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Eileen McClelland

8 Things We Learned from America’s Coolest Stores Winners in 2022

Winning jewelry retailers share diverse success strategies that work for them.



Commit to Advertising

Jennifer Farnes, owner of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, attributes her company’s rapid growth, in part, to committing 15 percent of gross income to paid advertising to convey the message, “Come in and get a feel for what handmade fine jewelry really is,” she says. “A lot of people come in because they have heard our message enough that it piques their curiosity.”

Northern Light Is the Best

It’s ideal, says Jay Colombo, a partner at Michael Hsu Office of Architecture in Houston, who designed the Zadok family’s new store in Houston to optimize natural light. “It’s never direct and there’s a lot of consistency and evenness to it.”

Buy If You Can

When Wendy Woldenberg found a space in Seattle for her jewelry store and studio, WEND, she was eager to buy rather than rent it. As a first-time, career-changing business owner, she didn’t want to be kicked out or have the rent jacked up, and because the property hadn’t yet hit Seattle’s red-hot marketplace, she got a good deal.


Consider a Billboard Blitz

Julz by Alan Rodriguez has five billboards that rotate through the Canton, OH, metro market every three months. “Customers say they see our billboards everywhere,” owner Alan Rodriguez says.

Just Be Yourself

That’s Andy and Jenn Koehns’ philosophy when it comes to marketing, and just about everything else that happens in their West Bend, WI, store. “Our voice is ours, and we own it. We tried marketing firms. Not for us. They don’t work here, so they can’t know what it’s really like. It’s why we hired a full-time social media person. She works right alongside us and knows the drill. That comes through in our marketing messages.”

Room to Thrive

Chae Carter, owner of Carter’s Jewelry of Petal in Petal, MS, starts every new employee in sales and then, after a few months, ensures they land where they seem to be shining. “I like for everyone to run their own positions, so they get to really do whatever they want and create their own way once they’ve really learned the ropes,” she says. “We have a lot of freedom at the company so the team members that are self-motivated and have real drive really thrive!”

Have Something for Everyone

Katie Diamond, owner of Katie Diamond Jewelry in Ridgewood, NJ, supplements her jewelry inventory with products in other categories, such as gift and apothecary, which gives her store a bigger personality and a deeper experience. Curation is based on her own love of the products and a desire to create the kind of store she’d like to shop in. It’s also driven by a desire to banish the intimidation factor that comes along with more expensive inventory. “I never wanted anyone to feel pressure to buy in my store. I want them to feel as great buying something that’s $18 as buying something that’s $1,800,” she says.


Elevate the Online Experience

Offering e-commerce online across multiple selling platforms has allowed the Brown family, owners of Once Upon a Diamond in Shreveport, LA, to reach audiences all over the world with their inventory, which is focused on one of a kind pieces. A two-week return policy and free overnight same-day shipping are standard, unless there needs to be an alteration to the piece. They also giftwrap each piece and include a handwritten thank you card sealed with a real wax stamped seal. “We try to bring the store to them,” says Jordan Brown, who owns the store with his father, Steve, and brother, Nicholas. “We can sell pieces across the world and not just wait and hope someone from this area buys it. Because the pieces we like are the really unusual ones.”



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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