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A “Eureka” Moment … and More Reader Letters for September

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I WOULD LIKE to tell you about my “eureka” moment. A young man came in looking for an engagement ring. At the time, I had about 400 engagement/wedding rings in-house. After 20 minutes, he looked at me and said, “Is this all you have?” I realized that we can no longer survive on selection alone. This guy is used to sitting in his pajamas and looking at thousands of styles online. I have come to embrace the online shoppers. Someone needs to help service their purchases. I am making more money on service work than I ever have. When I sell an engagement ring, I clean, check and polish it for free. I will also rebuild their prongs once and size it up or down whenever at no charge. Not so with products purchased elsewhere. I have been in this business for 45 years, and in the past four or five years, it has changed more dramatically than in the 40 previous years. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co., Kalispell, MT

Kudos to the Coolest

The coolest stores are sublime. We really need to step up our game. Thank you for a beautiful roundup of extraordinary and interesting choices. Sad we did not make the cut but happy for the winners. — Andrea Riso, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA

“Coolest” does not mean elegant, distinct. It seems to me that the decor making things “cool” pulls away from jewelry itself, which should be the focus of any store. Simple elegance with a touch of conservatism provides an aesthetic experience to our clients. — Mark Rozanski, Goldart Jewellery Studio, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Congrats to the winners and I’m determined to win that! — Brian McCall, Midwest Jewelers & Estate Buyers, Zionsville, IN

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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Working With Family, Expectations For 2020, and More of Your Letters

One store owner says working with family almost blew up two relationships.

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On “All in the Family”

  • My brother Steve and I are second generation, our four children are third generation, there are eight of us here at Lou’s Jewelry — all family — and we all actually like each other. People ask if we spend holidays together. We say no we don’t, but we spend every other day of the year together! Does that count? Haha! — Tim Sherrer, Lou’s Jewelry, Mobile, AL
  • Family business can be very sticky. I’ve had two brothers-in-law leave the business and almost quit the family because of personal differences at work. — Nate Smith, T Lee Custom Designer Jewelry, Minneapolis, MN
  • I work with my daughter. She sold her first ring at the age of 9. It is wonderful and challenging both. She knows the business inside and out. Loves the colored gems and has done CAD design. When I come on the scene, she has said exactly the same things I will point out. — Kas Jacquot, Kas A Designs, Jefferson City, MO
  • This was our best holiday selling season yet — so good, in fact, that this husband-and-wife team did not have a spare moment to read the December story on families who work together! Definitely looking forward to catching up on our required reading! — Zechariah Chambers, Chambers Jewelers, Ford City, PA

First Happy December

  • We closed our brick and mortar business after three generations and 100 years in September. Did a bit of business still via email and some appointments. Enjoyed December for the first time in 42 years. Now I know what all of those people on the train were smiling about on their way home from office parties. We had a good run, but are so happy to be done with the 8 to 5, six day a week thing. — Eric Ohanian, Leon Ohanian & Sons, Boston, MA

Climate Concerns

  • 2020 should have climate change at the forefront. I think it would be wise for our industry to do an analysis of the effect that lab-grown diamonds have on our environment versus mined diamonds. Are we doing better, environmentally, as an industry? — Mark Kasuba, M. Edward Jewelers, Pittsfield, MA

Thanks, No Pressure

  • The magazine is doing a wonderful job and has managed to become the leading industry magazine of our times. That said, it creates a bit more pressure on the visionaries of this achievement because as the old adage says, “It’s difficult to reach the top — but even more difficult to stay there without slipping.” Actually I just made that up, but you know what I mean 🙂 — Peter Stavrianidis, Venus Jewelers, Somerset, NJ
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Webinar Love, Holiday Cheer and More of Your Letters to the Editor

Jewelers seem cautiously optimistic for holiday sales.

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Holiday Cheer

We are excited about the holidays. Positive thoughts bring progress and change. It is only natural to grow. If you are not, find out what is causing you not to. — Bill Jones, Sissy’s Log Cabin, Pine Bluff, AR

Webinar Love

I wanted to drop a quick note to share how much I enjoyed the webinar, “How to Get Your Millennial Prospects to Buy (Again and Again).” Kathleen Cutler did a great job boiling things down to basics that made sense and are actionable by your average retailer. Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to INSTORE for helping to nurture and guide the industry to capture more of our fair share of consumers’ disposable income. We will never build back this industry to the good ol’ days until we band together and worry not what our fellow jeweler is doing, but how we work together as an industry to attract buyers to the category.  — Kim E. Pelletier, IGC Brand Services, Chicago

Feeling Grateful

We’re hoping and expecting a wonderful Christmas. We are stocked to the gills. I am also very grateful for Jewelers Helping Jewelers on Facebook and the jewelers who are willing to help one another. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL

Cautious Optimism

I’d love to see a correction in the way consumers are buying right now. If we can end this year with traffic up, sales up and customers returning to some kind of normal buying habit, then I will feel great about going into 2020. I’m cautiously optimistic and think that buyers will come around this year because they’re tired of shopping online and want a personal experience. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

Women Lead the Way

Women jewelry designers are the wave of the future. They are bringing a fresh, unique and clean aesthetic to the world of jewelry. — Elizabeth Saba, Presley Co. Fine Jewelers, San Diego, CA

(We agree, Elizabeth. Keep an eye out for our “Future Is Female” issue in February. — Ed.).

Diamond Confusion

We expect further cuts to mined diamond prices. What’s tough to figure out is if that is an opportunity or a time to unload … challenging indeed. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

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Holiday Readiness, Lab-Grown Pricing and More of Your Letters

One reader says dealers need to chill out.

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Are You Ready For The Holidays?

  • Been ready. Need to salvage the year. Too much good merch sitting around. Need to close everybody. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • Hoping for a real Christmas. The past years have been way more independent purchasing, with less intense holiday shopping. — Kelli Reinbold, Vernon Jewelers, Salina, KS
  • More than ever, we must be mindful of overbuying. It’s a very good idea to work out special memos with existing vendors, or at least very liberal stock balancing not necessarily tied to additional purchases. Small brick-and-mortar stores that pay their bills are in demand! — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • 52nd Christmas in the trade. If I’m not ready now, I never will be. — Ira Kramer, The Diamond Exchange Of Maryland, Rockville, MD
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Time for an Adjustment

  • Can’t wait for lab-grown diamond prices to fall down to lab ruby, sapphire and emerald prices so we can stop the charade of having to explain the difference to consumers and why they are paying so much for a lab-grown diamond now. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY

Politics Shmolitics

  • Stop obsessing over politics and focus on our businesses. We can’t use the political climate as excuses for our shortcomings. In any time, some stores are thriving and others are dying. We control our own destinies. — Robert Mullen, Mullen Bros. Jewelers, Swanswa, MA

Break from the Norm

  • I always look forward to each month’s magazine. It’s a nice break from the store and news. Thanks, INSTORE! Tommy Thobe, The Village Gem, Perry Hall, MD
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