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[dropcap cap=B]ob Disinger, owner of Disinger Jewelers in Jasper, IN, wanted to expand his custom-design capability, but felt he didn’t have the time to learn a complicated CAD program. He also wanted to get his staff of 15 excited about the future of the jewelry business. — EILEEN McCLELLAND[/dropcap]

[componentheading]THE IDEA [/componentheading]

[contentheading]New Software [/contentheading]

When Disinger, who had no previous CAD experience, learned about Stuller’s customer-friendly CounterSketch Studio software, introduced to retailers late in 2009, he thought it was ideal for him. “It’s perfect for the independent jeweler who wants to get into CAD but doesn’t want to start with a totally blank screen and build the product,” Disinger says. “It gives you a model to start with and to modify.” He also thought it would be great for customers who have trouble envisioning a design from a sketch on a piece of paper. “I jumped aboard,” Disinger says.

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[componentheading]THE EXECUTION [/componentheading]

[h3]Two Studios[/h3]

Disinger went all out on implementing CounterSketch, launching an ad campaign, and setting up two custom-built design studios on the showroom floor. “They look all high-tech and create the picture that we are with-it, so we appear more high-tech to the tech-savvy customer,” Disinger says. The sales staff operates CounterSketch with the customer’s input and direction. When the design is complete, he can — with a simple keystroke — send it to Stuller for casting. His total investment was $13,000, which included the design studios and the largest possible computer monitors.

[componentheading]THE REWARD [/componentheading]

[contentheading]Future View[/contentheading]

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“This created excitement from both my staff and the customers,” Disinger says. “In the jewelry industry, you have to be careful you don’t get into a rut. This offers a refreshing view of the future.” The vivid, detailed renderings make it easy for the customer to understand what the finished piece will look like. Disinger is able to print out photos for the customer and e-mail them to her friends as well. How easy is it to learn? “We had a ladies night recently and 15 minutes before the door opened, I had shown my 16-year-old son how to use it, and he was designing and modifying rings all evening,” Disinger notes.

[componentheading]DO IT YOURSELF[/componentheading]

• “Make a full commitment and set aside the appropriate space,” Disinger says. “You want to show it off. It needs to be out on the showroom, but in an area with some privacy so customers feel comfortable.”

• Invest in the full training program for as many employees as possible. “I brought along four employees. I probably didn’t need to, but I wanted them to totally buy into this venture.”

• Let everyone know you have the software and what it can do.

• Consider the timing. “Christmas was all about grab-it-and-go gifts. But now (in January) I see customers more interested in wanting to sit down, spend time, and create an heirloom,” Disinger says.

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[span class=note]This story is from the May 2010 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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