’s answers aren’t quite adding up. It’s hard to say what this “Hawaii Day” was really all about.

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These Jewelry Stores Extend The Design Concept Into The Restroom

When designing your store, give the loo some love.

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IN TERMS OF interior design, the oft-ignored restroom should be an integral part of the whole jewelry store, says interior designer Leslie McGwire. “A stylish, well-decorated bathroom can make a big statement to clients and employees,” she says. So, resist the urge to think out of sight, out of mind, and pamper your powder room.

A Grand Design

At Tanmai in Irving, TX, owned by Sanjay and Sapna Singhania, the store’s elegant theme extends seamlessly into the restroom with gold and bronze finishes, interesting wallpaper, wall-sconce lighting fixtures, sleek fixtures and patterned-tile flooring. They were inspired, in part, by architecture and design in Las Vegas.

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Inspiration From Above

Wanna Buy a Watch in West Hollywood, CA, designed by interior designer June Robinson Scott, carries its offbeat quirkiness into its restroom with red walls, framed prints, and a chandelier, creating a romantic, vintage effect. Says owner Ken Jacobs: “We went all out with a bright red, boudoir-style bathroom, inspired by a crystal chandelier left by the prior tenant that we had intended to discard.”

Attention to Detail

The $1.3 million renovation of Northeastern Fine Jewelry in Albany, NY, implemented by Michael Roman of C2 Design Group in 2017, did not neglect any detail of the retail experience. “Our store has a bathroom that can only be described as the Wynn Hotel in Albany, NY,” says Northeastern VP Gregg Kelly, who came up with the concept for the building project based on extensive research into experiential design. “The finishes throughout the store were selected to present a sleek and timeless look,” Roman says. “The upscale aesthetic extends into the restroom with high-end finishes and cool lighting.”

Right at Home

The comfortable, residential feel of Fakier Jewelers in Houma, LA, continues into the restroom where windows are dressed with plantation shutters and floor-to-ceiling draperies. There are also sophisticated, furniture-style fixtures and fun, fluffy seating. Owner Manon Fakier designed the store, which opened in 2017, with the help of the French Mix by Jennifer Dicerbo Interiors in Covington, LA.

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At Clarkes Jewelers in Shreveport, LA, colorful walls and flattering lighting brighten shoppers’ experience.

At Coughlin Jewelers in St. Clair, MI, attention to detail pays off, with art on the walls, patterned tiles and even a plant. Consider adding a live plant to the restroom, suggests interior designer Ruth Mellergaard of Grid 3 International, because it emits oxygen and is a natural air freshener.

The Jewelry Design Center in Spokane, WA, uses a bold sink, interesting textures, a decorative mirror, and the drama of wall sconce lighting to make a design statement.

At John Atencio’s Boulder, CO, location, the sleek interior design complements the rest of the store’s interior and reflects the jewelry designer’s modern aesthetic.

At Kelley Jewelers in Weatherford, OK, designer Leslie McGwire of Leslie McGwire & Associates chose a white brick that went from floor to ceiling on the wall behind the sink and toilet. The sidewalls are a large-scaled tile also going from the floor up to the ceiling. An added detail is the 1-inch by 4-inch glass tiles that create a stripe down the walls. The gold bar lights match the gold faucet. The square sink with the durable high-end counter is a nice detail for the design. The highly patterned porcelain adds an extra design splash to the bathroom.

At Sather’s Leading Jewelers in Fort Collins, CO, a gold mirror, colorful artwork and an interesting backsplash design creates an elegant atmosphere, while two sinks turn it into a family affair.

The Diamond Center in Janesville, WI, designed by Leslie McGwire, has elements of black, gray and white tones with a very contemporary feel. The bathroom is no different. The very large porcelain tiles on the floor wrap up the walls to about 42 inches high. The streamlined black granite counter with a contemporary faucet beautifully complements the brushed silver horizontal mirror. The artwork on the walls is fashioned from metal straps to add to the contemporary design feel.

Mens overall bathroom view 

Womens bathroom

The bathrooms at Williams Jewelers in Englewood, CO are very unique. For the women’s bathroom designer Leslie McGwire used a white porcelain tile that had a 1-carat Swarovski diamond-shaped crystals in the tile, making the entire wall sparkle. The flush-mounted crystal light fixture and the sconces on either side of the mirror all work together to create a “wow” effect. The men’s room design, in contrast, is very masculine. The porcelain wood floor goes up to half of the wall with a decorative tile
boarder. The tone of the highly textured large mirror complements the color palette in the room. The scones coordinate with the overall design.

YLANG YLANG in St. Louis employs a chandelier and gold fixtures to add elegance and glamour, while the flooring adds a modern touch.

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Stores Create Displays That Are Made To Be Touched

Make some merchandise accessible.

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IN MOST JEWELRY STORES, there’s not much that shoppers can touch without asking. But these jewelers allow customers the freedom to hold and try on pieces to their heart’s content.

Mixed Media

At Balefire Goods in Arvada, CO, owner Jamie Hollier uses blocks of wood atop a glass shelf to create an intriguing textural contrast while providing a simple, organic base for sculptural, artisan-made jewelry. Wood, metal and concrete furniture and fixtures soften an industrial aesthetic, while creating a neutral backdrop where jewelry and art become the focus.

An Heirloom Look

At H1912 in Princeton, NJ, an offspring of Hamilton Jewelers, watch bands are cleverly displayed in a vintage printers tray (discovered at a garage sale) and on bulletin boards. Rustic displays and period furniture reflect the store’s focus on heirloom jewelry and one-of-a-kind finds. “We recently started putting additional accessories up on bulletin boards in our store, but we only feature very few straps on the board because it’s important clients can touch and feel the different materials of the watch straps and be able to hold them against their watches on their wrist,” says store director Lea D’Onofrio.

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A Study in Contrasts

Lindy’s in Fernandina Beach, FL, embraces an eclectic decor in which it seems perfectly natural to hang long, beaded necklaces from deer antlers mounted on an exposed brick wall. The quirky wall display co-exists with elegant elements, including a large mirror propped against a wall and a chandelier. “It’s difficult to display long necklaces (that are so popular right now) in the showcases,” says owner Lindy Kavanaugh. “Our dress forms are another favorite for displaying long necklaces, and we love using the mineral specimens and cool gemstone-related pieces we find in Tucson as it seems to bring it all together with a fancy, but earthy vibe. Kind of like wearing pearls with a sweatshirt!”

Front and Center

At Adornment & Theory in Chicago, an accessories table in the center of the store draws shoppers to try on bracelets and pendants, while staff is prepared to fill them in on the story behind each piece. “People are looking for a personal touch,” says owner Viviana Langhoff. “They want to know if it’s handmade, they want to know about the designer, the story, the fair-trade component, where the stones are coming from. They like knowing the details.”

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6 Websites Setting a High Bar for Jewelry Retail

Personalize your website to drive more sales.

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TODAY, THE CONSUMER experience starts online. Make your customers feel welcome in your virtual store, and they are likely to show up on your threshold, too.

“Websites are the cornerstone of any small business,” says Shane O’Neill, VP at Fruchtman Marketing. “It must be designed as a sales tool and method of communication.” Showing photos of merchandise with prices is a good start. E-commerce is the next step. And communication can be had in real time with a live-chat feature. Even social media strategies should reflect back to the website.

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What makes a solid website goes beyond the technical bells and whistles to reflect the personality of your store and the customer experience that can be found there. Include attractive photos of the store itself, so that viewers know what to expect – in terms of atmosphere and interior decor, when they do cross your threshold.

Julie Gotz, chief marketing officer for Freshley Digital, works with her team to custom design clients’ websites. While they are all clean, upscale designs that are easily searchable and can accommodate e-commerce, each has its own personality; the team doesn’t use one-size-fits-all templates. Her job, she says, is to do a deep dive into what the client likes and doesn’t like, what their aesthetic is, what their competitors are doing, and then producing a website design that will help them gain market dominance.

If you’re making the leap to e-commerce, remember that the point of much of that effort is to drive those sales into your store, too. “When I think of e-commerce,” says O’Neil, “I think of it as not just online sales; I think of it as sales.” Most retailers are marketing and targeting local shoppers, and so it makes sense that if you’re selling big-ticket items, they will still come to your store after shopping your store online. “Even with items that are $500 or $600, if you’re right down the street, they may still want to come in and look at it. Foot traffic is down, yes, but sales may not suffer if you have a high quality website and a great digital presence.”
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Alchemy
alchemyjeweler.net

Alchemy Jewelers of Portland, OR, introduced its new website with shopify e-commerce features in July 2018. “It’s updated, clean and romantic, and it incorporates the rich colors of the store’s interior, so people coming to the website know they’re in the right spot,” says marketing director Megan Walsh. Photographing fine jewelry and reflective diamonds was a learning experience, she says, but having the right equipment — a professional grade lightbox and a Nikon DSLR camera — helps. Walsh also blogs and updates product offerings and event information.

 

Belle Brooke
bellebrooke.net

Although Santa Fe, NM, gallery owner Belle Brooke Barer believes strongly in the power of brick and mortar commerce, bellebrooke.net still makes a statement about the business by deploying eye-catching model photography to emulate the experience of walking into the distinctive Santa Fe boutique. Jewelry pieces are shown with prices and a selection of the core collection is available for online purchase. Each page displays information emphasizing the artist’s priorities.

 

Jack Lewis Jewelers
jacklewisjewelers.com

Jack Lewis Jewelers of Bloomington, IN, does an excellent job of personalizing the online shopping experience by featuring quality photos of each staff member, and, in particular, introducing their “superstar” custom jeweler, Jim Leeds, who can create the ring of the client’s dreams. Rather than announcing, “We do custom design,” this innovative introduction begins to create a relationship between the customer and the jeweler.
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Croghan’s Jewel Box
croghansjewelbox.com

The elegant look of this Charleston, SC store is reflected in its easy-to-navigate website. You can instantly buy (or gape at) a 1950s sapphire, diamond and gold bracelet for $14,950, or pick up a $65 pair of gold-plated “goldbug” earrings designed to look like Palmetto bugs. About half of customers live out of town. Standard shipping is free when shoppers spend $100 or more.

 

Walters and Hogsett
waltersandhogsett.com

Walters and Hogsett’s website raises the bar in function by cross-marketing relevant content on other pages. For example, the jewelry and watch repair page refer back to the new watches page and also to the custom jewelry design page. So if a customer is considering repairing a piece of jewelry, they might instead consider repurposing it into something new. Doing this throughout a site keeps people engaged and on the site longer, says Shane O’Neill of Fruchtman Marketing. The business also provides clear opt-ins for their email newsletter, and uses sitewide banners for trunk shows or other events. They link to Instagram shopping options and have a loose diamond search tool.

 

Williams Jewelers of Englewood
Williamsdiamonds.com

Freshley Digital custom designed the website for Williams Jewelers of Englewood, CO, integrating Edge POS with the website and making it fully e-commerce enabled. “Every market is different; every client is completely different,” says Julie Gotz of Freshley Digital. Freshley Digital simplified the user experience while retaining the brand history of the store, one of the priorities of the Williams family. “It’s all about having a very clean, very upscale design that reflects the store. We only have a few minutes to grab their attention and lead them to the next step,” Gotz says.

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