Connect with us

Best of The Best

A Texas Jeweler’s Feel-Good Holiday Brainstorm Turns Into a Major Promotional Event

She began leaving little jewelry gifts around her community. But it turned into something much more.

Published

on

A boy who found one of Occasions’ stockings at the mall poses on Santa’s lap with his mother.

This story was originally published in the October 2013 edition of INSTORE.

Occasions Fine Jewelry, Midland, TX

CATHY FLECK of Occasions Fine Jewelry in Midland, TX, heard about Bailey’s Fine Jewelry’s “Finders Keepers” marketing idea a few years ago during a Continental Buying Group meeting. Trey Bailey of North Carolina had decided to leave free gifts in the store’s trademark Bailey’s gift boxes all around town at the height of the recession.

Fleck thought it was something positive she’d like to try for herself in West Texas. So, she took some odds and ends of merchandise, stashed them in pretty packaging, and began to leave them around the cities of Midland and nearby Odessa with a note.

“It was a feel-good moment in not-so-feel-good times,” she says. “I didn’t advertise it or discuss it. It made me feel good.” Once in a while, someone would call to thank her, but it wasn’t initially a big promotion.

Advertisement

THE IDEA

An Accidental Scavenger Hunt

When she told her marketing expert, Roy Williams, about what she’d been doing, though, he suggested running a holiday ad, saying “Santa needs a little help,” and revealing her giveaway efforts. Suddenly, people began calling her, asking if she was going to provide clues to the treasures. Although she hadn’t thought about that, she decided, why not? “Let’s make it a scavenger hunt.”

THE EXECUTION

“So Perfect It Was Like It Was Staged”

For Christmas 2010, she placed Occasions Fine Jewelry stockings in various locations — including a Christmas display at the mall — with a silver angel-wing necklace inside. Then she posted funny clues on the store’s Facebook page for fans to ponder.

A local radio station also promoted the clues.

On Christmas Eve, she posted one final clue designed so that the final winner would enter the store singing “Silent Night.” The clue was something like this: On this night in 1818, composer Franz Gruber’s Christmas song was first performed. Be the first one to sing this song at Occasions and you’ll win the top prize (a diamond studded version of the pendant valued at about $500).

“I called the TV station and told them what we were doing,” Fleck says. “The news station came to interview me in the store, and I said, ‘I promise you someone will walk in the door 10 minutes after I post this.’ Just as we got the cameras rolling, the door springs open and a 7-year-old kid bursts in the door singing ‘Silent Night’ at the top of his lungs. We all screamed. It was so perfect it was like it was staged. Matt Chappell, the 7-year-old, said he wanted the angel wing for his mommy, and his mommy, Christy Chappell, was there with him. That part was fun.”

Advertisement

THE REWARDS

Hundreds of Fans and Lots of PR

The holiday promotion brought the store hundreds of new Facebook fans and lots of free PR during the most important season of the year. “It was fun watching people follow the clues and try to guess where it was,” Fleck says. The hard part was finding the time to plan clues, hide jewelry and leave the store during the busiest time of the year. “If you are good at organizing it would be a piece of cake.” If Fleck were to do it again, she’d enlist more help.

Occasions staff prepare for their role as “gift-wrap fairies” during the holiday rush.

 

Do It Yourself: Hold Your Own Scavenger Hunt

  • If you don’t have time to plan and execute this type of an event around Christmas, consider contracting with a public relations firm or take it to the next level with SCVNGR (www.scvngr.com), which manages city-wide “diamond dashes” using mobile devices, to promote jewelry stores.
  • But if you do want to do it yourself, plan out your strategy and all of the clues before beginning the game, to avoid the stress that Fleck encountered. Brainstorm with your staff.
  • In addition to posting clues using Facebook and Twitter, see if you can, as Fleck did, garner free publicity from local media.
  • If you’re hiding jewelry at the mall, Fleck says, be sure to alert security. Odessa mall security guards had not been informed and were not amused when they saw people, in response to a clue, suddenly begin tearing apart the shopping center’s Christmas display!

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

Advertisement

VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

Wilkerson Testimonials

New York Jeweler Picks Wilkerson for Their GOB Sale

Jan Rose of Rose Jewelers, located in Long Island's famous Hamptons beach district, explains how she chose Wilkerson for her closing sale. Jan's suggestions: reach out to jewelers who have been in similar situations to find out what worked for them, and look for a company with experience in going-out-of-business sales. Once you've done that, the final step is to move ahead and trust the process.

Promoted Headlines

Want more INSTORE? Subscribe to our newsletter.

Comment

Best of The Best

Tiny Jewel Box and Harry Kotlar Celebrate Partnership with Film and Featured Jewelry Masterpieces

November trunk show highlighted Kotlar’s 70th anniversary.

Published

on

WHEN A RELATIONSHIP between a high-profile independent jewelry retailer and an esteemed brand blossoms, it’s only natural to throw a big party.

When Tiny Jewel Box of Washington D.C. and luxury jewelry brand Harry Kotlar first partnered about 10 years ago, they started with a small selection of merchandise. Last November, Tiny Jewel Box debuted the first Harry Kotlar in-store boutique on the East Coast, which includes a full collection of rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants, all handmade and hand-forged.

Podcast: Holiday Sales These Jewelers Will Never Forget
Over the Counter

Podcast: Holiday Sales These Jewelers Will Never Forget

Podcast: Get Your Employees to Act Like They Own the Damn Place
JimmyCast

Podcast: Get Your Employees to Act Like They Own the Damn Place

Podcast: A Classic Holiday Poem is Reimagined in a Jewelry Store
Over the Counter

Podcast: A Classic Holiday Poem is Reimagined in a Jewelry Store

The ensuing celebration also marked the 70th anniversary of Harry Kotlar. “The opening of the Harry Kotlar boutique inside Tiny Jewel Box represents a confluence of those two histories. It’s also tangible proof of our shared commitment to excellence and luxury,” says David Wiener, Harry Kotlar’s president and head designer.

Matthew Rosenheim, president of Tiny Jewel Box, says the event celebrated the union of the two family-run companies. The guest list included Kotlar collectors, jewelry enthusiasts, influencers and editors.

The focus was on the anniversary collection of seven curated jewelry masterpieces. Each piece references popular design hallmarks that are nonetheless timeless. “We picked out seven pieces — some vintage, some re-created, representing seven decades of our brand’s existence,” says Czarah Cabrera, Harry Kotlar’s marketing director.

Advertisement

Each piece was featured within the pages of a coffee table book as well as in a short film, which also made their debut at the boutique opening. The book and two-minute film gave the audience a first-hand look into the evolution of Harry Kotlar’s design philosophy and dedication to the craft.

Cabrera says curating the seven pieces to be included was no easy feat. “As far as research goes, I was banging my head, looking at all of our mood boards and vision boards of every decade, including the mod ‘60s, psychedelic ‘70s and punk-style ‘80s, but we couldn’t be too literal because Harry Kotlar is more on the classic and sophisticated side.” She tied together the themes by using models wearing the little black dress, which changes in structure but is always classic and sophisticated. The staff wore little black dresses as well for the event, and influencers in jewelry, fashion and style in DC and New York were also invited to wear the LBD.

Each piece was displayed in a museum-like vignette with an audio guide. Eighteen of Harry Kotlar’s collections were also displayed in a museum-like environment. Guests had the opportunity, too, to sit down with a Harry Kotlar illustrator to create their own Harry

Kotlar pieces, making the event even more personal.

Rosenheim says great relationships between special brands and retail jewelers are built on clear communication, defining and aligning goals and expectations, collaborating on which merchandise will sell best in the specific market, and providing education and training on the brand and products so that the sales team can be passionate brand ambassadors and storytellers. Events support the sales team in their efforts to forge great personal relationships with their customers as well.

Cabrera says an event like this is all about experience and theatrics. And it does drive sales. Some guests bought pieces or put in special orders. “We also were able to prime our customers with gift ideas for the upcoming holidays,” Rosenheim says. “We had a great turnout of our top customers and media partners. The event had a positive and energetic vibe.”

Advertisement

Tiny Jewel Box must walk a fine line between having too many and two few events as part of its marketing program, Rosenheim says. “In Washington DC, just like in other major metropolitan areas, people are time-deprived,” Rosenheim says. “Fortunately, our customers are loyal and they love coming to our events because they know it will be something special.”

PHOTO GALLERY (4 IMAGES)

{{gallery_holder}}

Continue Reading

Best of The Best

Retailers Team with Roger Dery to Help Educate East Africans

The program is called Gemstone Adventure Travel.

Published

on

SINCE 2010, GEM CUTTER Roger Dery has led jewelry retailers on dozens of trips to East Africa to visit mines, lapidary schools and orphanages through a program called Gemstone Adventure Travel.

Video: Gene the Jeweler Thought He’d Heard It All … Until This Tardy Employee Told His Story
Gene the Jeweler

Video: Gene the Jeweler Thought He’d Heard It All … Until This Tardy Employee Told His Story

Video: Take Advantage of These Tools to Improve Your Digital Marketing
Jim Ackerman

Video: Take Advantage of These Tools to Improve Your Digital Marketing

Video: Gene the Jeweler Sells a Diamond — and Gets Back a CZ
Gene the Jeweler

Video: Gene the Jeweler Sells a Diamond — and Gets Back a CZ

Amid the adventures, education and elephant spotting, retailers couldn’t help but notice that Dery, president of Roger Dery Gem Design, tried to help everyone he encountered, whether by delivering food or water, tipping drivers or bringing resources and education to gem-cutting areas. Says David McConnell of the King’s Jewelers in Walnut Creek, CA: “One of the things that struck me the most was that he always strove to leave almost every individual that he interacted with better than when he started. He really cares.”

Alumni of Gemstone Adventure Travel say going to the source has benefited their businesses by adding transparency to their gemstone sales and by demonstrating a social consciousness that is valued by today’s consumers.

Dery was featured in Sharing the Rough, a 2014 documentary about the journey of gems from mine to market, directed by filmmaker and jeweler Orin Mazzoni. Dery’s myriad retail fans have hosted viewings of the film to educate their customers while enhancing their colored-stone business.

McConnell says his experience in East Africa adds to his credibility and confidence when he’s selling gemstones in his store. He has a positive first-person story to tell about where gems come from — mine to market — and how they can change people’s lives. His store’s most popular event is a gemstone roundtable with Dery.

“How many jewelers can say they’ve been to the mines in East Africa and bought gems from the miners?” McConnell says. “The good I saw being done with schools built for miners’ kids is phenomenal and encouraging. It helps me address concerns when people come into the stores with questions about child miners. Governments are beginning to step in to make sure mines are built correctly so they are safe. Having photos and videos in the store from my trips gives me a level of transparency that most stores can never have.”

Christina Clover-Field of Field’s Jewelers in Redding, CA, says her experience in East Africa motivated her, deepened her understanding of gemstones and made her work more meaningful than she had imagined it could be when she left her position as a hospice nurse to join the family jewelry business. And Chrysa Cohen of Continental Jewelers in Wilmington, DE, donates a percentage of gem sales to Esther, a miner’s widow who took over the business to support her family.

Advertisement

In August 2018, encouraged by a group led by Clover-Field, the Derys launched Gem Legacy, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to education, vocational training and local economies in East African mining communities. A Gem Legacy breakfast and panel discussion is scheduled 8:30 to 10 a.m., Feb. 8, at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson, AZ, during the JCK Tucson show.

Roger says he is humbled by the support he has received for what had been an informal, personal project. “Only in retrospect can we say that we were showing them how a small amount of money can make a big difference in people’s lives. We have met thousands of people in East Africa’s remote villages and bush mines where gems have had a remarkable influence on their lives.”

For more information, email info@gemlegacy.org or visit gemlegacy.org.

PHOTO GALLERY (4 IMAGES)

{{gallery_holder}}

Continue Reading

Best of The Best

This Bride-to-Be’s Surprise Proposal Goes Viral

Commercial shoot for Smyth Jewelers becomes mini-reality show.

Published

on

KORI KLINE, A FORMER BALTIMORE Ravens cheerleader, had appeared in two commercials for Baltimore’s Smyth Jewelers, in character as a wedding guest and a maid of honor.

When she got a call from the ad agency working with Smyth and learned she would next be cast as a bride-to-be, she was excited, but had no reason to believe that the third experience would be much, if any, different from the first two.

Podcast: Holiday Sales These Jewelers Will Never Forget
Over the Counter

Podcast: Holiday Sales These Jewelers Will Never Forget

Podcast: Get Your Employees to Act Like They Own the Damn Place
JimmyCast

Podcast: Get Your Employees to Act Like They Own the Damn Place

Podcast: A Classic Holiday Poem is Reimagined in a Jewelry Store
Over the Counter

Podcast: A Classic Holiday Poem is Reimagined in a Jewelry Store

When she arrived for the shoot, the director told her that the actor who would play her boyfriend was stuck in traffic and they’d be ready to shoot as soon as he arrived.

So when — instead of a harried actor — her real-life boyfriend, Zach Sullivan, appeared on the set bearing a ring box, she was stunned.

“I had zero idea,” she says. “When I actually saw Zach on set, I was very confused, but very excited at the same time. It took a second for it to click for me.”

Sullivan had approached Smyth’s marketing director with the idea of making the commercial into a mini-reality show and proposing then and there.

“I’ve never been more sure of anything than wanting to marry you and grow old together. Will you marry me?” Sullivan asked Kline. She said yes!

Luckily, he was confident what the answer would be from his girlfriend of four years. “She would give me subtle hints every once in a while, saying ‘I want a ring on this finger,’ pointing at her ring finger. So I was nervous. I didn’t want to mess up, but I wasn’t nervous whether she’d say yes or not.”

Adds Kline, “I might have been sending him pictures of rings multiple times per week.”

Tom Smyth

When Tom Smyth, CEO of Smyth, first heard about the idea, he thought it was pretty cool, but a lot to pull off. Luckily, ad agency TB&C was more than up to the challenge, he says. The video quickly racked up more than 17,000 views within a few weeks in a market where Kline’s connection to the Ravens makes her a local celebrity.

Smyth plans to use the commercial on TV as well.

“Zach also used the ring cam, which records the fiancée’s response from a camera that’s in the ring box,” Smyth notes. “For us, it’s been great to share in this special moment. Zach clearly raised the bar here. I hope the community sees it and comes up with more ideas for raising the bar. This generation loves to make an event out of a proposal.”

While Tom Smyth and a veteran marketing director are in charge of the marketing effort, Smyth credits the agency TB&C for keeping the approach modern, hip and smart. “That’s why you hire people who are better at it than you are. I think we give them more latitude than most clients.”
Advertisement

Smyth has overseen the marketing effort since the ‘80s.

“I have always liked thinking outside of the box and making it fun and tongue-in-cheek, trying to get the customers to smile. If you make it fun, it’s more memorable.”

And of course, Smyth and company were happy to help Sullivan narrow down the 200 photos of ring ideas on his phone that Kori had sent him.

The perfect ring was discovered within 90 minutes.

“It is absolutely stunning,” Kline says of the ring. “It’s everything I asked for. I told Zach I liked the twisted bands and a halo cushion cut. He went above and beyond. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Kori Kline is surprised by a proposal from her boyfriend, Zach Sullivan, on the set of a commercial for Smyth Jewelers. While Kline thought it was an acting job, Smyth arranged with Sullivan to make it the real thing, and the video went viral.

Continue Reading

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Subscribe


BULLETINS

INSTORE helps you become a better jeweler
with the biggest daily news headlines and useful tips.
(Mailed 5x per week.)

Latest Classifieds

Most Popular