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Best of the Best: Diamond Dogs

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IF YOUR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW suggested dressing up dogs with $100,000 of your inventory, would you leap at the chance? When Jennifer Miller, director of marketing for MJ Christensen Diamond Centers of Las Vegas, pitched the idea of a dog fashion show to her father-in-law, store owner Cliff Miller, he didn’t roll his eyes. “I thought it would be cool to have the energy that animals and their owners could bring,” Cliff says. “We are always seeking ways to minimize the ‘threshold resistance’ of our stores and look for ways to introduce ourselves to new segments within our community.” By trying an offbeat idea and enlisting community sponsors and partners, MJ Christensen raised $3,000 for the rescue group FUPI (Foreclosed Upon Pets) and in the process garnered goodwill and publicity galore. — EILEEN McCLELLAND

[componentheading]THE IDEA [/componentheading]
[contentheading]Bling Bullies[/contentheading]

MJ’s Bling and Bullies Fashion Show featured “bully breed” dog models sent down the runway in custom couture, and dripping with MJ Christensen diamonds
in the spacious Henderson, NV, store. “I met with our Luxury Magazine rep, who had seen the first bulldog fashion show at a restaurant — without jewelry,”
Jennifer says. “We decided to ramp it up. I am a dog lover, so this came very naturally to me.”

[componentheading]THE EXECUTION [/componentheading]
[contentheading]Top Dogs[/contentheading]

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[li] Aspiring canine models attended a casting call and audition for the gig. The top dogs from among the finalists were chosen by a Facebook vote.[/li]

[li] The dogs were outfitted by Bo & DeeMo, a canine couture house, and wore more than $100,000 worth of Christensen’s gems. “I think there was more concern about accidents on the red carpet than dogs running out the front door decked in MJ diamonds!” Jennifer says. “But there were 13 dogs and no accidents”[/li]

[li] Carbon Copy, a French bull dog, danced down the red carpet on his hind legs, while wearing a Night Rider cross embellished with 3 carats of diamonds.[/li]

{gallery}diamond_dogs:200:260:1:0{/gallery}[li] Handler Rosy Calvin modeled a dog collar while her pygmy pug Olivia wore a Tycoon pendant and a Hearts On Fire opera length “Audacious” diamond necklace, valued at over $75,000. But overall, the handlers wore more expensive pieces; the total retail value of the jewelry on display was $1.7 million.[/li]

[li] Handlers were outfitted by Dress Barn.[/li]

[li] Among raffle prizes were a Bo & DeeMo dog-couture basket (one for boy dogs; one for girl dogs) and a diamond pendant from MJ Christensen.[/li]

[li] The audience dined on mini hot dogs and Cupkates by Kate – Las Vegas. The canine models all received diamond-studded Bo & DeeMo dog tags. Luxury
Magazine
was the print sponsor and Pet’ographique the official photographer.[/li]

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[componentheading]THE RESULT [/componentheading]
[contentheading]Goodwill[/contentheading]

At least 150 people came, Fox showed it on the 10 o’clock news and $3,000 was raised for dog rescue, a cause dear to many customers’ hearts.

[componentheading]DO IT YOURSELF[/componentheading]

[li]”DON’T BE AFRAID to try something you never thought possible. Find something you are truly passionate about and then share it with your community. Anything done with heart-driven passion is bound to be successful.”[/li]

[li]”AS FOR INVITING multiple dogs in store, be sure you have a great trainer in charge. Our dogs attended several practice sessions and were handled by professionals.”[/li]

[li]ENCOURAGE creativity in your staff by considering even off beat ideas.- Advice from Jennifer Miller[/li]

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

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