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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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Jimmy DeGroot

Be Ready for ‘What Do You Have for $100?’ and Other Holiday Questions

As Christmas approaches, the queries you’ll hear from customers are actually pretty predictable, says jewelry store training expert Jimmy DeGroot. Here's how to make sure your team is prepared for the more common ones.

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Benchmarks

These Jeweler Direct Mail Samples Shine Bright for the Holidays

Use these direct mail pieces as inspiration to create your own attention-getting holiday promotions.

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DIRECT MAIL is a great holiday marketing tool, as it lets you reach out specifically to your biggest and best customers, hitting them with invitations to swanky Christmas parties, wish lists to be filled out and returned, and discounts or gift cards for that perfect present. (You can also track it more easily than other advertising media, by instructing recipients to bring in the mailing to receive whatever the special offer is.) At the same time, we’re on the verge of the postal service’s busiest season of the year, so whatever you send needs to get noticed. And the examples we’ve collected here are harder to miss than Rudolph’s nose or, say, a bright star shining over a manger.


So Fresh, So Clean Shetler Wade Jewelers, San Antonio, TX

This snappy postcard alerts customers to a neat idea: a post-holiday “3-Day Detox Customer Appreciation Sale,” scheduled for the end of January, when things have settled down and it’s time to go through your inventory and get rid of some dogs. The layout is appropriately clean, signaling a new start to the year and nice deals for shoppers.

No Frills, No Nonsense Schmitt Jewelers, Phoenix, AZ

As Schmitt Jewelers reminds us, your holiday invite doesn’t have to shout “HOLIDAYS!” — it just has to snag the attention of your would-be customer. The strong, solid colors of the invitations for the store’s December “Shop Like a Man” promotion promised beer, food, and a straightforward gift-buying experience for red-blooded American guys.

Three Times the FunGUNDERSON’S JEWELERS, IA, NE AND SD

This Christmas party invitation is strikingly gorgeous, stands out by not relying on a typical holiday palette, showcases some beautiful jewelry, and serves as three invites in one, for soirees at Gunderson’s locations in three different states. Plus, it conveys a ton of information, including the designers who will be present at the events, in a markedly clear fashion.


Two Eyes Not Made Out of Coal Wixon Jewelers, Bloomington,

With its strong, contrasting colors and clever mix of snowman imagery and jewelry, this postcard from Wixon is tough to ignore and easy to smile at. The reverse has simple messages pertinent to holiday shoppers: Extended hours, front-door parking (important during the Minnesota winter) and gift-wrapping.

A Good BetBrinker’s Jewelers, Evansville, IN

Brinker’s is no stranger to the Benchmarks page, and for good reason. Their marketing materials consistently set a stylish, sophisticated, but approachable tone. This men’s night invitation promises a good time for the recipient. The invites each came enclosed with a guest pass, and the aesthetic here and alluring casino vibe suggest an event most gentlemen would be proud to bring a friend to.

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7 Jewelers Share Their Fun Approaches to Dressing for the Holiday

In touch with their inner elves, jewelers dress the part for fun and profit.

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This story was originally published in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.

HOLIDAY OUTFITS appeal to some jewelry retailers and appall others, who consider them a slippery slope toward total tackiness.

To Jennifer Farnes of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, dressing up is just not worth the effort: “Too busy to worry about that! Take a shower, wear clean clothes, survive Christmas,” she says. But Nicole Shannon of Keir Fine Jewelry in Whistler, British Columbia, says wearing tacky Christmas sweaters from a shop next door actually saves time, since staff members can grab sweaters from a communal bin on the run, rather than worry about their wardrobes.

Others swear by a show-off-the-jewels approach. “I encourage my staff to wear our jewelry during the holiday season,” says Marc Majors of Samuel L. Majors Fifth Generation Jewelers in Midland, TX. “It’s much more personal when it’s on someone and not a prop, and 99 percent of the time it closes the sale.”

Read on for a range of wardrobe ideas intended to break the ice with customers and bolster staff morale.


Let the Tipsy Elves Break the Ice
Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers, Billings, MT

Edgy holiday-themed suits purchased from a company called Tipsy Elves make a statement on December Saturdays at Scott and Kelly Wickam’s store. “It actually made for a great selling day last year,” Scott,  at left, says. “It showed that we are not just stuffy jewelers trying to sell you something. We love what we do and we have fun doing it.” The suits cost $80 to $100 each. “For the money, they fit nice and look great,” he says. 


The Tie Guy
Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI

For John Hayes of Goodman’s Jewelers in Madison, WI, it’s all about the ties. “I have a collection of holiday ties and wear a different one each day from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1. I always start with Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin.” He has 38 and counting, although some have fallen apart after 25 years of collecting. 


The Sweater Fest
Miller’s Jewelry, Bozeman, MT

Jennifer Hornik Johnson says the whole staff at Miller’s participates in the annual Ugly Sweater Party in December. The store offers a 10 percent discount to any customers brave enough to wear their own ugly items to the event.


Don’t Be Afraid to Live in the Past
Cornerstone Jewelry & Engraving, Palos Park, IL

At Cornerstone Jewelry & Engraving, owner Bryan Blaha and team believe “Old Jewelers Have Old Souls.” To enhance their theme, they ramp up their sartorial savvy for the holiday season with bow ties, vests, hairstyles and facial hair that evoke the early 20th century. “We tend to dress to the ‘9s,” says manager Ryan C. Karp. “Like the 1909s.” It leaves a lasting impression on clients, together with incense, old-school holiday music, classic decor and demonstrations. 


Make a Statement With the LBD
K Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL

Black is never basic at K Hollis Jewelers, where Karen Hollis, center, and her staff feel confident wearing their little black dresses for holiday events. “It shows a level of class that makes my staff get noticed,” Hollis says. “Jewelry really stands out on black, and it’s fun to wear a bigger diamond or more expensive items for holiday parties.”


Family Morphs Into Elves!
Perry’s Emporium, Wilmington, NC

“I made my sons dress up in elf outfits for an after-Christmas ad on TV,” says owner Alan Perry. In the commercial, Perry says he’s leaving the store till next year. His sons say, “We’ll show him! Come in now and get up to 50 percent off until Jan. 15!” Perry admits he had to pay his sons to be elves, though.


If You Are the Designated Elf, Be a Good Sport
Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA

Owner Andrea Riso isn’t above dressing up. “I look like a super giant idiot as an elf, but I’m a good sport about it because it makes sales spike and it’s fun.” Sales associate Becca Souders, pictured, picked up the elf outfits at Fredericks of Hollywood. “It worked, sales and morale-wise,” Riso says.


This article originally appeared in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.

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These Ridiculously Cute Store Greeters Break the Ice and Calm Shoppers’ Nerves

Store greeters set shoppers at ease and serve as brand ambassadors.

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Store greeters of all types and species serve an important function in breaking the ice and easing threshold resistance. In the case of the four-legged variety, they offer a special breed of retail therapy, attract their share of regular admirers, and may even turn out to be adorably approachable jewelry models. Best of all, they add to your store experience and evoke an emotional response. Shoppers will be more than likely to just drop by to say hi.


Star Jewelers on HighColumbus, OH

THE ENGAGEMENT COUNSELOR. Rachel Howard of Star Jewelers on High in Columbus, OH, says her shop dog, Daisy, an 11-year-old Australian shepherd, loves to sit in the window and people watch, and as a result, brings passersby in to say hi. “Her favorite customers are engagement ring shoppers,” Howard says. “We think she senses their anxiety and sits by them to be a therapy dog and a source of comfort.”


Vogan Gold & Silver WorksColorado Springs, CO

THE RETAIL THERAPIST. Shelby is 6 years old and has been a greeter at Vogan Gold & Silver Works in Colorado Springs since she was 10 weeks old. While she loves all customers, she is having an “open fling” with the neighborhood UPS man, Wayne. “I say open because Wayne’s wife is well aware and is OK that he has Shelby’s picture on the visor in his big brown truck,” says Teri Vogan. Though Shelby will not change watch batteries, size a ring or tighten a diamond, she is good at customer service in the form of retail therapy. “She works hard,” Vogan says, “and only asks for animal crackers and elbow rubs.” (In the photo, apprentice Hollie Hyde offers Shelby an elbow rub.)


Art + SoulBoulder, CO

THE GREATEST MARKETING TOOL. Harry Winston, a.k.a. Winston the Yorkie, is the shop dog at Art + Soul in Boulder, CO. His claim to fame, says owner Debbie Klein, is that he is “The Best Dog. Ever.” His job duties include lounging in the sun in the front window and attracting passersby. ”He is our greatest marketing tool,” Klein says. “If you have a cookie, he will be your best friend for life. He used to have more friends on Facebook than I did until Facebook required us to provide proof that he was over age 13 to continue his page. He didn’t have a current ID, so they shut it down.”


LaLonde Jewelers & GemologistsGross Pointe Farms, MI

THE CHIEF MORALE OFFICER. Coco, a Maltese-poodle mix, is chief morale officer at LaLonde Jewelers & Gemologists in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI, owned by Daniel and Cynthia LaLonde. When she’s not posing for glamour shots for advertisements, she can regularly be found waiting eagerly at the door to greet customers.


Elizabeth Diamond Co.Dayton, OH

THE BEST FRIEND. At Elizabeth Diamond Co. in Dayton, OH, German shepherd DaisyGirl comes to the store with owner Sonny Singhvi every day. She spends time on the sales floor greeting clients and has a following of fans that stop by and ask to see and pet her. She also specializes in sitting pretty on elegant, upholstered chairs.


Persona Custom & Fine JewelryBoston, MA

THE RED CARPET STARLET. Independence, aka Indi, belongs to the owners of a hardware store that happens to be next door to Persona Custom & Fine Jewelry on Charles Street, a pedestrian-friendly shopping mecca in Boston. As Indi’s name suggests, she goes where she pleases. But, as a luxury lover, she prefers to spend much of her time on the red carpet entrance to Persona or on the store’s Swarovski-crystal tufted, overstuffed accent chair. People come by just to visit Indi, who may look haughty but is actually quite approachable, according to Persona’s creative director, Dustin Rennells. (photo credit: Kelsey Riggs)


Robert Goodman JewelersZionsville, IN

THE WATCH DOGS. Rescue dogs Quincy (black and white) and Journey (brown and white) both work for Robert Goodman Jewelers in Zionsville, IN. Because the store, owned by Robert and Rose-Marie Goodman, has a museum vibe, they seem to be experts at posing as if they, too, are works of art. They also spend quality time peering out the front door.


Lily & Company JewelersSanibel Island, FL

THE BRAND ICON. Lily & Company Jewelers, owned by Karen Bell and Dan Schuyler, was named for Bell’s Labradoodle, Lily, who has become the face of the business in print ads and billboards, where, adorned in top of the line, photo-shopped jewels, she greets every visitor to Sanibel Island, FL. Every year, Lily’s birthday party is a major event on the island. This year, she was preparing to celebrate her 14th in April.


de Boulle Diamond & JewelryDallas, TX

THE GLAMOUR QUEEN. Roo, an Italian greyhound, has a regal presence befitting her luxurious environment at DeBoulle. “Since 2015, Roo has been sniffing out the best jewelry and customers,” says Josh Garcia, director of creative and marketing. “Before her day begins, we make sure she is pampered and polished, and she loves to wear jewelry. Her typical day involves greeting everyone at the door to deliver the de Boulle experience and puppy kisses.”


Sami Fine JewelryFountain Hills, AZ

THE HR SPECIALISTS. Jewel and Gemma are very effective in the HR department, according to owner Stephenie Bjorkman. They keep everyone on an even keel, staff and customers alike. “Animals are great therapists,” she says. When clients come in, they quickly forget that they are “just looking” and immediately let their guard down. Gemma also sits on kids’ laps when they get their ears pierced, easing anxiety. They entertain watch customers, too, while they are waiting. “I can hear customers say, ‘This is the last time I will throw the ball for you,’ then an hour passes,” Bjorkman says.


Mitchell’s JewelersPikesville, MD

THE PROFESSIONAL CHARMER. “Meet Charlie, our newest and cutest part-time sales associate. He’s best with greeting customers and making everyone smile,” says Mitchell Dickler, president of Mitchell’s.


Nancy and David Fine JewelsMilburn, NJ

THE GREETER. At Nancy and David Fine Jewels, co-owners David and Nancy Stone know they can rely on mini-poodle Rico to welcome customers.

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