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See How 8 Top Jewelers Set Up Their Bridal Sales Areas

Bridal areas that put the focus on customers’ privacy, hospitality and experience.

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If Jim Woodard of Woodard’s Diamonds & Design in Tullahoma, TN, had a bridal room in his store, which is something he’s always wanted, he’d let his imagination take flight. “I want waterfalls, tropical birds, maybe a couple of monkeys in a tux, an open sky roof,” he muses.

Connie Stagner of Acori Diamonds & Design in Friendswood, TX, recently remodeled her front office for this purpose, with a mini bar and an unexpected twist: she’s waiting for her taxidermist to deliver a mounted bobcat to add more character to the room and no doubt create a rustic Texas experience.

But while we appreciate such creativity, the bobcat is not yet installed, so here we will explore other, more traditional ideas. The trend is toward areas that are somewhat separate, both visually and physically, from the rest of the showroom without being cut off completely.

Jewelers who do have bridal enclaves, salons or dedicated case space say it’s not just about how it looks. Customers enjoy comfortable seating, a measure of privacy and the overall experience. Whitney Lang of Burkes Fine Jewelers in Kilmarnock, VA, is in the process of renovating the back of the store to create a concealed custom and bridal client lounge area so private it will have a completely separate entrance.

Here is a look at a variety of existing bridal rooms, boutiques and enclaves, with a focus on privacy, hospitality and experience, but, sadly, no monkeys. Not yet. 


 

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Interactive Kiosks Entice Millennials LEITZEL’S JEWELRY ON CHOCOLATE, HERSHEY, PA

Allison Leitzel Williams, third generation jeweler at Leitzel’s Jewelry, recently opened a second location, Leitzel’s Jewelry on Chocolate, in Hershey, PA, in a former bank building. They worked with a custom showcase designer from Grice Showcase to create an intimate bridal enclave. “We actually have custom display cases that allow us to have a private viewing area without completely segregating the area from the rest of the store,” she says. An interactive kiosk created by Naledi has been a great way to start the engagement ring process in a relaxed presentation, she says. Clients, especially millennials, enjoy browsing independently for rings, which are accessible on a pulley system, while they are able to view corresponding pricing information on an iPad. The statement-making elevated showcases at the front of the platform feature diamond fashion jewelry and custom wedding bands by Lashbrook. “These showcases also serve the purpose of creating a more private and intimate atmosphere for engagement ring shopping,” she says.

 

Creating A Destination MOLINELLI’S, POCATELLO, ID

Molinelli’s focus is to be the destination for all things bridal. A $1.1 million renovation in 2014 expanded the store from 2000 to 5500 square feet and tripled the linear case space. The design for the remodel centered around a semi-private bridal / diamond room, which has more than a thousand styles. “Encouraging comments from other jewelers and reps who travel the country make us feel we’ve hit the mark,” says Lance Buttars. In addition to the space, Buttars promotes the wedding business with a booklet called The Bridal Package, which includes thousands of dollars in offers from a variety of collaborative merchants and service providers in the local wedding arena. It’s all paying off. Since Lance and Julie Buttars bought the business in 2015, gross sales have soared from $600,000 to well over $2 million.

 

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Design Your Own Rings MICHAEL & SON’S JEWELRY COMPANY, RENO, NV

At Michael & Son’s Jewelry Company, Erica Tague says she is able to create a personal experience within a 4,800 square-foot downtown store. When she and her family opened the new store last year, one goal was to have one of the largest bridal selections in the market. To facilitate that goal, the bridal area is equipped with a 7-foot-wide, sit-down showcase that houses 750 semi-mounts, 300 prototypes and 350 men’s wedding bands in a variety of metal types. Within the bridal area, there’s also a design bar with seating and a large TV screen guests can use to design their dream pieces, as well as a beverage bar serving champagne, wine, coffee, etc. The focus on bridal and creating space for selling it in comfort has paid off. “In the old store we’d do one engagement ring a month; now we do two or three a week. If it’s custom, we design it, print it, cast it in-house and set the stones as well.” Their goal is to be a $5 million store, and this year they hit $3.5 million in revenues. Other elements of the experience include a gift of champagne, a wedding planner guide and ring holder. They also give away free titanium wedding bands to grooms to promote their wedding band business at bridal expos and to encourage engagement ring shoppers to return. That pays off, too. About 80 to 90 percent of grooms upgrade the band from the free item when they come in; the bride-to-be often shops for wedding bands at the same time her groom is choosing his.

 

Just Around The Corner SOFIA KAMAN FINE JEWELS, VENICE, CA

Sofia Kaman created a bridal boutique and sit-down consultation space within her 1,000-square-foot store. It’s tucked off to the side in a spot that was closed off and used as a dressing room by the previous tenant of the space. It’s inviting, elegant and comfortable and just around the corner from the entry to the main sales floor. Kaman helps create an experience for her customers by collaborating with a bridal boutique, photographers, event planners and florists in her neighborhood for events and cross-promotion. “Seemingly simple things have really enabled us to grow,” Kaman says.

 

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Find Your Fresh Diamonds Here ELIZABETH DIAMOND CO., DAYTON, OH

t Elizabeth Diamond Co., there’s a large circular section for loose diamonds adorned with an impressive chandelier and surrounded by cases with branded settings and comfortable seating. Finding room for bridal is an important piece of the Elizabeth Diamond retail puzzle. The bridal sections occupy about a quarter of the store. “It’s kind of like the Waffle House,” says Stephanie Weber. “We go through diamonds like they go through eggs, and we both keep them fresh and current. We have lots and lots of settings.”

 

Thinking Inside The Box DIAMONDS DIRECT FINE JEWELERS, ST. PETERSBURG, FL

The VIP Red Box Room at Diamonds Direct Fine Jewelers has privacy and cachet to spare, with a private entrance for high-profile clients. The room is modeled after the store’s DD Red Box Collection. Each box is monochromatic dark red, and, when opened, reveals ivory padding and a gold logo. The VIP room is entirely red except for the table with jewelry—padded ivory like the inside jewelry pad of the box. The ceiling is painted ivory with the logo in gold like the top satin of the box. The room is also equipped with smart TVs. Each purchase made in this showroom comes in the DD Red Box Collection.

 

Setting Them at Ease ZADOK JEWELERS, HOUSTON, TX

The bridal salon at Zadok Jewelers features pieces from more than 20 engagement and wedding ring designers, including Tacori, Henri Daussi, and J.B. Star, as well as one of the largest selections of loose diamonds in Texas, says Lindsey Bowen, marketing team member. It’s styled like a boutique, offering a more intimate feel amid an expansive store. Above all, the goal of the space and its staff is to set the customer at ease. They are offered refreshments — water, coffee and soft drinks or wine. The store staff can customize any ring and meet any customer need in budget or size while offering a positive, unique experience, Bowen says.

 

A Reason to Celebrate ACE OF DIAMONDS, MOUNT PLEASANT, MI

At Ace of Diamonds, Mike and Kris Roethlisberger have a room that’s a bit more private than the rest of the store, where they show their loose diamonds, wedding bands and engagement rings. They call it the Celebrations Room. It keeps unwelcome surprises to a minimum. “You just never know who else will come in the store while a guy is thinking about taking that next big step,” Mike says. “Over the years, we’ve had to secretly get someone out of the store because a friend or relative came in at the same time, unknowingly.”

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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Jewelry Stores Make First Impressions Memorable

Retailers employ doors, signs, seating and clocks to make entryways unforgettable.

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ENTRYWAYS, FACADES, SIGNS, seating and architectural touches go a long way to extending an invitation to the shopper. What do your potential customers see when they approach your business?

Window on the World

Jewelry designer John Atencio’s latest location, the Park Meadows Mall in Lone Tree, CO, breaks out of the mall mold with an all-glass facade. Oversize panes of tempered glass wrap from floor to ceiling across the entire storefront. Because the mall itself is flooded with natural light, the Colorado sun illuminates the store as well. Inside, at the front glass, six tall light boxes have rotating dividers that create 12 jewelry showcases, half facing inside and half facing outside, which can be rotated throughout the day. Outside, they also installed two large liquid billboards using high definition TVs that rotate, allowing them to feature new designs or promotional events. The exterior backlit John Atencio sign centers and frames the glass facade. Using LED technology, they were able to intensify the brightness of the sign, making it 10 times brighter than previous signs they’ve had.

Montana Modern

At Stephen Isley Jewelry in Whitefish, MT, owners Stephen Isley and Cindy Just say that if they had a dollar for every time someone walked into the shop and said, “I love your door!” they wouldn’t have to sell jewelry anymore. The Montana-made custom piece — an arched, wooden door with a curved window and stone entryway — attracts a stream of people asking, “Can I take a photo of your door?” It meshes with the interior ambience, too. Moody gray walls and a treasure trove of jewelry, local art and antiquities, offer a relaxed Montana feel with a modern edge.

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It’s All in the Details

At Northeastern Fine Jewelry in Albany, NY, a glass facade offers a transparency that puts shoppers at ease. The window reveals the character of the store within, says architect Michael Roman of C2 Design Group. Roman and Gregg Kelly, vice president of Northeastern, created a casual patio setting in front that offers a decompression zone between parking lot and shopping experience. “I always kept the consumer in mind,” Kelly says. “Even things like how they experience walking through the parking lot, the pitch of the sidewalk, and the feel they get when they step out of their car. We researched how to get the right thing — from handicapped signs that weren’t run of the mill, to the garbage can, to the outside rugs, to the extension of the awning over the front door to give them enough space for their umbrella.”

A Neighborhood Landmark

At Wanna Buy A Watch in West Hollywood, CA, owner Kenneth Jacobs revels in the quirky, which begins out front with three memorable features. No. 1, there’s the name on the sign. No. 2, they adopted the RCA dog Nipper as their mascot when Jacobs purchased a 36-inch tall version. Placed outside to announce the store was open, Nipper became both watch dog and logo. Nipper was promoted to spokesmodel and featured in a series of amusing vinyl banners they rotate seasonally in front of their store. No. 3, a vintage, double-faced Gruen neon clock has graced Jacobs’ storefronts for more than 25 years, announcing the time to westbound and eastbound pedestrian and vehicular traffic. “No one has to remember our address; they just look for our clock,” Jacobs says.

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Heralding a Hangout

When Gary Spivak and his son, Josh Spivak, became partners and conceived their store At Spivak Jewelers in Cherry Hill, NJ, their goal was to make everyone comfortable. Why not start outside, they thought, and outfitted their front patio area with comfortable furniture. “We built our whole store to be like a lounge, like you’re walking into someone’s home, a place where people can hang out,” says Josh. “People love it. Our clients often bring their friends to experience Spivak jewelers.”

Florida Finesse

At the Village Jeweler of Gainesville, owned by Cynthia and Mike Thibault, multiple natural elements are incorporated into the bright and inviting entry way and exterior. Stacked stone with travertine tile accents, a 24K gold leaf sign and a brass inlay in the vestibule combine for a high-end custom look while evoking the feeling of a courtyard or piazza.

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Pedestrian Pull

Large prominent windows filled with tempting displays, sandwich board signage, and a popular coffee shop conveniently next door all combine to draw constant attention from passersby to this jewelry boutique in the historic Hamilton Building in downtown Portland, OR, owned by David and Ronnie Malka. “We are next door to the best coffee shop in town, Barista coffee, which we love to treat our customers to some fine coffee while pursuing fine jewelry,” Ronnie says.

Coastal Casual

If you’re on a dreamy island like Sanibel Island, FL, it’s natural to have a tropical-paradise ambience, right from the beginning. Owners Dan Schuyler and Karen Bell have outfitted their entryway with pastel-hued Adirondack chairs and plenty of tropical foliage. Of course, there is also a palm tree. There’s definitely a “welcome to our tropical home” vibe at the store, which also boasts a Sea Life Collection of jewelry.

Adopting a Sign

Longtime Maysville, KY, residents know that EAT Gallery (Exquisite Art Treasures) was long the home of the town’s Morgan’s Diner. EAT Gallery owners Simon and Laurie Watt kept the memorable neon EAT sign that has hung on the building for 60 years. It was refurbished to help preserve the history of downtown and was the inspiration for the gallery’s name. And yes, every once in a while a newcomer WILL stop by looking for lunch.

Attention to Detail

Park City Jewelers owners Ken Whipple, his son Cole Whipple and Cole’s wife, Shauna Whipple, own their own building on Main Street in Park City, UT. The entire exterior has a timeless, custom, hand-crafted look to it along with a sense of permanence. Once over the threshold, visitors are greeted by a 10-foot arch formed by a pair of amethyst geodes. The exterior speaks to the quality of the jewelry itself and the lifetime guarantee behind it.

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These Jewelry Stores Extend the Design Concept Into the Restroom

When designing your store, give the loo some love.

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IN TERMS OF interior design, the oft-ignored restroom should be an integral part of the whole jewelry store, says interior designer Leslie McGwire. “A stylish, well-decorated bathroom can make a big statement to clients and employees,” she says. So, resist the urge to think out of sight, out of mind, and pamper your powder room.

A Grand Design

At Tanmai in Irving, TX, owned by Sanjay and Sapna Singhania, the store’s elegant theme extends seamlessly into the restroom with gold and bronze finishes, interesting wallpaper, wall-sconce lighting fixtures, sleek fixtures and patterned-tile flooring. They were inspired, in part, by architecture and design in Las Vegas.

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Photo Credit: Brent Cicogna

Inspiration From Above

Wanna Buy a Watch in West Hollywood, CA, designed by interior designer June Robinson Scott, carries its offbeat quirkiness into its restroom with red walls, framed prints, and a chandelier, creating a romantic, vintage effect. Says owner Ken Jacobs: “We went all out with a bright red, boudoir-style bathroom, inspired by a crystal chandelier left by the prior tenant that we had intended to discard.”

Attention to Detail

The $1.3 million renovation of Northeastern Fine Jewelry in Albany, NY, implemented by Michael Roman of C2 Design Group in 2017, did not neglect any detail of the retail experience. “Our store has a bathroom that can only be described as the Wynn Hotel in Albany, NY,” says Northeastern VP Gregg Kelly, who came up with the concept for the building project based on extensive research into experiential design. “The finishes throughout the store were selected to present a sleek and timeless look,” Roman says. “The upscale aesthetic extends into the restroom with high-end finishes and cool lighting.”

Right at Home

The comfortable, residential feel of Fakier Jewelers in Houma, LA, continues into the restroom where windows are dressed with plantation shutters and floor-to-ceiling draperies. There are also sophisticated, furniture-style fixtures and fun, fluffy seating. Owner Manon Fakier designed the store, which opened in 2017, with the help of the French Mix by Jennifer Dicerbo Interiors in Covington, LA.

Paint Steals the Show

At Clarkes Jewelers in Shreveport, LA, colorful walls and flattering lighting brighten shoppers’ experience.

Eye-Catching Tile

At Coughlin Jewelers in St. Clair, MI, attention to detail pays off, with art on the walls, patterned tiles and even a plant. Consider adding a live plant to the restroom, suggests interior designer Ruth Mellergaard of Grid 3 International, because it emits oxygen and is a natural air freshener.

Stunner of A Sink

The Jewelry Design Center in Spokane, WA, uses a bold sink, interesting textures, a decorative mirror, and the drama of wall sconce lighting to make a design statement.

Sleek and Seamless

At John Atencio’s Boulder, CO, location, the sleek interior design complements the rest of the store’s interior and reflects the jewelry designer’s modern aesthetic.

Upgrades All Around

At Kelley Jewelers in Weatherford, OK, designer Leslie McGwire of Leslie McGwire & Associates chose a white brick that went from floor to ceiling on the wall behind the sink and toilet. The sidewalls are a large-scaled tile also going from the floor up to the ceiling. An added detail is the 1-inch by 4-inch glass tiles that create a stripe down the walls. The gold bar lights match the gold faucet. The square sink with the durable high-end counter is a nice detail for the design. The highly patterned porcelain adds an extra design splash to the bathroom.

Residential Touches

At Sather’s Leading Jewelers in Fort Collins, CO, a gold mirror, colorful artwork and an interesting backsplash design creates an elegant atmosphere, while two sinks turn it into a family affair.

Simply Streamlined

The Diamond Center in Janesville, WI, designed by Leslie McGwire, has elements of black, gray and white tones with a very contemporary feel. The bathroom is no different. The very large porcelain tiles on the floor wrap up the walls to about 42 inches high. The streamlined black granite counter with a contemporary faucet beautifully complements the brushed silver horizontal mirror. The artwork on the walls is fashioned from metal straps to add to the contemporary design feel.

Mens overall bathroom view 

Womens bathroom

His and Hers

The bathrooms at Williams Jewelers in Englewood, CO are very unique. For the women’s bathroom designer Leslie McGwire used a white porcelain tile that had a 1-carat Swarovski diamond-shaped crystals in the tile, making the entire wall sparkle. The flush-mounted crystal light fixture and the sconces on either side of the mirror all work together to create a “wow” effect. The men’s room design, in contrast, is very masculine. The porcelain wood floor goes up to half of the wall with a decorative tile
boarder. The tone of the highly textured large mirror complements the color palette in the room. The scones coordinate with the overall design.

Understated Elegance

YLANG YLANG in St. Louis employs a chandelier and gold fixtures to add elegance and glamour, while the flooring adds a modern touch.

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Stores Create Displays That Are Made To Be Touched

Make some merchandise accessible.

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IN MOST JEWELRY STORES, there’s not much that shoppers can touch without asking. But these jewelers allow customers the freedom to hold and try on pieces to their heart’s content.

Mixed Media

At Balefire Goods in Arvada, CO, owner Jamie Hollier uses blocks of wood atop a glass shelf to create an intriguing textural contrast while providing a simple, organic base for sculptural, artisan-made jewelry. Wood, metal and concrete furniture and fixtures soften an industrial aesthetic, while creating a neutral backdrop where jewelry and art become the focus.

An Heirloom Look

At H1912 in Princeton, NJ, an offspring of Hamilton Jewelers, watch bands are cleverly displayed in a vintage printers tray (discovered at a garage sale) and on bulletin boards. Rustic displays and period furniture reflect the store’s focus on heirloom jewelry and one-of-a-kind finds. “We recently started putting additional accessories up on bulletin boards in our store, but we only feature very few straps on the board because it’s important clients can touch and feel the different materials of the watch straps and be able to hold them against their watches on their wrist,” says store director Lea D’Onofrio.

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A Study in Contrasts

Lindy’s in Fernandina Beach, FL, embraces an eclectic decor in which it seems perfectly natural to hang long, beaded necklaces from deer antlers mounted on an exposed brick wall. The quirky wall display co-exists with elegant elements, including a large mirror propped against a wall and a chandelier. “It’s difficult to display long necklaces (that are so popular right now) in the showcases,” says owner Lindy Kavanaugh. “Our dress forms are another favorite for displaying long necklaces, and we love using the mineral specimens and cool gemstone-related pieces we find in Tucson as it seems to bring it all together with a fancy, but earthy vibe. Kind of like wearing pearls with a sweatshirt!”

Front and Center

At Adornment & Theory in Chicago, an accessories table in the center of the store draws shoppers to try on bracelets and pendants, while staff is prepared to fill them in on the story behind each piece. “People are looking for a personal touch,” says owner Viviana Langhoff. “They want to know if it’s handmade, they want to know about the designer, the story, the fair-trade component, where the stones are coming from. They like knowing the details.”

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