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Best of the Best: “Chic at the Shore”

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Best of the Best Logo[dropcap cap=H]arvey and Maddy Rovinsky, owners of Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelers, travel the world to find diamonds, jewelry and watches. During their spring trip to Baselworld, they will be trendspotting, looking for the next hot thing to showcase in their stores for the summer, a season that doesn’t mean a slowdown at the shore. “We have two seasons,” says Robbins, who has seven locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. “December is the biggest but June, July and August are also very strong.” Most summer clients are Philadelphia residents who have second homes at the shore. “That’s who we target, residents, not tourists,” Rovinsky says. “They are here all summer and we try to entertain them.” — EILEEN McCLELLAND[/dropcap]

[componentheading]THE IDEA [/componentheading]
[contentheading]Shore Things[/contentheading]

Every year, Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelers’ staff teams up with PR agency Cashman & Associates to create a theme for a series of summer events at the Somers Point, NJ, store. In 2010 it was Chic at the Shore. Events were planned for every weekend in July and August and included trunk shows with designers Heather B. Moore (“It’s a Charmed Life at the Shore”), Ippolita (“Wonderland Pier”), Penny Preville (“Summer Love”) and Gurhan (“Gilded Treasures.”)

[componentheading]THE EXECUTION [/componentheading]
[contentheading]Building Partners  [/contentheading]

Each event was tied to a jewelry collection, whether or not the designer was present. During the “Dog Days of Summer” event, store dog Jelly

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Bean celebrated her second birthday. Customers were invited to bring their dogs, too, to “Pose for the Pup-parazzi” and receive treats from a local partner business. Featured jewelry was the “My Dog” collection from Rosato. Giveaways were a part of each event. A program booklet for the entire summer titled “Bernie Robbins Presents Chic at the Shore, Summer Celebration 2010,” was sent to more than 30,000 people. Rovinsky also does a significant amount of radio advertising supplemented by TV, newspapers and billboard ads. Whenever the company brings in a designer, Bernie Robbins partners with a charity and a local host to plan a Dinner With a Designer. The company sends out several hundred invitations, hoping for a total of 30 to 60 guests for each dinner, targeting clients based on buying history or affinity for the designer’s style. The focus is on selling, so there is no music or entertainment. A portion of the proceeds benefits the charity partner (like SPCA).

[componentheading]THE REWARD [/componentheading]
[contentheading]Slow Season Sales[/contentheading]

At least 100 to 150 people stop by in the course of a special-event weekend. “It brings incremental new business every weekend that we really would never have had before,” Rovinsky says. The events establish Bernie Robbins as a destination and part of a client’s summer schedule. Many clients post the program on their refrigerators to help them plan their weekends. “Nobody needs jewelry,” Rovinsky says. “We have to make it so they have a good time wearing it and buying it. People have to walk out feeling better than when they walked in.”

[componentheading]DO IT YOURSELF[/componentheading]

PLAN EARLY: Begin planning by Valentine’s Day for summer events.

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EXPERIMENT: “We’re always reinventing it because we have to be ahead of the curve,” Rovinsky says.

STICK WITH THE THEME: For A-Link’s Russian diamonds event, caviar and vodka were served.

STAFF IT: Bernie Robbins has a PR agency on retainer that works with the store’s marketing coordinator. For each dinner with a designer, staff from the Somers Point store attends along with sales staff from other stores who have clients coming.

WORK WITH DESIGNERS: If you bring in a designer for a trunk show, consider setting up a smaller dinner (and buying) event with your best customers.

[span class=note]This story is from the January 2011 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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