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Try These Different Approaches to Serving Bridal Customers

From interactive displays to traditional boutiques, these stores show the range of ways to serve the bridal customer.

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Why should you create a special bridal area in your store? For one thing, it can help focus the attention of engagement-ring shoppers who may feel adrift in an unfamiliar jewelry store. It’s a good place to put them at ease, with comfortable seating, as you begin your education and presentation process. While large stores specializing in bridal may have space for elaborate enclaves with case after case of settings and stones, smaller stores, too, can create a special niche or corner, too. For Ellen Hertz of Max’s in St. Louis Park, MN, all it took was one designated corner case to create a bridal presence. “It’s a great “landing” place for the customer in terms of beginning the process of looking at rings,” she says. “It’s much easier to show them a variety of the styles we represent while standing at one case rather than having to move them from case to case. Of course, we often do move once we’ve looked at different things and begun to identity their style.” Some stores offer prototype displays, too, so that if a bride-to-be is browsing, she can easily and quickly try on sample rings. It’s smart, too, to include a design center nearby, if you offer custom options. As these examples illustrate, it’s possible to create a bridal-center concept to fit the style and personality of any jewelry store.


A-Bryan’s Jewelers

Lafayette, LA

Owners Bryan and Angie Spallino created an 800-square-foot engagement studio, where ring shoppers are greeted with coffee or wine. In the private, glass-walled diamond room, shoppers are seated beneath a black and white photo of the Spallinos leaving their wedding reception nearly 30 years ago. Bryan has a passion for cypress woodwork that gives the store a handcrafted feel, and he designed a chandelier-like wooden art piece that hangs in the engagement studio.


Brinker’s Jewelers

Evansville, IN

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Brinker’s appeals to a wide range of shoppers in its 13,000-square foot space that includes a jewelry store, a home decor store, and a cafe. The third-generation family store, owned by brothers Dean and Dirk Brinker, calls attention to its bridal offering with elegant cases, exquisite in-case lighting, and Duratrans signs pointing to its bridal brands.


Jack Lewis Jewelers

Bloomington, IL

Owner John Carter trademarked the term ,“Wedding Ring Playground.” During a 2011 remodeling project, Carter installed a custom-made, bar-height table to display bridal sample lines from many of the store’s favorite designers. The freestanding island, with a case of rings out in the open and an iPad attached to the table, encourages couples to try on rings. Brides-to-be can spend hours trying on more than 275 different ring styles and sharing photos of themselves with friends and family. It makes sense, since the majority of modern brides are involved in the engagement-ring purchase. When everything’s behind glass, Carter says, customers may be hesitant to try on as many styles as they’d like to.


Max’s

St. Louis Park, MN

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Owner Ellen Hertz gave it a good deal of thought before grouping bridal rings in one case. Because Max’s is focused on representing individual designers, Hertz wondered whether it made sense to pull some of an artist’s work away from the rest of their collection. She also had doubts about including non-traditional rings in the case — such as stacking rings — that would be considered a non-bridal selection for some customers. But it’s worked out well. “I finally decided we should try it and it’s been really, really helpful and important in sending the message to customers (especially those in the store for the first time) that we are serious about bridal,” Hertz says.


Crocker’s Fine Jewelry

Texarkana, TX

Crocker’s bridal center features 65 linear feet of engagement-ring cases arranged in a large circle, creating the feeling of a store within a store. The back walls are lined with 40 linear feet of prototypes. In the center of the bridal area is the custom design center, and in the back are two private showrooms with crystal chandeliers and shimmering wall coverings made of diamond dust, for VIP clients. “The whole room just glows,” owner Shane Woodruff says.


Day’s Jewelers

Topsham, ME

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Day’s Jewelers, owned by Jeff, Kathy and Jim Corey, added new technology to its newest location, which opened this year. Brand signage and all visual graphics in the 2,800-square-foot showroom are achieved using a product called Visual Magnetics, in which thin, high-resolution graphics roll over the wall and adhere to magnetic paint. Sepcial lighting illuminates the wall images, and the entire store is fitted with high-efficiency LED lighting.


Bailey’s Fine Jewelry

Raleigh, NC

At Bailey’s, the largest jewelry store in North Carolina, the bridal boutique — with 60 linear feet of case space — was designed to feel grand both in scale and decor. Anchoring the boutique is the accredited gem lab and the only Tacori boutique in the state. There’s also a design center staffed with craftsmen and designers to create one-of-a-kind rings for discriminating Bailey brides. The bridal presence at Bailey’s is bolstered by a full-service bridal registry.

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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Benchmarks

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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Photo Credit: Brent Cicogna

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.

Paint Steals the Show

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

Eye-Catching Tile

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.

Stunner of A Sink

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.

Sleek and Seamless

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.

Upgrades All Around

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.

Residential Touches

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.

Simply Streamlined

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

His and Hers

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.

Understated Elegance

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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Benchmarks

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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Benchmarks

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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