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Big Survey

Big Survey: Here’s What Jewelers Are Doing To Prepare for the Next Economic Downturn

‘Making hay while the sun shines,’ said one jeweler.

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WHILE SOME JEWELERS are just “rolling with it,” and others are doing their best to manage inventory, stay debt free and market consistently, others (you know who you are!) are holding your breath, praying or bingeing on comfort food to banish those negative thoughts.

Here are a range of additional comments on that topic:

    • We have chosen to ignore it, just like Wall Street has.
    • Just riding the wave until it crashes into the shore.
    • Investing in equipment.
    • Making hay while the sun shines.
    • Still trying to get to the upturn.
    • We are shrinking our stock with faster moving and better selling items.
    • By doing more for the client than they ask for.
    • Banking it will last 10 more years.
    • Ride this pony for all she has left.
    • Making new inventory from gems I own.
    • Purchasing more real estate and more diamonds.
    • Keeping on top of trends.
    • Pushing the fashion category because bridal will come on its own.
    • Downsizing.
    • Trying to create meaningful relationships with our customers so they remember us later.
    • Renovating, training and hiring more experienced people to maintain an edge.
    • Plan to own the building by then so our monthly expenses are minimum. And there’s an apartment upstairs so we have a place to live — just in case.

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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Big Survey

Here’s How Jewelers Knew They Had ‘Made It’

Jewelers share their most meaningful measures of success.

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RETAIL JEWELERS SAY they knew they had “made it” when they drove home a new Porsche or an Escalade. But they REALLY knew they had a success story when they could take a day off once a week, take a vacation, or their stress level “dropped to zero.”

  • My daughter wanted to work here.
  • I sold a $10,000 sapphire sight unseen over the phone to an established customer.
  • The mayor dedicated a day of the year in our name.
  • My customer base exceeded 5,000.
  • I got my store name printed on our plastic bags, our ribbon and our tissue paper.
  • My accountant said I have net worth and should make a will.
  • I could retire.
  • My stress level dropped to zero.
  • I hit my first million-dollar store.
  • Dad said he was proud of me.
  • I see my work around someone’s neck or on their finger and I see them show off their jewelry and point to me and tell the other people, “She is the one that created this for me.”
  • A four-day work week.
  • I consistently started selling 2-carat diamonds and larger.
  • I drove home my brand-new Porsche.
  • I bought my Escalade.
  • I bought my building.
  • When I heard the sleigh bells on the rooftop.
  • I stopped getting a tax refund.
  • I can take a vacation.
  • I was at a local restaurant and ran into a client. She began to sing the store’s jingle from our radio ads.
  • I reached my goal of a million dollars cost in inventory with no debt ever.
  • I pay my parents more than they have ever made in their lives not to come to work.
  • I was no longer concerned with December’s numbers. It’s not that I don’t care. I just don’t worry about it. Pay for your inventory during the year and you will have a relaxed December!
  • An engagement ring client said our store had been around his entire life and of course he was coming here to buy!
  • My customers and people I don’t know tell me how good of a jeweler I am.
  • I was sitting across the boardroom table from Nicholas Oppenheimer at the CSO in London.
  • I wake up smiling because I get to come to work. I’m unemployable anywhere else and I love (mostly all of) it!
  • Everyone wanted my job.
  • I heard the hammer fall on an empty chamber.
  • I don’t need to be in the store and sales happen and customers are happy.
  • I quit advertising and sales continued to go up.
  • We made it past our first 10 years in business.
  • I no longer did more wholesale than retail.
  • Customers were coming in from three states away.
  • I finished this survey.
  • My competitors came to visit our new store.
  • I didn’t have to worry about the rent.
  • The first year I had to pay taxes on the store profits!
  • I could afford to blow 100 bucks on dinner.
  • I saw the logo stamp.
  • New England Patriots come in my store for jewelry.
  • Big-name brands I couldn’t get to take my calls suddenly started calling me.
  • A local charity expected us to make a 6-figure donation.
  • People started handing me their jewelry in the grocery store to bring in for repair.
  • At a recent chi-chi charity fundraising event, four of the high-profile attendees are clients in the middle of big projects.
  • She put her hands on her hip and said to him, well.
  • When people introduce me as Rosanne from the jewelry store.
  • Gold prices went to $1,800 per ounce.
  • I survived 2010.
  • They were actually sad at my funeral.
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Big Survey

Here’s How Jewelers Are Driving Sales Today (Hint: Things Are Changing Rapidly)

‘Online, online and online,’ said one jeweler.

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IN THIS YEAR’S Big Survey, jewelers report increasing their digital footprint and throwing more time, money and thought into social media, especially Facebook, as well as their websites and dipping a toe at least into e-commerce. They also say they are recognizing the extreme importance of customer reviews, and contacting customers by email and text.

While even as recently as five years ago, some may have considered social media a passing fad, it seems clear that in 2018, retailers now recognize its importance and make it a priority.

Here are some comments:

  • “Online, online and online.”
  • “More internet.”
  • “We started putting together community events with local non-profits that have not only generated great publicity but also helped raise over $40,000 for local efforts.”
  • “Instituting interest free five-year financing and building the bridal line to be the largest in the county.”
  • “Online storefront via our website.”
  • “Paying close attention to what I buy.”
  • Financing (longer terms).

What are they doing less of? Traditional advertising, specifically traditional print advertising, and more specifically, newspapers.

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Big Survey

Big Survey: Jewelers Actually Heard These Weird Complaints from Their Customers

‘There’s a charge?’

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YOU ARE EXPECTED to be everything under the sun, from a plumber (“I could not solder a faucet”) to a caterer (“We did not offer them a sandwich”) to a dentist (“I wouldn’t clean the lady’s gold teeth while they were in her mouth.”) You may feel you just can’t win. Still, somehow, you persevere! Read on for more “weird” complaints.

  • We polished a wide wedding band to new condition after sizing it and the customer was furious. She said she didn’t want to appear newlywed.
  • I wouldn’t clean this lady’s gold teeth while they were in her mouth.
  • We didn’t offer them a sandwich.
  • Customer: “What? I ran over it with my car and it’s not covered by your warranty?
    Don’t you stand behind your product?”
  • I could not solder a faucet.
  • A customer complained that her diamond had not grown over the five years she bought it from me.
  • Customer: “The electricity in my body stops watches I buy from you. You must do something to them.”
  • She didn’t like the reflection that her ideal-cut diamond created on her car dashboard as she drove on a sunny day.
  • A lady brought in a watch for a battery replacement that was wrapped in a tissue and placed inside a small sandwich bag. When she returned for the watch, she complained that we had thrown away her Ziploc bag. We offered her a smaller bag that we put extra links in but she refused. She wanted her Ziploc bag back.
  • That we could custom make body jewelry but would not perform the installation.
  • “You’re too happy.”
  • It’s easier to get in touch with the Pope.
  • You switched my diamond for a better one.
  • Why can’t I dirt bike with my platinum diamond engagement ring on?
  • I was scary looking.
  • I wouldn’t honor a lifetime battery for a woman who brought in her deceased husband’s watch. I said it’s a lifetime guarantee of the watch or owner, whichever comes first.
  • I did not put radioactive material back on the watch.
  • My honesty makes it hard for them to spend money in my store because I don’t upsell them.
  • That I couldn’t appraise a crown. (The kind that’s worn on a head).
  • Customer wanted to know if we “price-matched.” She was looking at a mini-flashlight. Price was $4.95.
  • There’s a charge?
  • Earrings exploded.
  • It’s too sparkly and makes the other jewelry look bad in comparison.
  • Customer: I need to exchange this ring bought five years ago but I want an identical one. Me: Why? Customer: Because my priest says it’s cursed so I want the same style, same price, but different diamonds and gold.
  • It wasn’t free for old people.
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